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Engineer Career Mentor


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#1 BMKibler12

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 10:19 AM

If I spent as much time on my career as I did on golf... haha


I am a 31 year old engineer. I've got a decent career going, but I can't help but feel like I can do more.

I am looking to develop a more personal relationship with somebody who's been through it and wants to pay it forward.

Let me know if that's you.


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#2 DeNinny

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 10:35 AM

I've been a chemical engineer for 20 years, and I am a firm believer that a lot is learned through interaction with other engineers, whether it be peer to peer or a mentorship relationship.

I don't know if I'm who you are looking for, but I too am interested in this topic.

What is it that you want to "do more"?  Learn more technically or interpersonal skills?
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#3 SixtySomePing

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 10:49 AM

You need to go no further than post #2...
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#4 BMKibler12

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 12:04 PM

I'll send you a PM with more details. Thanks for reaching out. We'll see if any others are interested, too.

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#5 pschmitt712

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 02:07 PM

I'm a 34 year old engineer and am very much in this camp as well. Decent career going but wondering things like "is this it?" Or "now what?"

I feel ya


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#6 highergr0und

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 03:01 PM

I'm not an engineer, but it feels like mentoring is tremendously underrated.  Over the last year I've been working with a boss who's kind of taken on that roll and I've learned way more than all my other years of work!!  Good luck!!

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#7 DeNinny

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 11:00 PM

View Posthighergr0und, on 07 September 2017 - 03:01 PM, said:

I'm not an engineer, but it feels like mentoring is tremendously underrated.  Over the last year I've been working with a boss who's kind of taken on that roll and I've learned way more than all my other years of work!!  Good luck!!

Whether or not it is formally recognized at your company, I think it is very important and regardless of your experience level to seek out other engineers that are more senior and experienced than you and then strive to work with them directly and also develop a relationship with them where you can at least consult with them on technical problems to solve and also career development.  Anytime you come across an engineer that knows more than you and has more responsibility than you, you should be seeking to learn from them and work with them as much as possible.  Solve engineering problems WITH them and always strive to be their peer.  Experience goes a long way in engineering.  Battle scars can teach you more than books.  And LOL it is better to learn from another's mistakes than to repeat them yourself.

(And yeah, this isn't exclusive to engineers.)
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#8 cbrwn425

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Posted Yesterday, 07:35 AM

31 year old engineer. Unfortunately I work in the auto industry and the companies I've been with tend to have a pretty high turnover (40+ engineers in 2 years at my current company) so I haven't had a lot of time with more senior engineers. My boss for the last year at my first company was really good in his own way, definitely wouldn't work for everone. My next and current bosses not so much. Second boss tried his best but was very new to being a supervisor so he was still figuring it out as best he could, current boss takes almost a completely hands off approach and is new enough with the company that he doesn't understand what my job is. All 3 companies everyone has usually been around the same age and same experience when I come in.

I do try to take newer guys under my wing though because even though I didn't get much mentoring in my career so far I know how big of an impact it can be to have someone show you the ropes instead of just telling you to go do something and letting you fail. From my experience I know how discouraging it can be to come in as the new guy and just be expected to know what to do right off the bat.

I've also had a lot of times where I find myself thinking that this really isn't the industry I want to be in but I've found it next to impossible to get interviews in non manufacturing fields now that all my experience is in it. I think the biggest issue I've had personally is that 2 out of my 3 employers have treated it's employees as a body to fill a chair and not an asset that needs to be kept.

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#9 DeNinny

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Posted Today, 02:08 AM

View Postcbrwn425, on 19 September 2017 - 07:35 AM, said:

31 year old engineer. Unfortunately I work in the auto industry and the companies I've been with tend to have a pretty high turnover (40+ engineers in 2 years at my current company) so I haven't had a lot of time with more senior engineers. My boss for the last year at my first company was really good in his own way, definitely wouldn't work for everone. My next and current bosses not so much. Second boss tried his best but was very new to being a supervisor so he was still figuring it out as best he could, current boss takes almost a completely hands off approach and is new enough with the company that he doesn't understand what my job is. All 3 companies everyone has usually been around the same age and same experience when I come in.

I do try to take newer guys under my wing though because even though I didn't get much mentoring in my career so far I know how big of an impact it can be to have someone show you the ropes instead of just telling you to go do something and letting you fail. From my experience I know how discouraging it can be to come in as the new guy and just be expected to know what to do right off the bat.

I've also had a lot of times where I find myself thinking that this really isn't the industry I want to be in but I've found it next to impossible to get interviews in non manufacturing fields now that all my experience is in it. I think the biggest issue I've had personally is that 2 out of my 3 employers have treated it's employees as a body to fill a chair and not an asset that needs to be kept.

In my experience having your boss as your mentor is hit and miss.  It depends on the manager.  I think it is better if a mentorship is unbiased by a manager-subordinate relationship.  It is simply a relationship between an experienced and less experienced engineer with open lines of communication and consultation.  Adding manager role to the relationship can complicate things.  

I think that the corporate hiring process and the plethora of available engineers in any industry isn't conducive to hiring one outside of his experience base, and so an engineer can find himself stuck in whatever industry that he has worked within.  I have been in facilities engineering for semiconductor processes for all my career and I have tried to apply for jobs in the chemical manufacturing industry with very limited success.  It can be done, but you need to have contacts and a network in the new industry that you are pursuing so that you can get that first interview.  Otherwise, it is likely that your resume won't pass muster simply because that "experience" base box can't be checked by the person screening it.
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