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Associate Civil Engineer and Certified Professional Career Development Coach
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I have given many surveys to civil engineers through social media with regards to career development and advancement. Lately I have found that due to the economy many companies have been making changes with their staff in any way possible to stay as efficient as possible. This has resulted in many engineers having been forced to take on roles that they may not want or enjoy.
Many engineers have been asked to relocate to other office locations based on workload, increasing their commute and putting them in an uncomfortable atmosphere. Other engineers have been transferred to other departments based on workload. So you may have been working on private development projects for the past 5 years and all of a sudden you find yourself out doing bridge inspections.
How do you maintain productivity and passion in your day-to-day career when you are taken out of your desired role and/or location? Here are a few recommendations to keep your attitude and energy up while going through this situation:
- Be thankful for your job as there are currently many people without one. This doesn’t mean to be happy with your job, you don’t want to create a mindset that this job is “good enough” for me or that you are just going to accept it, the truth is you don’t have to.
- Paint yourself a very clear picture of the job you would eventually like to have. Be specific by listing the type of projects you would like to work on, your role on those projects, the general location of the projects if that matters, etc.
- Review your current day-to-day activities and see where the experience you are currently gaining will be helpful in your ideal role, once you achieve it. For example, if you have been re-assigned to manage something other than your ideal role, take the time now to improve your managerial skills which will apply in both situations.
- During these times, strengthen existing and build new relationships both within your company and throughout the industry. Take advantage of any downtime you have to re-connect with existing and prospective clients as well as other industry professionals. Attend more professional society events, with the idea that the more relationships you build, the more opportunities that will be available to you.
- Do one thing each day, no matter how small that will help you in achieving your ideal job or role. This might be an e-mail, phone call, internet research, read an inspirational article or quote, etc.
One thing that a professional coach helps people to do is realize the opportunity in every situation. Every time something you perceive as “negative” happens, ask yourself the following question, “Where is the opportunity in this situation?” You will be amazed at the list of positives that you will draw from a perceived “negative” situation.
The key is not to give up on what you’re passionate about doing, just because of the current industry situation or economic climate. Yes things are tough and we all have financial responsibilities and this is the time when we may have to accept roles that we aren’t comfortable with to survive. However the job that you want is out there somewhere until you decide that it is not!
I’ll leave you with a quote to help raise your attitude and energy up a level…..
“Everything can be taken from man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances – to choose one’s own way.” – Victor Frankl
civil engineering jobs :: civil engineering resumes :: civil engineering blog :: civil engineering discussion
October 21, 2009 at 4:37 pm aepcentral
By Matt Barcus
President, Precision Executive Search, Inc.
Managing Partner, A/E/P Central, LLC, home of CivilEngineeringCentral.com
Each month at CivilEngineeringCentral.com we have a Question of the Month. This question is posted on our home page and is included in each issue of “The LinkedIngineer” as well as our monthly e-newsletter which is sent out to nearly 10,000 members of the civil engineering community (If you would like to sign up for our monthly e-newsletter please click HERE…sorry, couldn’t pass up that free plug). It’s been a while since we have posted the results, so in light of that (plus the fact that I have struggled to come up with anything else), check out the results below. If you see any surprising results in there or feel the urge to comment about any of the topics please feel free to do so.
DID YOU SEE AN INCREASE IN PROJECTS IN YOUR COMPANY DURING THE FIRST QUARTER OF 2009?
Just yesterday I was speaking with a colleague of mine who commented on a report he had just watched on MSNBC. They were discussing the question “where did all the stimulus go?” Most of it of course is going to construction; all those projects that we have come to love and know as…shovel ready. What seemed like a lot of money initially, when spread out over the entire United States, seems to be spread pretty thin.
HAS YOUR FIRM CUT IT’S BENEFITS PACKAGE AS A RESULT OF THE CURRENT ECONOMIC CLIMATE?
It’s expensive out there folks. Our health insurance has gone up 50% over the past four or five years…everyone is feeling the pinch here.
