Is Civil Engineering The Field For You? (Guest Post)

Civil Engineering/Grad AustraliaFrom designing and constructing to supervising and maintaining buildings, there is plenty that a civil engineer can do.

Are you interested in becoming a civil engineer? Before venturing into any field it’s important for you to consider the pros and cons of it. Most people assume that if a job has a lot of scope and has a good salary package to go with it— that it’s a good choice. Not necessarily!

Several students frequently complain of how they have chosen subjects that do not really match their interests despite those subjects being very lucrative professionally. This means that in addition to the scope of whatever you are studying, it’s equally important for you to know whether or not you have the aptitude for it as well.

Civil Engineering: The Aptitude

Before thinking about starting your civil engineering studies (and eventually your civil engineering career) it will do you a lot of good to determine if you have what it takes to be a competent civil engineer.

If you have clear mathematical concepts, a sound base of science and technology, a creative streak, and a passion designing various structural buildings then civil engineering the right career choice for you!

General skills like problem-solving, strong communication skills, the ability to think and analyze things critically, conducting research and handling the data, interpreting, etc., are obviously a huge plus.

Civil Engineering Jobs

Once you obtain a degree in civil engineering, there are plenty of fields in which you could be of service. You could work as a building control surveyor, consulting civil engineer,  water engineer, nuclear engineer, site engineer, structural engineer, or contracting civil engineer.

Then there are certain jobs for you to explore which may not be directly related to the field of civil engineering, but in which your degree could be useful. For example several civil engineers are working as environmental consultants, suitability consultants, building services engineers, etc.

So as you can see, the scope of civil engineering careers is actually quite vast. However, to  land a good position, you need to be a little patient. As a fresh civil engineering graduate your first priority should be to gain as much as practical experience in civil engineering as you can.

So don’t worry if you don’t get that lucky break and immediately snag an amazing civil engineering job just after graduating. You can always start small and work your way up to bigger better civil engineering positions.

As a general rule of thumb, keep checking the websites of various construction firms and companies to see if they announce any job openings so that you may apply immediately. Sign up for various job employment websites online as well. Employers regularly update their job posts with the criteria and skills required for a particular job, deadlines til you can apply for that job, and the salary package being offered for that job.

–by Grad Australia (GAU)

Why and How You Should Compliment Your Boss (Part III): The Jerks

Complimenting Your Boss Pt. 3
photo by Kinga Ka

What If My Boss is a Jerk?

1) Don’t Withhold Praise
Lord knows if you’ve got a good boss, it’s a rare blessing—ask your friends! But what if yours doesn’t quite fall in that category or is a difficult person? Often this type of manager is a perfectionist, micromanager, or bully—or vague, volatile, or arrogant. This can be caused by insecurity, low self esteem, or limited skills, experience, or education.

However, just because they may be a jerk doesn’t mean you shouldn’t compliment them. Complimenting a difficult supervisor may feel unnatural, but it can help raise their self esteem and possibly improve their interactions with you and your coworkers. Studies have shown that when employees thanked their difficult bosses for their feedback—regardless of the specifics—that aggression decreased, signifying that their gratitude affirmed the social worth of the manager.

2) What to Do
Typically even difficult managers enjoy recognition and sincere compliments. You’ll just need to make an effort to figure out how yours best receives praise.

Bosses who are hypersensitive or paranoid should be handled with care to avoid their reading negatives into the positive feedback you’re giving them. And if yours is present in a situation where you’re claiming success on something you accomplished, be sure to acknowledge his part in it, if he was involved.

Nobody in the world is doing everything wrong, so look for and compliment what your difficult boss is doing right or handling well.

3) Other Advice
Another plus of shaping your difficult boss through compliments is hanging on to your job! Mary Lou Quinlan, former Advertising Director for Avon Products stressed that employees who help their boss feel less insecure will stay employed when the economy dips.

But at the end of the day, if you’ve been patient giving your trying boss a fair shake but aren’t getting anywhere and remain in a toxic environment, it’s best to just find a new job elsewhere—within the company or at a new organization. Life is too short to be miserable at work every day under a manager who won’t improve.

So step outside your comfort zone, and don’t be afraid to spread some love to your boss. When done properly, not only can it begin to improve your relationship and rub off on others, but you might just help the person you report to feel a little more noticed and appreciated. And who doesn’t want that?

