Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Suggestions for engineers in their 50s and 60s

In response to a request from an engineering publication to offer some advice to engineers in the 50s and 60 who face layoffs, downsizing, outsourcing or burn out, I provided the following. Parts of it were excerpted in "Onward and upward: Crafting a late-stage career" by Patrick Mannion in Electronic Engineering Times on September 19, 2005: http://www.eet.com/news/latest/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=170704169

In spite of all the uncertainties in the profession today – downsizing, outsourcing, layoffs – pull back on a regular basis and get some distance from these immediate issues (knowing from personal experience how hard that is when livelihood is threatened).

Pause, to think about what you do have – family, health, experience, network, friends… Even if some of these are missing, you still have strengths that are uniquely yours.

Appreciate those strengths and inventory them: which will help you in your worklife, and which can be shared with others. Leverage them to maximum benefit for yourself and others.

Pray or meditate. Whether religious or not, take time to reflect that we are each part of a big universe; not like cogs in a machine but like cells in a living organism. One day a week, take a data sabbath – disengage from the virtual and reconnect with the authentic.

Participate in service. There are many opportunities; here are two that are uniquely for engineers:
Engineers without Borders (http://www.ewb-usa.org/) – like Doctors without Borders.
And Charity Focus (www.charityfocus.org/) - helping others help others.

There is much more on these four topics at www.reconnecting.com. See Part Three under Table of Contents.


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