March 2012 Archives
An interview wouldn’t be an interview without being asked, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” I was asked this question in almost every one of my college interviews senior year of high school.
That was Fall of 2007, now it’s Spring 2012, almost five years later. So did I give the “right” answer?
Five years ago I answered that question saying that I plan to have graduated a major university with a mechanical engineering degree. I would keep the momentum and continue straight onto graduate school to complete my master’s degree. I felt that if I took a break to go work full time, I would never find or make the time to go back to school. If I were to find a job I would want it to be more hands-on. I always knew I didn’t want to be a business major. I didn't want to be someone who wears a shirt and tie to work. I didn't want to sit behind a desk, in front of a computer, everyday from 9 to 5. What I did know was that I wanted to travel.
This spring I will graduate from UMass Lowell with a Plastics Engineering Degree. I will most likely not be continuing directly onto graduate school because I will be working for Nypro, a company that plans to have me enter an eighteen month to two year management training program. This program will send me to the far ends of the world for extended periods of time mentoring various co-workers on various projects. Nypro is said to have two paths, one technical, and one business. While I’ll have a technical degree, I was hired by the Consumer and Electronics department for business (So yes, I sold out, 18 year old me would look upon 22 year old me with shame).
I dress business casual to work (nice pants, but no tie, so 18 year old me can breathe easy about that) I have my own office and I do have those days where I spend it behind a desk in front of a computer screen. I also have days where I’m hands-on, down on the floor working with heavy machinery. But, the best part is the travel, I’ve never left the country before, and over the next few years I will go months at a time without touching American soil. Don’t get me wrong, I love the US of A, but there’s a world out there just begging to be discovered by me.
So I guess I was both “right” and “wrong” about where I saw myself today. And you know what? I’m okay with it. I’m better than okay with it. Everything seems to be in its right place and if there isn’t anything broken, then there’s no need to fix it.
So I ask you this. Where did YOU see yourself today, five years ago? And an even better question. Where do you see yourself five years from today? (Don’t say doin your…)
“Make no mistake, moving is living.”
Last week, I joined the Order of the Engineer. This is
in no way
comparable to Albus Dumbledore’s secret society, The Order of the
Phoenix, but I can attest to the fact that both of these orders were
established with good intentions.
Below is an excerpt of the obligation to the Order of the Engineer;
“Since the Stone Age, human progress has been spurred by the
engineering genius. Engineers have made usable nature’s vast resources
of material and energy for Humanity’s [Mankind’s] benefit. Engineers
have vitalized and turned to practical use the principles of science
and the means of technology. As an Engineer, one pledges to practice
integrity and fair dealing, tolerance and respect, and to uphold
devotion to the standards and the dignity of one’s profession,
conscious always that one’s skill carries with it the obligation to
serve humanity by making the best use of Earth’s precious wealth…One
shall participate in none but honest enterprises. When needed, one’s
skill and knowledge shall be given without reservation for the public
good. In the performance of duty and in fidelity to my profession, I
shall give the utmost.”
Since high school, people have asked me why I chose to pursue a career
in engineering and my response has varied over the years. One aspect
of my answer has always remained constant. Engineers have the ability
to make the world a better place. Unfortunately, they also have the
ability to make the world a more dangerous place with nuclear weapons,
toxins, and other merchants of death.
From a positive standpoint, the one example always comes to mind is
the automobile industry. When Karl Benz produced the first automobiles
in 1888, they were death traps with solid components, glass
windshields, no seat belts, etc. Over the last century, automakers
have been continuously working towards making cars more safe using
padded dashboards, mirrors, seat belts, laminated windshields, lights,
reflectors, air bags, side curtain air bags, crumple zones, anti-lock
braking systems (ABS), traction control, On-Star… and the list goes
on. The point is, these advances are all a result of engineers keeping
up their efforts to make automobiles as safe as possible.
Now I’m not being biased and saying that ONLY engineers have the
ability to make the world a better place, we all do. Whether it's
teachers, local law enforcement, doctors, nurses, everyone and anyone
can contribute. You don’t need to pledge to an order, take an oath, or
sign a document stating you will always promise to do what is right.
You can make like Nike and “just do it”!
In March of 2010, I was driving down Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. I
came to a red light just past the Chinese Theater and I saw this: