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#32 Do You Doubt Your Engineering Career?

October 9th, 2020 by

It’s okay if you read this blog post, you’re not crazy. One of the most difficult revelations you can admit as an engineer is that you are in doubt. You doubt your engineering career. And it is agonizing. Given the student loans, diligent studying, and wishful thinking, your engineering path leaves much to be desired.

Greener Pastures

You had myriad expectations as an engineering student. Perhaps you experienced phenomenal internships with spectacular mentors. And it’s possible you landed what you thought was going to be your dream job. Or, maybe you didn’t land a dream job. Maybe your credentials allowed for an opening into your dream company.

Somehow, the honeymoon phase faded away and now you doubt your engineering career. Your day-to-day is mundane without a clear future among too many supercilious people. The little secret you carry around is that your disappointment has led to job hunting.

Heaven forbid certain individuals find out, i.e. your colleagues or your boss!

This scenario is not what you envisioned years ago. You always believed your engineering career was going to be fulfilling and exciting, with much opportunity for growth and advancement (see Post #25). Now, you painfully doubt your career choice and contemplate moving on to greener pastures, if only you knew where to find them.

A Painful Way to Live

Believing you worked so hard only to question your choices can lead to a bitterly exhausting life. However, the first thing you ought to know is that this is a common dilemma among many engineers. You are not weird. There is nothing wrong with you. Many engineers question their purpose and their future. At times, they blindly throw darts and hope to hit something of value.

Secondly, it sure is tempting to switch jobs, careers or even industries. There are many opportunities out there and you may feel like you are missing out. The logical urge is to leave your current situation behind in search of a better life.

You don’t know if the grass is greener until you get there. Then, what will you do if the grass is brown? How many times will you start over in search of a better outcome?

Third, and most importantly, is that career doubt is a derivative of self-doubt. When you doubt your engineering career, you are placing blame. Regardless of who or what you blame, this career doubt correlates to your being out of touch with yourself. The question is, how much?

If you can better understand the reasons why you do the things you do, the reasons why you think the way you think, pieces of the puzzle will fall into place. Career doubt is simply the symptom of a bigger issue.

Maybe engineering isn’t where you belong, maybe it is. My function is to help you figure this out. Do not delay any longer. Send me a note about your contemplation, and we can work to figure out how engineering should fit into your life: gina@deliberatedoing.com.

I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and subscribe to my Youtube channel for additional coaching insights!

#31 “My Employer is Taking Advantage of Me”

September 25th, 2020 by

It was bad enough you felt connected to your job 24/7 prior to COVID-19, thanks to work cell phones. You could not have imagined how much worse the lines would blur. With most professionals working from home, work-life boundaries are muddled as you bitterly realize, “My employer is taking advantage of me.”

It’s Just the Way Things Are

Post #29 summarized an eye-opening interview I recorded with Stephanie Slocum, Career Coach at Engineers Rising. She asked riveting questions about employment and layoffs that people like you want to know the answers to. I offered my insights about job security, worthiness, people-pleasing, work identity vs self-identity, and other impactful topics.

The most common topic people ask me about since the interview is, “My employer is taking advantage of me. It’s just the way things are. How do I say no?”

Some of you are working 12+ hours/day while struggling to complete assigned tasks and take care of a household. You may receive emails throughout the evening with an unreasonable expectation to complete requests by the morning. The examples are numerous, but many people believe this is the way things are. When the employer says jump, your brain is programmed to ask how high.

When you have bought into the mentality that this is the way things are, it is highly likely you will not question the system. It is highly likely you will not push back, and you begrudgingly continue to burn out.

Saying No

You may not realize that setting work boundaries and diplomatically pushing back is an option. It may sound too foreign a concept, especially if you tell yourself you cannot afford to be unemployed.

The reasons to avoid saying no or pushing back include, “My reputation might be damaged; I don’t have a choice; my next raise will be poor; I may be the next to get laid off, etc.”

The option to say no to unreasonable work demands is available to you – it is possible despite the doubts that come up. True, others may snicker or point a finger, and the boss may criticize. But, which is the higher price to pay: the risk of job loss with a disrespectful employer who doesn’t recognize your needs and pushes you over the limit, OR an over demanding life of work that is dedicated to appeasing others’ unrelenting, infinite demands?

