Tag Archives: ambition

Security or Significance? Choose.

Here’s an article which will probably both ring true with you, and disturb you at the same time.

The essential point is, an awful lot of people, in an awful lot of walks of life, seem to find themselves doing work that is peripheral, or completely disconnected, from what they value, and from what they thought their employer was all about.

And it leaves them feeling worthless, unvalued, unhappy, even ashamed.

They do it because it keeps them alive, and it provides enough income.

The world of traditional aerospace, being by its very nature traditional, conservative, and bottom-line-oriented, is no exception.

It is therefore worthwhile asking oneself the following question then, no matter what stage in your life and career you find yourself:

Which matters more to me: Security? Or significance?

Because if security (of lifestyle, income, schedule, etc) matters more, you had better have some tolerance for doing work that you don’t value. For at least some of the time.

Conversely, if significance matters more to you, you will have to keep your wits about you, and be prepared to take bold action when required.

Because the inevitable trend is towards work that is dull, commoditized, and security-oriented.

The action you will need to take will include refusal to do work that doesn’t matter to you, or to the people you care about.

That’s risky, of course. Security goes out the window, at least for a while.

Though if you stick to your guns, in the long run, security might come back in the front door, and you get the best of both worlds.

Whatever the case, ask yourself the question. And choose.

To freelance is divine!

Up until now, I’ve been quite selfish with Aerospace Nation, doing virtually all the writing.

Time to fix that.

One avid reader kindly volunteered to share his experience of freelancing (also called contracting). What a brilliant idea.

Jon Mercer isn’t an aerospace hack. He’s spend most of his working life in IT. While nursing a passion for flying machines. Of course. Doesn’t everybody?

But the story he’s about to tell could very easily be that of an aerospace techie. (The one exception being: While you might be able to get into IT armed with only a history degree and a willingness to hack, you can’t get into aerospace like that. The aerospace world is rather backward that way, to its detriment.)

What’s cool about Jon’s story is how he sort of fell into freelancing, and then discovered how much happier he was that way. That’s a theme that resonates. I can count on one hand the number of freelance people I’ve met who regret the switch from permanent employment. The vast, vast, vast majority of freelancers are happier, richer, and wish they’d made the jump earlier.

With a few exceptions, the language below belongs to Jon. Where I have added anything, it is italicized, in brackets, and prefaced by DK.

Read on!

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It was one day in the late 1990’s.

There I was, sat at my desk, when suddenly the voices around me fell silent.

Something was being passed from desk to desk. You could follow its progress from the red faces and embarrassed expressions.

Someone had brought a freelancing magazine into the office . . .

Backtrack to the mid 1990’s. I was temping after finishing a History degree and wondering what to do with myself.

Continue reading To freelance is divine!

How to bore an engineer

Give her a task that could easily be done by a piece of software.

Then tell her to do it again. And again. (No software.)

And tell her it has to be this way because this is the way it was for you.

The problem now, of course, is you don’t just have a bored engineer.

You have a bored engineer who’s looking for the exit. And a possible new recruiting problem.

Yeah, I know, you didn’t leave. But youngsters today have more options (and more gumption) than your generation.

The solution to a recruiting (or employee engagement) problem is simple: Eliminate boredom.

 

Kickstart Your Aerospace Career – Who on earth are you?

NOTE TO THE UNPREPARED: This post will initially seem like it has nothing to do with aerospace.

It does. Stick with it.

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Who are you?

Why do you get up in the morning, and go to this place but not that place?

What makes you tick? What scratches your itch?

What makes for a great aerospace career?

What makes for a great career in any field of endeavour, for that matter?

Does what I do make any positive difference to anyone else?

You need to ask yourself these questions.

Continue reading Kickstart Your Aerospace Career – Who on earth are you?