Presentation on theme: "(28-30) March 2003 Career Transitions IEEE-USA Employment & Career Services Committee Presenter: See Notes Pages for additional information."— Presentation transcript:
(28-30) March 2003 Career Transitions IEEE-USA Employment & Career Services Committee Presenter: See Notes Pages for additional information
(28-30) March 2003 Losing your job –Downsizing (lot of people) –Layoff (just you) –Resigning from a position Reorganization –Loss of traditional support –The expected path for promotions has been eliminated –Continuous shuffling What is a Career Transition?
(28-30) March 2003 What is a Career Transition? Relocation –To a new city –To a new department or business unit generally more difficult when it is not your choice A major shift in job assignments –Not just a new project, but involving your role and how you are viewed by others –Loss of the specialist, downsized organizations are looking for generalists
(28-30) March 2003 Why Are You Here? Please Introduce Yourself What would you like to take away from this workshop? Is this something you are going through now or are anticipating for the future? –Expect a number of transitions in your career
(28-30) March 2003 Job Satisfaction? Creative Challenges? Promotions, raises? –Benefits, insurance, retirement plan? Job Security –Is this a contradiction of terms? A paycheck? Ethical Work Environment? –Fair treatment of all employees? What Do You Expect in Your Career?
(28-30) March 2003 What Will You Contribute? 40 hours, 50? 60? 80? 168? Loyalty to your employer? –Is this one sided? Relocation? How often? Are you willing to risk being fired for a principle? Who is responsible for maintaining technical currency?
(28-30) March 2003 How Many Times Do You Expect to Change Employers? You take a spouse for life, you take a job while it is mutually convenient. Too many people get it backwards. Can you afford to lose your health insurance? –pre-existing conditions would make it difficult to change
(28-30) March 2003 A transition begins with an ending and ends with a new beginning –The status quo ends –A new one is developed during the transition Normal psychological process –This is common to all professions –As engineers we can talk about the changes in our profession You must understand the process to manage it What is a Transition?
(28-30) March 2003 Transition Timeline begins with the ending of what was ends with a new beginning initial relief feeling of release feelings of insecurity rejection failure exploration networking finding a role exploration development of plans increased self confidence
(28-30) March 2003 Layoff (downsizing, rightsizing, re-engineering) Example (1) The Transition begins with a layoff notice The process may seem like a relief after all the prior rumors and tension –Normal initial feelings include relief and elation After the initial stage, feelings of insecurity and anxiety begin –Are my skills current? Who would hire me? –Negative interviews and no response to resumes & letters
(28-30) March 2003 Layoff Example (2) The bottom of the curve can be a well –Some people are unable to make a transition and never move out Exploration & Research –Learn activities which produce results –Begin effective network building –Expand your skills as well as learn which skills you have are desired
(28-30) March 2003 Layoff Example (3) Move to a new Beginning –This is the conclusion of the transition –This can be a new job or finding work as a contractor or consultant –There is a new transition which is the end of unemployment and continues through the point where you feel accepted at the new job
(28-30) March 2003 Other Transitions (1) Concurrently, other transitions are occurring There is a changing role in the family –Especially for the man who sees his role as breadwinner: who is now bringing in the check? –How long can we last with reduced finances? can we meet car payments, rent or mortgage? –Child care issues (this can be a time to build relationships and enjoy what has been neglected during the work crisis)
(28-30) March 2003 Other Transitions (2) Changing perception at professional meetings –Feel like a leper or has been? –Learn the difference between effective networking and good old begging Building volunteer roles –Allows you to bring something to the conversation highly effective for showing a positive attitude in interviews –Provides a feeling of positive contribution
(28-30) March 2003 Conclusion Transitions are a normal psychological process We go through many in our lives We need to understand the process if we are to manage it better
(28-30) March 2003 References Engineering Career: A Lifetime of Transitions –Richard Mayer –Sixth IEEE-USA Careers Conference Managing Career Transitions: Managing Yourself Through Job or Career Turbulence –IEEE Career Maintenance & Development Committee Workshop –Ann Lewis & Tony Perneski
(28-30) March 2003 Supplemental Material