Employment is a partnership, not a dependency. Do yourself a healthy, long-term favor by learning the art of saying no.

If you’re a disgruntled, hard-working employee who believes “my employer is taking advantage of me,” I invite you to watch my insightful interview on Youtube. It could be the start of a much-needed, restorative relationship you create with yourself.

I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and subscribe to my Youtube channel for additional coaching insights!

#30 The Dreaded Wait Until Friday Afternoon

September 11th, 2020 by

You cannot enjoy the Sunday afternoon game; in fact, you enjoy almost nothing about Sundays. Because Sunday is the precursor to another 5-day work marathon. No sooner when you make the Monday morning trek to your computer does the dreaded wait until Friday afternoon commence.

No Way Out

It’s not that you dislike your job, your colleagues, or your customers, necessarily. On average, you job is okay. It may not be the most exciting but certainly, it could be worse. And it’s better than no job at all.

Your first consideration: the obvious solution is to find a new job (see Post #29). Shake things up with a new boss in a new department or find a new employer altogether. The problem with that tactic … you’ve tried it before. Of course, a new environment will offer temporary relief. However, you eventually reach the point of dreading your Sundays due to the gloomy Monday mentality: “it’s a dreaded wait until Friday afternoon.”

Your second consideration: this is the way it is. Some people get lucky and love their jobs. But you tell yourself you’re just not “one of those people.” How can you possibly enjoy Sunday through Friday when they are associated with work? There doesn’t seem to be an easy solution to the unavoidable, ‘dreaded wait until Friday afternoon’ syndrome.

Energy Drain

If this describes your work-life situation, I must share two items.

First, the situation will not get better on its own. Things don’t magically become less miserable over time. The more you wish for things to be different, the more you suffer. Imagine the person wanting to lose 30 pounds. They cannot wish those pounds away, nor can they hide the pounds by constantly switching clothes. You have work to do if you want to improve the situation.

Secondly, misery compounds when you doing nothing. If you wait for things to change, if you wish for things to change, it means you are resisting. The longer you resist, the sooner your energy dissipates. This is a sure fire way of burning out! Imagine holding a beach ball underwater. You can do it for a bit, but your energy will wear. It is not a sustainable activity. Neither is a life whose purpose is to ride out the dreaded wait until Friday afternoon.

We know a job change or an environmental change is not a permanent solution. So, what is? There exists a common root among the folks who cannot wait for the freedom of Friday afternoons: their mentality. 

You can change as many circumstances as you’d like. Unless you work to reframe your situation and change your perspectives, the same mentality will follow you everywhere.

Adapting yourself to your world is much more sustainable than waiting for the world to adapt to you.

I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and subscribe to my Youtube channel for additional coaching insights!

#27 The Job Isn’t what you Expected

July 31st, 2020 by

You may long for the days when your professional life was easier, the days when you excelled. Others referred to you as the ‘expert’. Thinking back, it seems like you had it made. Today is different. You feel out of place as unfamiliar exposure follows you amidst a new bureaucratic maze. The job isn’t what you expected, and you lie awake at night thinking you made a terrible mistake.

Brain Filtering

You see what you believe. It is a concept referred to as confirmation bias. For example, if you believe your child is the best child ever created, you will accumulate evidence to prove this belief true. Over time, you will have made numerous mental notes of all the reasons why your child is the best. And you ignore evidence that disputes this belief. Therefore, if you consistently tell yourself the job isn’t what you expected, your brain will work to find all the relevant proof … and it will ignore the rest.

Confirmation bias is a critical reason why self-awareness is germane to your well-being (see Post #05). When your brain reinforces negative beliefs, it is creating stronger neural pathways that over time, become easier to access. This is how you create new habits. Therefore, it is your job to filter your thoughts and beliefs. Hold on to those that are working well and discard the self-destructive statements that serve no purpose.

Your Contribution

First thing is first: self-awareness. Recognize the self-destructive chatter such as, “I think I made a mistake … It shouldn’t be this difficult … I must prove myself … I miss my old team … people think my job is a joke … I hate the environment … I don’t want this, etc.” You may wonder, “How can these be self-destructive thoughts if they are true?”

