The Simplest, and Best, Career Advice I’ve Got


How often are you asked for advice by those in your profession who are just starting out?  I get that a fair amount, more so from women because I am in the traditionally male-dominated field of engineering.  When asked (and, even when I’m not on those occasions when I think it might be useful!) I offer the following three-step advice:

  1. Know what you want.
  2. Earn it.

And…. Wait for this…

  1. Ask for it.

In my experience, it’s that third step that just doesn’t happen.  Most people, women more often than men I’m afraid, think that if they work hard and earn their achievements, advancement will naturally follow.  Wrong! But it’s not necessarily because you don’t deserve it.  Nine times out of ten, whoever is in the position to make this decision simply hasn’t thought about it.  Yet, by asking and making a respectful, well thought-out case for yourself, you might give them just what they need to move forward.

Just remember: You have to EARN it first.  Once you’ve earned it, go for it!

Oh, and what happens if you are told, “No?” In my experience, even if your proposal gets a “No,” it was usually given respectful consideration and, as a result, some other opportunity will arise, because good employers really don’t want to tell good employees, “No.”  The new opportunity might not be what you had envisioned, but take the opportunity, perform well as you always do, wait for the next opportunity, and ask.

Don’t believe me?  Here’s one top leader’s account.

About Laura Reinbold, PE

Ms. Reinbold explores ways can help build our communities, from the geoprofessional side of the engineering profession.

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