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computer engineers /builders

what were some of your main struggles what was one time you wanted to quit but did and what made you stay

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Ka’s Answer

This is a non-technical answer but I was given a bad review by my manager. It was a blow and I wanted to quit right away. I allowed myself to think about all the feedback for a couple of days. I came back and created an action plan to address the gaps that my manager notified me about. I returned to work and followed the plan. It's much better now.
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Alex’s Answer

My freshman year of college GPA in computer science was 0.985, enjoyed plating college football but when baseball season came , I was ineligible and realized college was not for me (my parents were not too happy either and the tuition payments stopped!)

I found a cable tv installer job with OK pay and had a blast while my friends were off to college, I got an apt with a friend and life was good...for a while.

My friends graduated from college and started getting these cool jobs all over the country (US Forest Svc in Denver, financial analyst in Chicago) making double what I was.

I found a part time engineering program at night so I could work full-time and go to class 2 nights a week. 8 years later I had my engineering degree - 23 years later I have a great career and opportunities to work on really exciting and challenging projects. (It is WAY WAY easier to go to college full-time, trust me)

So I failed as a college freshman and quit. I worked a few years before I found the motivation to get it done.

this is very true .... "every successful professional has failed at least one engineering class"
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Kris’s Answer

This is an excellent question. I have 30 years of construction management experience now, and there have been many many times where it became frustrating enough to want to throw in the towel. Almost all frustrations come from having to deal with people. Sometimes the public can be very opinionated. Other times government officials can be unreasonable. Basically, people can be mean, and we have to deal with that in any career.

What made me stay? The satisfaction of getting a job done right. Seeing a project through to completion.

The key to resolving the conflict with others that you will inevitably encounter, is to have mutual respect. Even when you know their opinion or ideas are ridiculous or impossible, listen to them. Put yourself in their shoes. If you show them respect, they will show you respect. Never pretend to know something you don't. Never act fake. Should you be asked something you don't know the answer to, or should they discuss something you are not familiar with, ask questions. Tell them you want to look that up and get back to them. Never ever lie. Listen, look them in the eye, and command respect with your body posture. Surround yourself with people who are respectful.

Kris recommends the following next steps:

Take a seminar on assertive behavior, or handling conflict, or managing difficult people.
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Dan’s Answer

I was an engineering manager who worked for a bad manager for 2.5 years. He expected minimum 60 hour work-weeks and was not at all supportive so I switched to a different department and manager within the same company. Excellent decision that I never regretted! I should add that he was the only bad manager that I worked for in over 40 years and I never wanted to quit due to the technical work. Engineering is a very exciting field and I enjoyed the technical challenges very much!
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Frances’s Answer

I used to work for a private consulting firm where I mainly designed fish passages and stormwater facilities using CAD and hydrology softwares. The amount of overtime hours I’ve spent on those projects was quite overbearing, and later on, the office environment was becoming toxic where the managers weren’t being supportive or inspiring. Because of that, I was becoming less motivated and didn’t want to be an engineer anymore. Luckily, I was able to find a job in my hometown where the managers were more helpful and considerate, and my job was less strenuous, so it made me happier. One advice is to make sure you actually enjoy what you’re doing at work and that you receive the help you need from your managers.
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Cedric’s Answer

Hi Jayden, here are some anecdotal examples for you. In relation to academia, Joe failed several classes last quarter. Despite failing, he knew that at heart he wanted to be a software engineer. He realized that balancing full time work and school was not possible and that stretching himself too thin was not sustainable. Knowing how to balance your schedule and prioritizing work and school is a very important skill which he improved upon. Setting boundaries for yourself is very important to know what you are willing and capable to handle.

Finding someone who you trust to be your mentor figure (who you know personally, in the company but not in your management chain of command) can be very helpful in your career as a confidant.
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Katherine’s Answer

Hey Jayden! I'm originally from a place not far from you, though I work in Utah now. I almost didn't start engineering school (I have an English degree) because I doubted my ability to do engineering mathematics. You could say that I nearly quit before I began.

There's a truism in engineering, though not every professional will admit, that every successful professional has failed at least one engineering class. "The ones who show up are the ones who make a difference." Engineering as a discipline is about persistence and refusing to be defeated. Now, with some more practical and technical experience, I can confidently tell you that the math is much easier than the problems you may encounter as a professional. I was a passable student in school and I'm a much better engineer out in the real world!

I encourage people who doubt their ability to handle the mathematics in school to try, anyway. What would you do if you weren't afraid of the math?

What made me stay in the profession and continue on through professional licensure was that civil engineering is fundamentally a GOOD job! I work with excellent people on inspiring problems, and I'm reminded every day that I'm not alone in tackling the preferred or recommended solution. I'm supported by fellow professionals every step of the way. Every advance I make was in some way made possible by the engineers who came before me.

I'm also a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers -- a professional society I'd recommend any young or aspiring civil engineer join! -- because mentorship and learning is such an important part of becoming a true expert in the field. Encouragement from my professional colleagues is what keeps me going in the field every day. I get to work with wonderful people, on meaningful problems, all for the purpose of building the future I want to live in.

I think civil engineering is a pretty great job!
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