Great question! This leads to the next step: analyze how your thoughts enhance your life. Create 2 columns on paper and try this exercise. Column 1 is labeled ‘Thought’; write down your thoughts. Column 2 is labeled ‘Positive Results.’ For example, perhaps it is true you don’t like the new environment. What positive results are created in your life by this thought – how does it move you forward? If this belief does not support your well-being, it’s time to toss it.

In other words, you will contribute to your own agony by focusing energy on the negative beliefs.

Perhaps the job isn’t what you expected. Many jobs won’t be. Lots of things in life aren’t as expected: relationships, plans, children, etc. The question becomes, who do you want to be when expectations are not met?

I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and subscribe to my Youtube channel for additional coaching insights!

#26 Is COVID Leaving you Stuck?

July 17th, 2020 by

What does one do when you find yourself stuck in a dismal job because of the tight market? How do you maneuver a new career when negative headlines constantly feed into your mind? If COVID is leaving you stuck, it is time to construct some relevant facts so you quit wasting brain power on futile activities.

The Facts

Fact 1: You own the most powerful asset on the planet.

This tool is capable of solving the most desperate, dire problems in your life. In general, society does not emphasize the need to take care of it or to feed it with constant upgrades. This tool requires attention, nurturing, and exercise to enable forward progression.

It is called your brain, and I challenge you to think about the last time you fed your brain meaningful nourishment. If you want your brain to perform at its best, you must feed it the most empowering information possible. And by the way, that does not include the news media (see Post #17).

Fact 2: Humans cannot evolve or advance without obstacles.

Imagine a life that includes constant bliss and happiness because everything goes your way, exactly as planned. Picture a life that offered zero problems at work with a perfect home life awaiting your charmed arrival. Is this a life you wish for, one in which you would never even know you’re happy?

The fact of the matter is that, despite our feelings, humans need challenges and obstacles. They contribute to our progression as a species. That is, after all, the purpose of our being: to evolve by overcoming perils. The more challenging our obstacles, the more we progress.

Fact 3: There are numerous free resources at your disposal.

As an avid LinkedIn user, I encounter varieties of people who offer services for free. Whether you’re looking for a career coach, a business strategist, strength-finders, communication experts, interviewing hints, job application tips, etc., the resources are innumerable. And that does not include the other socials.

If COVID is leaving you stuck in your current situation, take advantage of the plentiful help available online. For starters, I always offer free life coaching to help you get a jump start out of misery into your next endeavor.

I’m here to assist your mental wellbeing. Simply send me an email: gina@deliberatedoing.com

I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and subscribe to my Youtube channel for additional coaching insights!

#20 “Where is my Raise?”

April 24th, 2020 by

You are an exceptional employee, going above and beyond the call of duty. You’ve worked weekends, quelled dangerous fires and customers appreciate your genuine efforts. In your recent yearly review, management praised your work and thanked you for your dedication. For whatever reason, your yearly raise vanished into thin air. It doesn’t make sense, you want answers, and you want to know, “Where is my raise?”

What you Should Know

I don’t mean to be a pessimistic heartbreaker. But, I am going to share something I wish someone would have told me back when. I wish a mentor would have been brutally honest and told me, “Your employer is under no obligation to provide raises.” I would have awkwardly questioned this statement over a disappointing lunch. Nobody ever shared this little but impactful secret.

Had I known I was not entitled to a yearly raise, I wouldn’t have felt like I had just been blasted with a water hose the first time I was denied. It happened more than once; the second time admittedly wasn’t as bad. Nonetheless, I turned back the clock and tried to understand what I did wrong. Why was I being punished for what I thought was particularly good work. I wanted to ask, “Where is my raise?”

Stop Doing This

Today I know better, and I’d like to share a few things to spare you the same suffering. First, it is true. Employers are under no obligation to provide yearly raises (unless, of course, it is specified in a written contract). It is comforting to believe your employer will provide yearly raises out of the goodness of their lucrative hearts. However, you are not entitled. Dependency on a raise to make you feel better is like dependency on your child to earn straight A’s.

Next, stop blaming yourself. There is no positive outcome when you resuscitate previous work scenarios to use against yourself. Forget about this tempting habit to fall into the self-blame trap. Last, it does not matter if you are the best employee or the worst. When your employer decides you’re not getting a raise, stop asking yourself “why”, “where is my raise”, or “what the hell?”