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE HARDEST PART ABOUT SEARCHING FOR A JOB?
25.0% Not Knowing Where To Start
17.9% Updating My Resume
14.3% Nailing The Interview
The way I see it, assuming you are a talented engineer, if you are able to effectively network throughout the course of your career, that, in-and-of-itself, takes care of the the remaining three obstacles. You see, if you are a great networker, you easily know where to start, and because you have networked so well and know so many people very well, there is no need to update your resume because they have seen you in action and your stellar reputation precedes you. Your noticeable performance within your industry over the course of your career has coincidentally been an ongoing interview. All that being said, a hand shake over a cocktail, beer, sparkling water or other beverage of your choice should be all that is needed to nail down your next job. A little tongue in cheek maybe, but there is some validity to my theory.
HOW OFTEN DO YOU VOLUNTEER IN YOUR COMMUNITY?
50.0% 8 or more times per year
23.1% Not at all
15.4% 1-3 times per year
11.5% 4-7 times per year
One half of our respondents give back to the community 8 or more time per year…that is AWESOME!
HAVE YOU EVER MISLED OR EMBELLISHED EXPERIENCES ON YOUR RESUME?
One should always be truthful on their resume, that goes without saying. But sometimes resumes can be misleading as different titles mean different things to different companies and different people.
WHAT CONCEPT WILL MAKE THE GREATEST IMPACT ON SOLVING OUR ENERGY CRISIS?
40.0% Nuclear Energy
23.3% Wind Energy
20.0% Solar Energy
3.3% U.S. Oil Digging
I think our economy will need to stabilize and re-establish itself for a while before we begin to see any of these technologies really begin to flourish.
DOES YOUR MANAGER ALLOW FOR YOU TO WORK A 4/40 OR 9/80 WORK WEEK?
I think the civil engineering industry, prior to “The Great Recession,” had actually come accustomed to the 6/60 work week – that is Monday-Saturday/60 hours week!
WHICH PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE WILL YOU VOTE FOR ON NOVEMBER 4th?
49.4% Barack O’Bama
42.9% John McCain
0.6% Ralph Nader
Not bad, not bad. The final results in total votes for the Presidential election in November was Obama 53% / McCain 46%. Our participants were nearly dead on here…sorry I can’t say the same for the Question of the Month which we ran in August 2008; see below!
WITH HIGH GAS PRICES, HAVE YOU CHANGED YOUR COMMUTING HABITS BY OPTING FOR PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION?
This poll was posted at the time when gas prices were averaging $3.74/gallon. We have come a long way over the years in mass transit, but you know what? People love their cars and it would take a lot more than higher gas prices for them to drop their keys and take to mass transit.
WHEN DO YOU BELIEVE THE LAND DEVELOPMENT MARKET WILL BEGIN TO PICK UP?
30.6% 2nd Quarter of 2009
26.5% 2010 or Beyond
14.3% 3rd Quarter 2009
12.2% 4th Quarter 2008
10.2% 4th Quarter 2009
6.1% 1st Quarter 2009
As of today, just about 50% of our survey responders are wrong and there are another 26.5% who will likely end up on the wrong side of the fence as well by the end of this year. Seems to be an ol’ case of “if I only knew then what I know now.”
I would like to thank you all for answering our Questions of the Month and look forward to your continued participation.
Got Comments? Got Questions? Got Insight? Got Speculation? Got Inside Information? Let us know, we would love to hear from you on any of the subjects of our recent polls.
civil engineering jobs :: civil engineering resumes :: civil engineering blog :: civil engineering discussion
June 4, 2009 at 12:09 pm aepcentral
Many top ENR firms added recruiters to their corporate teams over the past 3 years. Firms were so desperate to hire staff that they increased their recruiting teams by astounding numbers – never seen before in the civil engineering industry. Additionally, any headhunter who could spell civil engineering (and several who couldn’t) jumped right on the bandwagon.
