Dear Colleagues

There are some frightening statistics about the number of people who would like to leave their jobs…some figures quote up to 70% of workers. Obviously, a huge number of unhappy people out there. Particularly in engineering with its hard drive, unrelenting need for precision, production and peak work loads (often around projects) and unpleasant persistent competition from other lower cost businesses. All placing high levels of pressure and stress on people.

Before You Quit
Before you quit – however – consider jumping off the treadmill for a while – even for a very short time so that you can catch your breath and ‘recalibrate’. Bear in mind that changing to a new job may result in exactly the same problems that you currently have.

Stopping for a while, while still staying in your current position, will allow you to reflect on what the real problems are. This allows you to look at your environment objectively, perhaps in changing your attitude to work or in allowing you to cool off and to approach the job from a new perspective.

Signs you Need to Recalibrate
Some signs that you may need to rethink about what you are doing at work range from:

  • You hate your job and on Sunday evenings have a deep feeling of dread for the next day.
  • Your work peers start muttering about your contribution to the firm.
  • Friends and family try and get you to take a well deserved break
  • An (often unpleasant) life event occurs
  • An unbelievable opportunity comes up
  • You start finding your job increasingly challenging because of change

A variety of ways of getting off the Treadmill
Getting off the treadmill can vary widely from a few minutes per day to six months ‘sabbatical in Italy’.

There are a huge variety of ways that you may use to get off the treadmill. The one most spoken about is where you have accumulated a huge amount of leave and you disappear overseas with your dearly beloved for six months and can come back to your job after your vacation. Over this time you can really ponder on where you want to be – well away from the tumult of the job.

Others ways of taking a break are changing your fitness regime and getting a personal fitness coach or practising for a charity bike ride meaning that you undergo a particular intensive fitness regime over many months forcing you to change routines and mental focus.
 
The simplest one however is to take a deep breath every time you walk into the office and mutter a mantra to yourself about what you are doing to do that day and how you are going to interact with your fellow travellers.

What do you do then?
The trick with these activities is to distance yourself from the job and its (perhaps perceived)  problems and environment and to consider them from a distance. It is useful however to write down what the issues are and how long you are going to linger over the problem before re-engaging with it again.

But the important thing is to take the challenge on board and to do it now.

Thanks to Rachael O’Meara for an interesting article entitled: Pause: Harnessing the Life-Changing Power of Giving Yourself a Break in Harvard Business Review.

Perhaps the ideal engineering job is encapsulated in the comment from Ben Shneiderman who said: Leonardo Da Vinci combined art and science and aesthetics and engineering, that kind of unity is needed once again.

Yours in engineering learning

Steve