Shifting Focus

What you can do instead is shift your focal point inward (See Post #13). An outwardly focused perspective may include dwelling on a raise you know you deserved but did not receive. How would productivity change and how would your self-confidence change if you only focused inwardly?

For example, perform your absolute best daily so you can savor your own work ethic. Go the extra mile (within reason) knowing at the end of the day you tried your best. Serve your customers on a silver platter, not in hopes of a raise, but because you know you are capable.

Only you can entirely understand the depths of your own capabilities. The job, the employer and the raise are simply external byproducts. Nothing is more rewarding than the justified self-elation stirring about after blowing your own mind.

I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and subscribe to my Youtube channel for additional coaching insights!

#15 What is your Level of Perfectionism?

February 14th, 2020 by

Some of us push perfectionism to the limit. We admire the way every object in the house has its assigned function and designated space. We don’t mind scrutinizing (or admiring) our work 10 times over just to be extra sure there are no mistakes. Others, however, are not-so-proud perfectionists. You may be familiar with triple and quadruple-checking our own work, and doing so from an uncomfortable feeling of fear. “What if something is incorrect or out of line?” you hauntingly wonder. 

The Root Cause

Perfectionistic tendencies may look different for every person. However, the common denominator for perfectionists boils down to one thing: self-worth. Self-worth, or lack thereof, comes from fear – i.e., “What will they think of me … what if I’m wrong … is my work good enough, etc.” Fear is rooted in self-doubt and insecurity. 

The more insecure you are with your existence, the more you want to prevent mistakes or answer for wrongdoings.  As mentioned, the root cause of your perfectionism comes from a lack of self-worth. Your answers to these questions are indicative of your own self-worth: what do you think of you, how do you view your worth as a human? 

Strive for Less than Perfect

The best way to mitigate perfectionism is to increase your self-worth. Imagine a world in which you are willing to embrace all feelings, positive and negative. Picture how your life would be different if you were comfortable with living an unapologetic, authentic life (see Post #18). 

No lying, no masking your feelings and no shaming yourself for being less than perfect. This is a self-confidence skill that is available to you.  It is a skill you can work toward building over time, similar to hiring a person trainer at the gym.

Perfectionism stems from fear; fear stems from self-doubt and insecurity; self-doubt and insecurity come from your self-worth.  When your self-confidence is sky high, my friends, then you have your own back no matter what. When your self-security is drastically improved, can you see how the need for perfectionism dwindles?

I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and subscribe to my Youtube channel for additional coaching insights!

#12 Fulfilling your WHY

January 3rd, 2020 by

Why do you do what you do, i.e., are you fulfilling your why? I dare you to write down your answers. Do your answers feel good? Perhaps they bring about genuine sadness … or a sense of longing for something more. Maybe your answers are superficial enough that you don’t recognize the person who wrote them.

The Negative Build Up

If fulfilling your why is compatible to, “This is my passion … it is fulfilling … there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing…”, congratulations, you’ve made it! 

However, if your answers are less than thrilling or flat-out depressing, then let’s take action (see Post # 05). Because if you don’t process the negative emotions of feeling stuck, bitter, confused, etc., then you may continue to ignore. When you continue to ignore, the negativity builds and eventually combusts in one form or another.

Reclaim your WHY

Perhaps you can acknowledge you are suppressing your feelings and sweeping them under the rug. Now what? I will offer that you don’t have to change your job (or your circumstances) in order to be happy. This may be a new concept to you. But the source of your unhappiness or negative feelings is not due to your job, your boss or any external entity.

Rather, your ways of thinking, i.e. your beliefs, are causing you to feel negative emotions. It’s tempting to blame your career or an external entity, but the root cause of most problems derives from your belief systems. Blaming external causes for your feelings depletes your wellbeing because it makes you feel powerless.

A significant life coaching lesson to my clients is that the sources of our pain are not other people, our jobs or external circumstances. The source of our emotional pain is due to the way we choose to label the world around us. How do you choose labels, and how do those labels influence your why?

I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and subscribe to my Youtube channel for additional coaching insights!

#10 Your Future is Bright – True or False?

December 20th, 2019 by

You look forward to your next training, professional conference or job title. Your future is bright and your possibilities seem endless. Your career could take multiple turns for the better. Correct? Or … not so much? Perhaps your boat is sinking and at this point you’re just hoping to remain above water.  

