New Decade – New Engineer – New YOU!

Nancy Anderson
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In our last post I welcomed you to the 2011 Free Agent Movement! What I didn’t say was The Free Agency Movement is not limited to the year 2011. It’s probably best to think of it as a permanent future pathway. If you implement another income strategy that is more traditional for your own needs, great! That’s what it’s all about, developing income streams that suit your lifestyle.

For those of us that will continue with the Free Agency though, there are still a lot of questions. If you are an Engineer, I say that means you’re pretty smart. To pass those college classes, complete internships, pass the state boards and work professionally for years . . . yep, pretty smart. Now how do we start using that Free Agent brain power to begin steering our own course?

You might say, “Hey I’ve been doing (yada yada yada) for 25 years what else can I do now?” As engineers we are sort of like plant seeds. Most plant seeds need water, warmth, acceptable atmosphere, sunlight, and nourishment. Sometimes we don’t know until they sprout whether they will grow to be a rhododendron or a giant sequoia.

We were those seeds back when we were “planted” in engineering school. We all took the same classes for years until we needed to declare our major and “sprout” into our specialty area. Think back, we all know more about different ways of using our training than we admit!
Try looking at it this way:

  • I designed automotive interiors: OK, auto industry, not so good right now. However, boats, campers, RV’s, airplanes, helicopters, custom limousines, restoration part manufacturers, elevators, even space shuttles, all need interior components designed to manufacture. Anything sound interesting?

  • I designed compressors and refrigeration: Hmmm, well where do those things get used? Hospitals, morgues, big box stores, warehouses, office buildings, air handler manufacturers, airports, auto facilities. Expand the application of your expertise into an arena that uses what you already know how to design. Sell, manage, install, replace? It’s all connected.

  • I was in structural design for industrial facilities: OK. Does that mean that after designing the grid for auto plants you can’t design something smaller now? Every building, large piece of equipment, huge signs, 7-11 stores, rocket gantry and radio tower I’ve ever seen has needed a way to hold it up. Niche markets, maybe? But we are free agents right?

  • I worked as an industrial HVAC specialist: Cool! (pun intended) You know how to make an occupied space livable for humans and machines. Terrific! Applications can be healthcare buildings, research labs, schools, colleges, airports, and any other place where people need to breathe and feel comfortable. Think RETROFITTING! All public are encounter new requirements for infection control, Homeland Security, and energy performance. As cash flow ramps up, there should be no shortage of retrofit work!

Am I oversimplifying things to seem like a game? I don’t think so. The theme is to identify what you are very good at, what you enjoy doing, and where else that type of skill will be paid for, you know . . . as a Free Agent!

You can do this!

K.B. Elliott is a Detroit area contributing writer for Nexxt. Having worked seats on both sides of the engineering trades for over 30 years gives a unique perspective to the work search process and the varieties of successes to be had.

Starting your new decade in engineering Free Agency? Find the path to the next phase of your career at:


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