(28-30) March 2003 Managing Career Transitions Donald C. Herres, P.E., Senior Member IEEE IEEE-USA 1996 PACE Conference and Workshop Proceedings Abstract Any working engineer today who does not face significant transitions in the workplace in the next five years is probably going to retire by then. The initial changes of the downsized/rightsized/re-engineered corporations of the early '90s have become a continuous process of evolution and turbulence. –The initial round of downsizing focused on middle management personnel and one thing that also went out the door was the continuity provided by their experience. The re-engineered corporations have broken down many traditional barriers to accelerating the process of bringing product to market, but there is a lack of mentoring to assist both younger and older engineers in their efforts to secure roles that provide stability and an understandable path for growth in the corporate structure. –The IEEE Workshop on Managing Career Transitions initially focused on helping those undergoing transitions that were externally created. In many cases, engineers now must to initiate transitions to change the workloads and stresses of the new corporate world into a manageable structure. Without the traditional support structure ranging from managers who can help with career planning to secretaries who simply help with dealing with the numerous interruptions of the day, engineers must take charge of their careers when the only priorities seem to be this week's deadline and long term planning is more than one business quarter. Introduction A transition begins when something stops. This definition contradicts traditional perceptions of transitions as a time of new beginning, but the process starts when there is a change, a loss, or the end of a stable situation. In the engineer's career, there are many transitions, both personal and professional, which occur. There most be a positive response in order to take control of the situation and move forward. –The author has presented a number of workshops on Career Transitions as Career Enhancement Coordinator for IEEE Region I. The reader is asked to accept the generalizations as a synthesis of numerous discussions and not just the personal observations of a single individual, employer, or locality. "Don't look back, somebody's gaining" There are a number versions of this quote attributed to Satchel Paige. This one is closest to my viewpoint; there is always somebody gaining. Engineering has been perceived as a secure profession. We are not glamorous or likely to make the big bucks of the high flying talent, but there is always a need for engineers who can create new products. The essential need for manufacturing to drive the world's economic machine has always created demand for engineers who can design products and processes. –The defense and aerospace cutbacks were some of the hardest for engineers to adjust to. Those employed in that area were used to contracts ending and then finding the next contract with another employer. It was a difficult adjustment to learn that there were few new contracts. Additionally, the commercial manufacturing sector was beginning the downsizing that has continued and there was little chance to cross over to those jobs. –What started as "downsizing" became "rightsizing" then "re-engineering" is now "cost cutting". All of these buzzwords mean reducing staff and fixed overheads. When engineering is seen as an overhead and not as a value added process, staff is cut to a minimum and then minimum is redefined at a lower level. The drive is to use computers and design automation to create "engineer in a tin can". Changing Roles - Engineer vs. Secretary It can be observed that secretaries have undergone the same transitions that engineers have faced. The girls (it was just girls back then) I went to High School with who learned typing and shorthand were assured that no matter what happened in business, there would always be a need for someone who could type, take phone calls and file. Nobody envisioned a day in our careers when executives typed their own memos, voice mail was ubiquitous, and filing was a function on a pull down menu. There are significant differences facing engineers. While we no longer carry slide rules and now calculations are now part of design programs, we are also dealing with concepts that did not exist. Not only have the design functions been automated, the engineer is also expected to handle numerous lower level tasks. Computer aided design has replaced the draftsman just as voice mail and word processing have replaced the secretary. The gaps in what has not been automated must be filled in by professional staff. The lack of clear understanding of the requirements other than the general "just do it" instruction are disorienting in an environment where there is no perceived logic to reduction in staff. –This leads to the sixty hour work week where management, itself a product of downsizing, has little apparent understanding of the value added by the process and can only log in who stays the longest or produces the best (most optimistic) progress reports. It is analogous to a basketball coach who has no understanding of rebounds or assists and doesn't see why there is a need for five players when only one shoots the ball and there are a bunch more on the bench not making any contribution at the moment.