Responsibility

What is true about your future? Two important points to keep in mind and these can be gamechangers. First and shockingly, your future does not depend on your employer (see Post #13). It does not depend on your colleagues, your boss, your recruiter or your friends. 

A common self-destructive habit too many professionals believe is that they have little control over their futures. As if others are somehow responsible for the way your future unfolds. Your future is bright thanks to the explanation provided below.

Accountability

Also shocking to some of you is that you are 100% responsible for creating your own future. This is a job for you and you only. Every action today will affect you tomorrow – it is your decision to make a move in this moment. You are sole owner over your credentials, mentality, professional development, etc.

Your future is bright because you are CEO over your own life. Take ownership over your brain and hold yourself accountable to your future creation, just as a CEO holds its professionals accountable to their judgments.

How are your actions today going to affect your world tomorrow, next month or next year? What actions do you take next for your future growth and evolvement?

I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and subscribe to my Youtube channel for additional coaching insights!

#6 The Boss is Happy but You’re Less Than Satisfied at Work

November 15th, 2019 by

You find yourself less than satisfied at work. But your boss wouldn’t trade you for the world. Despite your stellar performance, you’re not loving the work. There’s a lingering thought that won’t go away: “This work matters to my boss, but it doesn’t matter to me.”

Your Agreement

I challenge you to think about the purpose of your job – of any job. Is it to fulfill your intellectual desires, to promote your professional development, to produce results in exchange for benefits? Let’s suppose the purpose of your job is to complete X, Y and Z. In return, you receive a paycheck. Is that not the deal you made with your employer when you accepted the offer?

If you find yourself less than satisfied at work despite your boss’ praises, the solution does not start with finding a new job; it starts from within. I guarantee if you were to brainstorm ways to become more creative, more resourceful, more engaging, and most importantly – more giving, you would start a personal and professional transformation.  

Your WHY

If you are less than satisfied at work, first, try to think from an alternate perspective. Imagine providing a service out of your desire to serve. “How can I serve my customers/colleagues today, how can I go above and beyond, how can I meet someone new today, how can I engage with the person who avoids me, where are gaps I can fill, how can I help the new person, what can I learn today that will allow me to contribute more…?”

Secondly, investigate your WHY…why do you choose to currently exist in your job (see Post #12)? If you perform a mental deep dive, you will find your WHY is proportional to your satisfaction. To gain more fulfillment and/or happiness, you must first understand your WHY. Then, you can work towards accomplishing it.

In conclusion, if you are less than satisfied at work, help yourself by redirecting your focus. Mentally perform from an attitude of serving, and investigate a powerful WHY that resonates with you. It is a start towards permanent job satisfaction.

I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and subscribe to my Youtube channel for additional coaching insights!

#2 Are You Going Through the Motions at Work?

September 20th, 2019 by

Does your day-to-day involve constant boredom and everlasting daydreams? Admitting your dissatisfaction is the first step to making changes for the better. So, ask yourself: “How long have I been going through the motions at work, and why?”

What it Looks Like

Let’s first understand what it means to be going through the motions at work. For one, you most likely wake up dreading the day ahead. Upon arrival, you choose to put forth a satisfactory effort over a spectacular effort. Staring frantically at the clock as you desperately job search has become part of your daily ritual.

Second, when you are going through the motions at work, your effort is deliberately proportional to your salary and no more. The attitude you carry is, why should I do more if I don’t have to? If you perform your work in accordance with feeling unmotivated, resentful or worse, you are probably going through the motions. See Post #18.

Saving Yourself

The good news? Your professional life does not have to suffer this fate. There are myriad options when you find yourself going through the motions at work. Obvious choices include new employment, new certifications, college degrees or quitting and residing at your in-laws’ basement. Are you ready and willing to take those leaps? If so, make a commitment and go all in!

If no, I would like to offer an alternative. What if you could remain exactly where you are and be motivated to do your job? How would your world improve if you did not have to go through the motions? This powerful alternative is available to you because I understand what it takes to get you to that place. My specialty is to save you from your professional despondency.  

What kind of price have you been paying by doing nothing?

I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and subscribe to my Youtube channel for additional coaching insights!