The New Year beckons with some urgency. I am currently lounging around magnificent New Zealand with family but have been inspired by the activities of the engineering professionals here who have done such a brilliant job with design, manufacture and export of everything ranging from dairy products (and other agricultural products), engineering design services, boating, heavy engineering equipment to state-of-the-art broadcast systems.

And I have probably left a lot out. All from a population of only a few million and few natural resources. There is certainly a strong fuzzy move upwards economically so we should see considerably more opportunities coming up. Although I would say that most engineers, technologists and technicians seem to be as busy as ever.

Mackay's Musings

My mild suggestions for the year ahead:

  • Put more effort into keeping yourself educated and cross-train in new engineering areas and developments (such as nanotechnology and bio engineering) - reading/informal discussions meetings and discussions with your peers (and dare I say - attending our courses and that of our competitors)
  • Do a spot check on your career - are you where you want to be? How can you improve your own economic and personal satisfaction opportunities in engineering?
  • Examine the situation of the guys working for you and your professional colleagues? Have you given them adequate engineering leadership and motivation to improve their careers?
  • Dare I say - examine your boss or immediate supervisor. Have you given him adequate support and helped in developing his career? Manage upwards more effectively.
  • Determine to stretch yourself into the unknown with your work and career where others haven't gone yet. This may cause stress but will let you grow yourself and your career and learn new things. I am not suggesting doing anything unsafe or jeopardising your co-workers; but going "out on a limb" is always nerve wracking, laced with fear of failure but ultimately pays off.
  • Try and look at everything holistically this year. Don't be an engineering professional in isolation but imagine yourself working in a multifaceted way. As NW Dougherty remarked: 'The ideal engineering professional is a composite - she is not a scientist, she is not a mathematician, she is not a sociologist or a writer; but she may use the knowledge and techniques of any or all of these disciplines in solving engineering problems.'

I wish you all well in 2011 and I hope you develop your engineering career brilliantly over the next 12 months. Thanks for being so supportive in your notes and emails.

Yours in engineering learning

Steve