Weekly I receive emails, calls or see Linkedin updates of corporate recruiters who are looking for employment and third party recruiters looking for contract recruiting jobs. We all knew that cuts in “overhead” staff were imminent. So, now many corporate recruiters are looking for new employers and many headhunters are looking for new clients.
Corporate recruiters are networking like the pros that many of them are. They are using Web 2.0 tools, posting resumes on niche job boards and some are hanging their own shingle – hoping to win some search assignments from firms. Many headhunters are aggressively making marketing calls, offering to team with others and using crystal balls to assess the next upcoming recruiting trend.
Both recruiters have something in common: both are utilizing LinkedIn and social networking sites to their max! AdvertisingAge reported that LinkedIn membership hit 36 million last week. Everyone wants to connect with everyone else. Networking is at an all time high. This has presented a few issues. Several headhunters contacted me and told me of their hesitancy to connect with corporate recruiters who had nothing to do with them until the corporate recruiters were laid off. And some after “linking-in” report that the corporate recruiters won’t share their connections. I say…GIVE IT A REST. As we have discussed in numerous BLOGS here, looking for a job is stressful under most circumstances. Stress is heightened when looking for a job when one is laid off. Folks, help each other out. And….people remember those that help them when times are tough.
The market is starting to turn. As recruiters, corporate, contract or third party headhunter, let’s work together. Our work, as in consulting engineering, is mostly about relationships. If you have established, good relationships, no one can take them away from you. I have yet to hear from a civil engineer that his or her colleagues are hesitant to help them network!
civil engineering jobs :: civil engineering resumes :: civil engineering industry blog :: civil engineering discussions
March 4, 2009 at 4:18 pm aepcentral
Networking with Generation Next
By Matt Barcus
Moseying on up to a bar stool and talking shop with a potential client over a few drinks. Sharing the fairway at the local country club with a couple of high profile public sector clients to pick their brains as to who they might recommend as viable candidate for the VP slot that just came available in your firm. These always have been and always will be the best ways of networking at a high level with your Baby Boomer peers. As we all know, your Baby Boomer peers are retiring and people from a new generation are moving up. My question is, how current are your networking skills to the younger generation of engineers? How can you equip your people to get in touch with this generation of students and junior engineering professionals who are internet savvy and using social networking websites like MySpace.com and Facebook.com? After a few years out in the real world they transition into more professional oriented networks liked LinkedIn.com. If this is all a foreign language to you, hit the books (or at least the websites) for Social Networking Websites 101.
Assuming that you have at least a vague understanding of what I am talking about, do you know that on both MySpace.com and Facebook.com you can find different groups like ASCE, and ASCE student sections? Did you know that schools like Syracuse University and Virginia Tech have their own MySpace page specifically for their Schools of Architecture? A company website is great, but you need to expand your exposure to the tech savvy potential hires of today. It is easy to develop a MySpace.com or Facebook.com page that you can promote within the trade associations mentioned above, and many others as well. You can even start your own group (what a great way to generate loyalty and name recognition!). Post jobs, announce big project wins, discuss market conditions, highlight current projects and update it once a month. When your firm attends University career fairs make sure you have a couple laptops at your table where students can see that you are current and that you understand their generation, they will be impressed as you flash them your MySpace.com page.
LinkedIn.com is the professional version of MySpace.com and Facebook.com, and a natural transition for regular users of those sites. People love to see their accomplishments and bios on the internet. Explore different groups or start your own. Search for potential candidates by plugging in your competitors’ names or keyword phrases like “civil engineering” or “environmental planner” and see the results. In future articles, I will discuss what you need to do with that information you gather and how you may approach the people you “meet” through online social networking.
Matt Barcus is President of Precision Executive Search, Inc., a Pottstown, PA-based executive search firm specializing in the civil engineering community. Matt is also Managing Partner of CivilEngineeringCentral.com. He may be reached at 610.705.4942 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 17, 2008 at 2:54 pm aepcentral