(28-30) March 2003 The Dilbert Syndrome Dilbert has become the hero (or the anti-hero) of the working engineer with sarcastic observations that fit so many employers that a number have had their own witch hunt to find out who was behind certain story lines. It is a commentary on our society when Dennis Rodman is #1 on the New York Times non-fiction bestseller list followed by Dilbert's explanation of business as #2. –However, there is a beguiling attitude which underlies the cynicism. The arrogance that we envy is also what can isolate us and contribute to greater frustration. It took me many years to understand that engineers are intimidating. While many of us have been bludgeoned with simplistic reasoning by Marketing and Finance (the enemies in this characterization), we fail to recognize that engineering is not only foreign to them, but also intimidating. We have had concepts destroyed by lack of ROI and other acronyms, but the converse is also true. Justification in design reviews ranging from circuit parameters to differential equations produces a defensive response which is seen only as open antagonism. –This leads to greater frustration and a spiralling downward of relationships where every side of the business tries to expose another's limitations when downsizing (or this week's buzzword) leads to delays in progress symptomatic of a decreasing productivity. The End Of The Enginerd Given the scenario presented above, it is clear that business as usual has resulted in loss of jobs and loss of hope for some whereas the survivors in the business structure take on a "bunker mentality" where no outside activity is undertaken lest it become a new target for cost cutting. Presented from the viewpoint of the working engineer, this is only a lose-lose situation. Management has a differing opinion, seeing tightened control of costs and improved profitability as essential to survival against both international and downsized domestic competition. It is irrelevant as to whether either of these viewpoints is accurate. They are a part of a new reality which is shaping the careers of engineers as well as those around them. While the discussion has focused on manufacturing companies, the same situation applies in areas ranging from utilities to government to academia. –Engineers can no longer assume that technical proficiency is adequate for retaining a job. Career maintenance at one time seemed to simply require taking courses, reviewing technical literature, or attending trade shows. While these are difficult in themselves, the concept of life long learning is easily grasped by experienced engineers who have seen continuing changes in their own technology. What is difficult and sometimes insurmountable is determining the required skills and training in an environment where the old rules no longer apply. –Team building and concurrent engineering require better communications skills and an understanding of business management. With the reductions in middle management, there is no buffer to handle these issues and engineers must better appreciate the responsibilities and expertise of those they are working with in interdisciplinary groups. Initiating The Transition It is in this context that engineers must begin to create transitions in their careers to create stable long term employment even though their employers seemingly consider long term planning anything more than one business quarter. As many frustrated employees can attest, this cannot be a one way street. Engineers are frequently the best people to understand and appreciate their own needs for long term development. Training should not be focused on simply achieving this year's objectives; we are being paid to have those skills already. Training should be focused on the skills required for the company to be successful in five years. "When up to your neck in alligators, it's difficult to remember that your initial objective was to drain the swamp." That summarizes why training can be left behind in a downsized/rightsized/capsized engineering environment. Managing Career Transitions Donald C. Herres, P.E., Senior Member IEEE IEEE-USA 1996 PACE Conference and Workshop Proceedings
(28-30) March 2003 Engineering As A Value Added Process As long as engineers are seen as a fixed overhead and not a value added resource, the profession is in trouble. Fixed overheads are reduced or eliminated. Value added centers merit investment to increase productivity. The perception of engineering as an overhead leads to further problems. The concept of design expertise as a commodity product leads to reductions where professionalism is demeaned. Lower level education and experience can be substituted at reduced cost. Additionally, computer assisted design tools are misapplied as "engineer in a tin can". Outsourcing of design work will continue where possible. There is no doubt that a great deal of downsizing has been successful at achieving cost cutting targets. It is incumbent on engineering professionals to determine business objectives and create metrics which show how individual departments are contributing to these goals. This requires breaking some traditional barriers with marketing and finance areas and using estimates and forecasts to show how functions, such as product or process development, impact the business as cost improvements. –A typical example can be used for a product introduction. Using the marketing forecast for first year sales, multiply this by the expected price (including estimated negotiated discount). Multiply by one third for a manufacturer that sells through distribution where the distributor gets one third and one third is typical for direct labor and materials. The result is the cash flow into the company as a result of the product introduction. Multiply this by one third to provide a split between marketing, engineering, and manufacturing (including purchasing) as equal contributers to the innovative process. This provides an estimate of how the company's cash flow was directly improved through the design engineering process. –Obviously, the above example can be refined to each individual industry segment and market, but it is exemplary of creative thinking to show engineering as a value added process. We have traditionally fallen into the trap of not showing dollar values unless every single factor can be explicitly accounted for. Realistically, we need to accept that marketing forecasts, generally demeaned as being less reliable than a gypsy fortune teller, are the most accurate tools available. Likewise, rough estimates of which area contributed one third can be argued, but we can not stand around arguing about who contributed the most to drain the swamp. Managing transitions are skills that react to changes in the work environment. As engineers, we must further take these to initiate transitions when the conditions become unmanageable. about the author –Donald Herres is a design engineer with a manufacturing company and has past experience in plant and facilities engineering. He is a Licensed Professional Engineer in New York State, received the BSEE degree from State University of New York at Buffalo and MSEE from Syracuse University. He is a Senior Member of IEEE and the Chair of the Career Equality Committee, IEEE-USA, Region I Vice-Chair for PACE and Career Enhancement Coordinator, and Syracuse Section PACE Chair as well as a past Section Chair. As the workshop coordinator for the IEEE Career Transitions Workshops, the author can be contacted for information on presenting these at any Section. The author recognizes that this has been presented as material based on individual observations and welcomes additional input at Managing Career Transitions Donald C. Herres, P.E., Senior Member IEEE IEEE-USA 1996 PACE Conference and Workshop Proceedings
