No You Should Not Quit an Engineering Job that You Hate if You Have Been There Less than One Year – Here’s How to Stick it Out and Grow in the Process

Anthony Fasano | Comments | September 11, 2012

I am writing this post as a follow up to the post I wrote last week entitled How to Explain “Job-Hopping” on Your Resume during an Engineering Job Interview.  The reason I am writing this follow up post is because I received a ton of e-mails after the last post from engineers who have a new job that they dislike and they want to know how to stick it out since leaving would really tarnish their resumes.

Based on my experiences both as an engineer and providing career coaching to engineers, here are 6 strategies that you can utilize when faced with a new job that you absolutely hate.

1.     Get to know people at the company on a personal level.  Do this by going out to lunch with them or grabbing a few drinks after work.  Sometimes people like to make the “new guy or girl’s” lives miserable just because they are new.  Getting to know your co-workers on a personal level can really increase your enjoyment level in this position.

2.     Learn as much as you can that will be helpful to you in the future while you are there.  Ideally, from a resume standpoint, you don’t want to work for somewhere for less than 2 years (and even that’s pushing it), so if you decide to stick it out, learn, learn, and learn.  Assuming you plan on staying in this industry after you leave your current position, learn as much as you can about the industry including all of the technical information, new computer programs, new laws and regulations, etc.  Approach it like this:  think about your career goals, then make a list of everything you will need to know to achieve them, then try to acquire as much of that knowledge as possible while you are stuck in this position.

3.     Build your professional network far and wide.  Take this time to build your professional network both on and offline.  Attend as many networking events as possible and build your LinkedIn network online.  Here is a post to get you started with your LinkedIn profile.  By doing this, when the time comes to make a move, you shouldn’t have to look too far.  Also, you may get lucky and find someone who is looking to hire you now.  The thing about leaving a company after a short period of time is that it makes you look undesirable and disloyal to future employers, but heck if someone wants to hire you now, go for it; just be sure to stay at the next company for a while.

4.     Enjoy your personal life as much as possible.  Many corporate professionals are working so hard to climb the ladder in their companies that they neglect their family life and have zero work-life balance.  If you are not concerned about your future with your current employer, than there is no need to kill yourself working there.  Work the minimum number of hours and enjoy life outside of work.  As long as you can maintain your job there, your resume never says the number of hours worked on it.

5.     Find a mentor.  Finding a good mentor that can help you advance your engineering career is also something that many professionals neglect due to time constraints.  Take the time to find a mentor and seek their advice on how to push through this current situation, and where to go beyond it.  Mentors often can offer sound advice based on similar situations that they have gone through, and who knows he or she may even have some good contacts that can give you the job you have been looking for.  Here’s a post on how to help you find the right mentor in your engineering career.

6.     Find the opportunity in the situation.  Ask yourself these two questions every day and the answers should help you keep a positive attitude and high-energy level: 1) Where is the opportunity in this situation?  2) How can I learn and grow from this situation?

Having an engineering job that you really dislike is a really hard thing to deal with; I know, I did it for a few years.  However I used these 6 strategies to build a powerful network, which eventually helped me to build the engineering career development company that I am now enjoying running every single day.

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 and subscribe to the top 3 resources Anthony has used to become a partner in a firm at the age of 27.