Thanks to Clay Faircloth, Pam Meek, Paul Havlik, and Terry Warren for their insight. Other sources:

  • “Office Hours: Bowing to the boss: Everyone Likes To Be Praised, But It Can Go Too Far.” Guardian [London, England] 9 Dec. 2002. Business News: page 4 by Sally O’Reilly
  • “To brown-nose or not to brown-nose?” USA Today. (Nov. 18, 2009): Business News: p01B. © 2009 by Del Jones
  • “Ways To Compliment Your Boss.” Asianetindia.com, 3 Nov. 2015
  • “Your Difficult Boss May Be Insecure.” Khaleej Times [Dubai, United Arab Emirates] 24 Aug. 2013 © 2013 SyndiGate Media Inc. by oksana@academiaofhumanpotential.com

Looking for a new job? Want to get what you want fast? Check out my book, Here Today, Hired Tomorrow, and subscribe to my blog (kurtkirton.com) for free advice on your job search.

Why and How You Should Compliment Your Boss (Part II): The How To

Complimenting Your Boss Pt. 2 of 3
photo by boneskinny

How Do I Compliment?

1) Considerations
“Praising up” can be a challenge and will require some thought and effort. It’s best to focus your praise on your direct supervisor: Complimenting those at levels above can tend to cross a familiarity line, not be appreciated, or come off suspicious.

Also, of course, you’ll need to take into account the culture of your office, your relationship with your supervisor, your personality, and hers. I’ve had bosses who preferred as little interaction with employees as possible to personable ones who’ve helped shape me as a professional and gave me advice when asked, long after we worked together.

Complimenting and encouraging can be done face to face, via email or phone—and some companies have certificates of appreciation or company thank you notes that employees can use to convey praise or recognition to anyone in the company. This can facilitate the process and make the effort less awkward.

The group spin (“We think ____ and just wanted to say ____”) can be used if needed or when starting off. When delivering compliments, I prefer to let what feels right guide me as far as the what, when, and where of it all.

2) Sincerity
Whether you’re talking to your supervisor, wife, husband, etc., your compliment must be sincere. Hollow compliments can cause a manager to feel justified in not promoting a brown-noser and that that employee is immature.

On the other hand, building a reputation as an encourager can go a long way with being received as genuine when giving compliments, so look for opportunities to praise your coworkers as well.

Finally, don’t come off like you’re judging your manager’s performance or giving compliments you might have just as easily withheld. And don’t rehearse what you want to say or overthink it. Just be natural, authentic, and honest in your comments.

3) Specifics
Mentioning something specific will also facilitate acceptance of the compliment and promote behavior change better than a generic compliment. Look for ways your boss has helped you or things he’s worked hard on and successfully accomplished. You can also observe behaviors he’s modeled that you’d like to develop. If there’s not something exceptional often enough, think about praising solid consistent performance, “You manage ___ aspect of your job really well…”

How Often?

Encouragement shouldn’t be robotic. You don’t want to create a situation where your boss rolls her eyes and thinks, “It’s 9am on a Monday. Here comes Megan to drop another one on me.”

Saying something every once in a while, when you observe something worth complimenting, or when she exceeds expectations is appropriate frequency, since not everyone does something noteworthy every week. Be alert, and look for appropriate opportunities to praise. Think about how often your boss compliments you.

Another prime opportunity to encourage is when you sense your manager is having a rough day or is down—and it doesn’t have to be a compliment. Even something like, “Hey Caryn, I know you’re having a rough day. I’m sorry about ____, but it will all work out alright.”

Thanks to Clay Faircloth, Pam Meek, Paul Havlik, and Terry Warren for their insight. Other sources:

  • “Office Hours: Bowing to the boss: Everyone Likes To Be Praised, But It Can Go Too Far.” Guardian [London, England] 9 Dec. 2002. Business News: page 4 by Sally O’Reilly
  • “To brown-nose or not to brown-nose?” USA Today. (Nov. 18, 2009): Business News: p01B. © 2009 by Del Jones
  • “Ways To Compliment Your Boss.” Asianetindia.com, 3 Nov. 2015
  • “Your Difficult Boss May Be Insecure.” Khaleej Times [Dubai, United Arab Emirates] 24 Aug. 2013 © 2013 SyndiGate Media Inc. by oksana@academiaofhumanpotential.com

 

Looking for a new job? Want to get what you want fast? Check out my book, Here Today, Hired Tomorrow, and subscribe to my blog (kurtkirton.com) for free monthly advice on your job search.