Everyone needs a bucket list, especially engineers. Have you ever thought of all the things you would like to achieve in this world as an engineer? While the thought of planning your end may appear macabre to some, it is often a good way of mapping out your entire career and setting up goals that will propel you to the next stage. As the saying goes – failing to plan is planning to fail. Here are some things every engineer should try at least once in their lifetime:
1. Become an artist
Creativity is an essential skill to any engineer, allowing one to come up with unique solutions to different problems encountered within the workplace. To fully unlock your creative side, every engineer should aspire to become an artist. From pottery classes to banging away in a rock band, art challenges one to think differently and approach situations from different angles. Art helps one create, building things that did not exist before. By embracing this opportunity, engineers increase their potential to change the world.
2. Learn a new language
Increasingly, engineers have become globe trotters, working on different projects in different countries. Wouldn’t it be disappointing to be overlooked for an exciting, new project because you could not speak a certain language? How about being put in charge of a team that largely comprises of people from different cultural backgrounds? Not only will learning a new language enrich your travel experiences, it may position you for engineering jobs in a foreign country.
It could be something as simple as a pitch of lemonade or more complex like new plans for the city’s transportation system. Either way, every engineer must learn how to be an effective communicator and sway people into believing in their ideas. Selling can help any engineer in a number of ways such as negotiating for a better salary or pushing your ideas to be implemented. An engineer who cannot sell may deny the world the chance to ever connect with their ideas, no matter how brilliant some of them may be.
4. Work in a different country
Differences in resources, finances, culture and skills often mean that countries approach common problems in unique ways. As the demand for globally competent engineers continues to rise, working in a different country has become an essential stepping stone for engineering professionals. Learning to engage understanding and ways of thinking about work that differs from your own should be a key objective for any engineer in the globalized world.
5. Read Shakespeare
All engineers should be able to express themselves articulately in terms that all can understand and to discuss issues from a broad and comprehensive viewpoint. Unfortunately, not many engineers are capable of such broad and subtle discussions. Reading literature such as Shakespeare develops the mind to probe, imagine as well as comprehend a concept from different points of view. Shakespeare’s works have a broad concept on life, which will allow any engineer to appreciate and connect with happenings of the real world.
Meeting people of different cultural backgrounds is an enriching experience. Engineers can benefit from travel by exposing themselves to different lifestyles and approaches. Engineering practices and technologies will differ greatly in a third world country as opposed to that of a developed nation. Travel will help an engineer appreciate how different nations are, some of the unique challenges they face and why they may settle on a particular approach to solve a problem. Travelling also allows one to pick on different ideas that can be used in a future project.
The engineering profession today faces a great deficit of skilled labor that can take on the demands of the world. Therefore, every professional engineer should try to inspire the younger generation to follow in their footsteps and achieve greater results. Engineers should take the time to visit schools and universities to talk to students and break the myths that often shroud this profession. Engineering should be made more appealing to the public. Aspiring engineers should have both mentors and teachers who can guide them towards a successful career.
Not only is dancing a fun physical activity to take up, it is also a great way to socialize and appreciate the value of partnership or working in a team. Whether its hip hop, ballet or even the tango, all forms of dancing challenge one to appreciate synergy, pace and patience which are all essential ingredients to working effectively in a team. Dancing is also a good way to release emotions, particularly after a difficult working day and can help to stimulate the brain into creative thinking.
9. Comedy standup
Having a sense of humor is one of the key qualities to holding a successful engineering career. Engineers tend to work in tough environments and challenges continuously arise, no matter how meticulous the entire planning process was. In some situations the client may not be very confident in the job you are doing, the finances for the project are quickly drying up or your boss is simply not happy with the job you are doing. To diffuse such stressful situations, every engineer should learn how to be a comedian. A great way is to try your hand at standup comedy, either by actively participating or laughing the night away as part of the audience. Learning how to make light of bleak situations will also help you earn the respect of co-workers who will be eager to work with you on future projects.
10. Join a group
The engineering field is constantly changing as new technologies crop up every day. This means that engineers must constantly remain informed. A great way to do this is by joining a group. Socializing with other engineers often provides an avenue for emerging opportunities, the latest trends and building up communication skills. With technology today, one can easily join a group over the internet and interact online or attend social events that have other like-minded people present. Continuous interaction with people is often a good platform to gather new information and build up on your networks, both in and out of the workplace.