Wisdom for the ages/Wise advice for young engineers

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Engineers early in their career may benefit from following these recommendations.

  1. Choose a mentor. Look around your organization and beyond and decide who is successful and who is not, based on criteria you choose yourself. Then identify one person, perhaps 5-10 years older than you, who is doing now what you want to be doing in 5-10 years. Meet that person and learn from them.
  2. Follow the Money. Learn the sources of money that pays your salary and funds your project. Is it directly from customers? If so, what is the value proposition that creates this revenue? How do you contribute to that value proposition? How is the money allocated to your department and to you? Is the revenue stream fragile? If so, what types of events could disrupt the flow of funds? Understand how your actions affect the flow of funds to your organization.
  3. Stay Current. Older engineers recognize that nothing sold today at Best Buy was invented when they were in college, yet we are still able to work in the field. Technology moves fast and is speeding up. Stay curious, follow the emerging technologies, take classes, read books, ask questions, and play around with various technologies.
  4. Maintain your own integrity. Jobs and even companies come and go. At the end of the day all you have are your reputation and your self-image. Do not compromise these. Uphold the 4 agreements and do your best to work well with others. Earn trust, advance no falsehoods, speak with candor, practice dialogue, and make wise choices.
  5. Be bold. No one other than you is responsible for your career or your life. Life is not a dress rehearsal, if you see something important, go after it. Exercise your agency. Focus on what matters. Learn to “Speak Strong” and say what you mean without being mean.
  6. Have fun. Stay hungry, stay foolish.
  7. Live Wisely. Seek real good.