As a Search Consultant specializing in the civil engineering profession, I speak to dozens of civil engineers on a daily basis discussing with them their careers, their employers, their projects, what motivates them, their strengths and weaknesses, their likes and dislikes about their job, their career goals, etc. When discussing their motivation for exploring new opportunities one thing I hear from time-to-time is how they would like to find an opportunity that is “fun.” I am sure I just got a few chuckles there as the concept of having fun in one’s career is buried by deadlines, stress, non-stop meetings, overbearing bosses, needy employees, critical clients who are never satisfied, and pressure from outside shareholders who barely know what a civil engineer is…and that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Everyone’s perception of fun is different, but is there REALLY a way to have fun as a civil engineering consultant?
Well, according to civil engineer and professional career coach Anthony Fasano, PE, civil engineers CAN have fun, and they SHOULD have fun. Here is what Anthony had to say to me on this very topic:
” It’s amazing when I coach engineers on career growth and development, how many of them think fun and work can’t go together. My question to them is, why would you want to do something for 40 plus hours a week if it’s not enjoyable?
Many professionals ask, how can I make my career more fun? First of all, if you are passionate about what you do, you will have a lot of fun. Another tip I always give engineers is to get out there and network. Build relationships in your industry through professional societies and other networking groups. Do it with the goal of building lasting relationships and you will find that your days are much more enjoyable. Building personal relationships in your industry can greatly increase your level of enjoyment. Don’t just join these organizations, get involved!
You only get one career, why shouldn’t it be fun?”
So as you ponder your career and some different ways that you can inject some fun into it, take a look at Chris Stone’s Summary below. Chris is the President of Clark Nexsen, a 90+ year old AE firm based out of Norfolk, VA. I uncovered Chris’ profile on LinkedIn, and his profile was the inspiration for this blog…check it out:
Using only a hoe and a large glass of water, I once single-handedly defended a small village in the Amazon Basin from a horde of ferocious army ants. I am the subject of numerous documentaries.
When I’m bored, I build large suspension bridges in my yard. I enjoy urban hang gliding. After work, I repair electrical appliances free of charge. I am an abstract artist, a concrete analyst, and a ruthless bookie. Critics worldwide swoon over my original line of corduroy evening wear. I don’t perspire. I am a private citizen, yet I receive fan mail. I have been caller number nine and have won the weekend passes. I bat .400. My deft floral arrangements have earned me fame in international botany circles. Children trust me.
I can hurl tennis rackets at small moving objects with deadly accuracy. I once read Paradise Lost, Moby Dick, and David Copperfield in one day and still had time to refurbish an entire dining room that evening. I know the exact location of every food item in the supermarket. I have performed several covert operations for the CIA. I sleep once a week; when I do sleep, I sleep in a chair. The laws of physics do not apply to me.
I balance, I weave, I dodge, I frolic, and my bills are all paid. I participate in full-contact origami. Years ago I discovered the meaning of life but forgot to write it down. I have made extraordinary four course meals using only a mouli and a toaster oven. I breed prize-winning clams. I have won bullfights in San Juan, cliff-diving competitions in Sri Lanka, and spelling bees at the Kremlin. I have played Hamlet, I have performed open-heart surgery, and I have spoken with Elvis.
Bottom line, I enjoy life and do not take myself too seriously.
Chris’ summary is taken from one of the most quotable texts found on the internet, Hugh Gallagher’s famous College Application Essay. Now I’ve never spoken to Chris, but after reading his profile summary on LinkedIn, if he truly looks through his lens on life with that perspective, I would bet that his career success can been partially attributed to his ability to have fun. So the question remains,