Tag Archives: career

Kickstart your Aerospace Career – Your Most Important Technical Skill, continued

Want to know how I turned the corner on a self-confidence problem?

Apologies if it sounds lame, but I started:

The Action habit.

Up to that point, I had more or less been assuming that I would naturally just slide into the career situation that was perfectly suited to me. (It may sound weird that a grown man would think like that, but I did.)

Surprise, surprise, that hadn’t happened.

A friend who did corporate training for a living (and has since morphed into a life coach) told me, “Dude, cream rises to the top. But it’s got to be in milk first. If you’re not excelling, are you in the right environment for you to excel?”

He had me pegged.

Continue reading Kickstart your Aerospace Career – Your Most Important Technical Skill, continued

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.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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?

What’s Your Antidote to the Fear of Loss?

Twice in the last three months, I’ve missed out on paying work, losing in the end because I was too expensive.

Too what?

The client had a pay scale, or a spreadsheet somewhere that dictated how much they were prepared to pay for my time.

On or below that line, and I was in. One penny above, and I was out. Simple. Case closed.

The bottom line was the expense they would incur by hiring me.

I had been reduced to a cost.

They (and I) had failed to consider: How much profit or benefit would they make by hiring me? (It’s a skill I haven’t yet mastered, obviously.)

You will often hear someone moaning about the shortage of engineers, the lack of technical skills, young people don’t want to go into engineering anymore, it’s holding back the company’s growth, it’s holding back national growth, etc, etc.

Continue reading What’s Your Antidote to the Fear of Loss?

Kickstart Your Aerospace Career – Post 1

Boy oh boy, can things change in just 20 years.

In 1993, I was not long married, getting very little sleep (due to the new baby howling in the middle of the night), and less than a year into my second permanent job (with 7 months of unemployment in between them).

On New Year’s day, I vividly remember sitting in the hospital holding my one-day-old daughter, thinking, “Darn. If I’m going to attempt a career change, I’d better do it fast.”

I was already losing interest in my new job, and I suspected that my employer might also be losing interest in me. (They were.)

I’d been fascinated with flying machines ever since the age of three, when my grandparents had taken me to watch them at the nearby municipal airport. I’d been transfixed then, as I still am whenever anything flies overhead.

Continue reading Kickstart Your Aerospace Career – Post 1

The game just changed for the aerospace engineer

I just saw something yesterday that made me realize:

Things are changing even faster than I thought.

Freelancer is a site that does just what it says on the tin: Connects people and businesses who need specific work done, with the people who can do that work, wherever in the world they are.

Nothing new. Guru, eLance and oDesk have been doing it for the last decade.

What came as a surprise to me was the kind or work being offered on Freelancer. The eLances and oDesks of the world have until now mainly been useful for copywriting, SEO, web dev, software coding, graphic design, etc. Never the “harder” technical stuff, and certainly not the engineering disciplines within aerospace. That has typically been packaged up and “thrown over the wall” to lower-cost firms, often in cheaper countries.

Not until now, that is.

Continue reading The game just changed for the aerospace engineer

Engineer, are you a commodity?

(Hint: The default value is YES.)

Here’s a blog post well worth reading, entitled How to be a freelance engineer. Very insightful.

I would have prefaced it with two questions:

  1. Do you know the currency value of the skills you will bring to the marketplace as a freelance engineer?
  2. If the answer to Question 1 is yes, are you still sure you want to be a freelance engineer?

Author Seth Godin likes to ask people if there is anyone else in the world that can deliver the same goods or services as you, for the same money (or less).

If the answer to that question is YES, he will tell you that you are on a race to the bottom.

Continue reading Engineer, are you a commodity?

Mergers on the starboard bow, Jim!

Two different Flight Global articles posted in February alone argue that the scene is set ripe for a wave of aerospace mergers and acquisitions.

Apparently there was only (only!) US$9 billion in M&A activity in 2012.

The reason? The big players have been chomping at the bit to merge for a while. They’e been stymied so far by the politicians. However, those same politicians, mainly in the US, now desperately need to cut back their defence spending. Hence the shackles will probably be removed.

What does this mean for the lowly aerospace knowledge worker with aspirations to satisfy and bills to pay?

Continue reading Mergers on the starboard bow, Jim!

Stay on the leading edge of the drag curve

“Oh, the times, they are a-changing’ . . . . . . ”

It’s a necessary, if unfortunate, feature of the aerospace industry, that it is highly regulated. Of course. The flying public has this irrational desire to want to arrive at their destination in one piece. With their baggage. Therefore, the process of designing, making, and operating aircraft must be regulated tightly.

Which means, those working in it live in a very conservative little bubble. You tend not to have much clue of what life is like in other bubbles.

And you tend to attract people who are conservative and blinkered in outlook.

I’m still meeting people in aerospace who say, “Yeah, I’ve heard about this LinkedIn thing. What is it?”

In a fast-changing world, that approach to life is fine, as long as your nice little bubble stays intact.

Don’t count on it.

Continue reading Stay on the leading edge of the drag curve

And now for something completely different . . . .

On the odd chance that you’re wondering why someone would want to create a site like this, I thought I would tell you a bit of my own story.

I am a British engineer, living and working near Bristol, England.

However, if you bump into me in the street and have the misfortune to strike up a conversation, you’ll quickly detect something amiss in my accent. That’s because I’m also Canadian, and have spent most of my life in the Canadian provinces of Québec and Ontario. I actually grew up speaking both English and French, depending on who I was playing with. I was very proud of being able to speak two languages, and it’s a source of shame to me that my French has deteriorated over the years. Although that’s probably unavoidable, given that I have generally found myself surrounded by uniligual anglophones.

One of my earliest memories was of a visit from my grandparents. They would drive down from just outside Montréal to my home in Québec City. To give my parents some time off, they would take us kids to the local airport. It wasn’t a busy place at all, but Air Canada did fly some Vickers Viscounts and Vanguards through there. I would be absolutely transfixed by these amazing machines. The noise made by the props seemed musical.And all the movements on the ground, passengers getting on and off, taxiing to and from the runway, the take-off . . . . . wow.

Continue reading And now for something completely different . . . .