An engineer recently asked me the question:

How do I step out on faith or not be afraid to leave my government job (comfort zone), where I am stagnant and not using my mighty engineering skills, to become a great engineer? I feel like I'm missing out. But I'm afraid to leave because of steady income, stability, lack of skills.

Great question! I wish more engineers asked that question rather than burying it deep inside themselves.

My advice to this engineer was simple. First, I asked her what it was that she wanted to get out of a new job opportunity that she wasn’t getting now.

She gave me a good answer which described things that she did not have access to in her current job.

Then I asked her the all-important question, “Why do you want those things in your career?” 

This is the question that can tell you so much about yourself and where you ultimately want to go in your engineering career and life. Walk yourself through this exercise for a moment. Write down on a piece of paper what you want to accomplish in the next few years in your career. Then, right below those goals, write down WHY you want to achieve them.

Why do you want to be an engineering project manager?

Why do you want to earn $100,000?

Why do you want to work for a large company?

Why do you want to get promoted?

Often, asking the WHY question helps you to realize that you don’t really want what you are chasing—or, of course, the question can confirm that you are on the right path in your engineering career.

After this process, the answer to questions like the one above are sitting on the piece of paper right in front of you beneath the word WHY.

That’s how you step out of a job on faith. You realize that there is a really strong reason or purpose that you are chasing, and it’s worth everything to go and get it.

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.

 

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