(28-30) March 2003 The Better Your Resume, The Less You Need It Donald C. Herres, P.E. IEEE-USA Employment Assistance Committee Region I Representative 1998 IEEE-USA Professional Activities Conference Track 4 Presentations Abstract The resume is considered a tool for finding a job as are some of the services of the IEEE-USA Employment Assistance Committee. These can be used by members for self assessment to benchmark their career and as a gauge for whether their skills are current in the marketplace. Introduction Resumes are typically updated in preparation for a job search or a reaction to an impending employment change. Similarly, the Job Listings Service of the Employment Assistance Committee is normally used as a source for finding other employment rather than benchmarking the current situation. Both can be used as planning tools to assess weaknesses or opportunities in a career. The Career Asset Manager is a tool developed by IEEE for planning; the comments in this article are meant to complement that tool. The Employment Assistance Committee is frequently seen as the resource to use after a layoff. The same tools can be used to help build your career and avoid a layoff. Why Worry? From the MAD Magazine philosophy What Me Worry? to the cynicism present in down-sized, right-sized & re-engineered organizations, there is a tendency to assume that events are out of our (or anybody elses) control. I prefer to follow Andy Groves motto Only the paranoid survive. In fact, there are many options available for building skills and maintaining currency in the job market. The trick is to determine which ones are beneficial and which are speed bumps in the technological highway where expertise can be short lived and little valued. The dual career ladders of either technical or management tracks of the 1980s rapidly went out of style when it was observed the technical ladder was almost always much shorter than the management ladder. It was little satisfaction for those on the technical side to watch the management ladders get sawed off during the down-sizing era. The one common message through these changes has been that the only one responsible for building your career resiliency is you. Salary Survey The first step in shopping in a market is to look at the price tag. This applies to employers as well and the IEEE-USA Salary & Fringe Benefit Survey  published by the IEEE Surveys Committee is the best starting point. While summaries are published annually in the Spectrum, the complete survey is well worth reviewing to get a good perspective on how specific job levels compare nationally and growth trends. It is particularly worth while for experienced engineers to look at the maturity curves in Appendix B. These show the leveling off of salaries after various years of experience, flattening off at about 25 years. For those who find the price of the survey too high, consider having your Section PACE Chair buy a copy for use by the Section members. A new tool is the IEEE-USA Salary Benchmark Workbook . This steps through the data from the survey and allows a comparison between an engineers salary and the survey benchmark. This is invaluable in providing a basis for comparison in the job market. One limitation that I do find with this is the difficulty comparing cost of living variations within a Region. There is a useful tool, the salary calculator intended for relocation comparisons for housing and related costs at www2.homefair.com/calc/salcalc.html. Comparing various cities in Region 1, there is a greater than 30% variation in comparable costs for housing. There are other salary surveys, notably one by the Electronic Engineering Times (techweb.cmp.com/eet) however the IEEE survey provides the most comprehensive look at the US Membership as well as the best supporting documentation
(28-30) March 2003 Lifelong Employability vs. Keeping A Job The Engineers Guide to Lifelong Employability  focuses on the skills required to find a new position. Reading the book from the perspective of one working to maintain and broaden an existing position is also helpful. Job interviews are well defined events which allow a candidate to discuss a position. In an existing position, this process frequently becomes an impromptu five minute discussion with a department head. These are much more important in determining future growth, but few of us actually prepare for such events. Using the job search skills within an existing position provides a better sense of the companys future needs. The Guide also contains a chapter that deals with the specifics of writing a resume that will be successful. Now Do It Updating your resume and comparing yourself to the market is not an easy or pleasant task. Most of us get enough insecurity at work and do not need to add extra by doing this. However, working through the resume process and matching expectations for a job with employers stated expectations found through the job listing service allows better understanding. Viewing the situation in market terms such as value added and competitive costs take away from our perception of our jobs as professionals, but must be understood as the motivations for those situations which seem beyond our control. So take the first step. Update your resume and put it to some use; for those with over ten years in the profession, this is a good time to apply for Senior Member status in IEEE and get a tangible reward for your effort. [Editors Note: Additional information on preparing resumes can be found in the IEEE-USA presentation: Resumes] References 1.IEEE U.S. Membership Salary & Fringe Benefit Survey 1997, IEEE 2.Salary Benchmarks: A Personal Workbook 1997, IEEE 3.Engineer Guide to Lifelong Employability, 1997, IEEE About The Author Donald Herres is a design engineer with a manufacturing company and has past experience in plant and facilities engineering. He is a Licensed Professional Engineer in New York State, received the BSEE degree from State University of New York at Buffalo and MSEE from Syracuse University. He is a Senior Member of IEEE, Region I PACE Vice- Chair and Employment Assistance Committee Representative, Syracuse Section Industry Applications & Power Engineering Society Chair and a past Section Chair. The author welcomes additional input at The Better Your Resume, The Less You Need It Donald C. Herres, P.E. IEEE-USA Employment Assistance Committee Region I Representative 1998 IEEE-USA Professional Activities Conference Track 4 Presentations