“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” - Mae West
If you are an engineer and you are reading these job articles because you are currently looking for a new job, well then I have great news for you; this is your opportunity to redesign your career and life! If you are reading this post and you have a job, you will still benefit tremendously from the information below, that I promise you.
As of recently, there have been many authors out there writing books about lifestyle design, most notably Timothy Ferris, author of The Four Hour Work Week. The idea here is that life is a valuable commodity, why spend it working 60 hours per week? Tim offers strategies for being able to maintain an income stream while having freedom to do other things, like traveling around the world.
I do like this mentality and approach to life, and I believe that there is one way to try to gain this freedom in your engineering career and life and it can be summed up in one word: FLEXIBILITY. The more flexibility you have in your career, the more opportunity you will have to deviate from a regular 9 to 5 (or 9 to 7 if you are like most engineers) work schedule. Here are a few ways that you can try to gain flexibility in your career and life. If you are currently looking for a new position, consider these points when making decisions on which direction to take in your career and/or when negotiating with prospective employers.
Start Your Own Business: Starting your own business is a great way to gain flexibility in your career because you can work whatever hours you’d like, for the most part. Depending on your location, you may also be eligible for certain tax benefits as a business owner. However, remember, as a business owner, there is no steady paycheck; you make what you earn and you may be working a lot of hours, especially early on, to get your business off the ground.
Work Remotely: Whether you are negotiating with a prospective employer, or currently working for someone, try to negotiate for a certain number of days or hours per week that you can work from home (or work remotely). This can give you a tremendous amount of flexibility and help with improving work-life balance. Tim Ferris gives some great strategies for negotiating for work time away form the office in Chapter 12 (Disappearing Act) of his book the Four Hour Work Week.
Work for a Large Company: If you like to travel a lot, then you might want to work for a larger company and negotiate the ability to be able to work from different locations at your request. There may be some stipulations as to what locations you can visit and how long you can stay, but that can all be negotiated during the hiring process. This option obviously wouldn’t be available at smaller companies with one or a few office locations, unless they have projects in other locations.
So if you are unemployed, don’t get down, in fact you should be excited that you now have the opportunity to redesign your career and your life! Consider using some of the strategies in this post or any other ones you can think of to increase flexibility in your career. Things are about to get fun, for a change!
This is a guest post by Anthony Fasano, PE, author of Engineer Your Own Success. Anthony found success as an engineer at a very early age and now writes and podcasts to help other engineers do the same. Visit Anthony’s website atEngineeringCareerCoach.com and subscribe to the top 3 resources Anthony has used to become a partner in a firm at the age of 27.