7 Myths That May Be Holding Back Your Civil Engineering Career

7 Myths That May Be Holding Back Your Civil Engineering Career

I’m of the philosophy that you can’t time the stock market. If you sit on the sideline waiting for the perfect time to get in, you will undoubtedly lose that fight, and opportunity after opportunity will pass you by.

This same reasoning, I believe, applies to your career as well. There is never a perfect time to make a move. Below are seven myths/misconceptions (and my rebuttals) that I hear all the time in my daily recruiting efforts when a candidate concludes it is not the right time to make a move, before really even thinking things through:

  • You are waiting for uncertainty of Covid to pass
    • If you have not noticed, the civil engineering market is thriving; in the grand scheme of things, Covid has made a minimal impact on civil engineering projects and backlogs for most firms.
  • You are waiting for a specific project to wrap up
    • Unless you are working on some sort of signature infrastructure project, this reasoning does not have much of a leg to stand on. If you are ANY good at what you do, you will ALWAYS be in the middle of a project somewhere, right? And if this logic holds true, it is safe to say you will work for the same firm for your entire career.
  • You are waiting for your end of year bonus
    • It is right around this time of year that this message starts surfacing when I talk to candidates. There is a quick solution for this: SIGNING BONUS . Don’t let an AMAZING opportunity pass you by when your EOY bonus could potentially be offset by a $igning bonu$!
  • You are waiting for your boss to retire
    • Your boss has been dropping hints of retirement at which point you will be elevated to his or her role. The problem is, he or she has been dropping hints for the past five years. You catch my drift?
  • You are waiting to get your PE license
    • Sometimes this makes sense, but if you are nervous about leaving your current employer because you are worried that your boss, who is a PE, will not provide the viable reference that you will need as a part of your application process, you could very well see a great career opportunity sail on by. Why? One word…Ethics.
  • You can’t imagine working for a better company with better people and better projects and better culture and better pay EVER!
    • This myth especially makes me LOL when I am talking to someone and they tell me this…and their employer is the ONLY employer they have ever worked for. No, the grass is not always greener on the other side, but some folks are led to believe all of this bulleted statement to be true, but if they were to dip their toe into the water from time-to-time they may be pleasantly surprised with what they find out. Just because a company chooses not to participate in a “Best Place to Work” contest does not mean they are not a great place to work! A few years ago we successfully recruited a Vice President from a firm who regularly ranks on pretty much all possible “Best” lists known to man. He had spent his entire 13 year career at that point with this one firm. He had been coached that there was not a better firm out there and that no one could even come close to matching his total compensation plan. Well, wouldn’t you know it, he came to learn that there were indeed firms in the marketplace that were equally as good, with equally as good compensation, AND, that did not require him to carry a 90% utilization rate at the VP level…go figure. He is now working less hours which allows more time for family and outside interests, making better pay with a MUCH more realistic utilization rate, and after two years he became a shareholder. Go figure.
  • You are scared of being low man on the totem pole
    • I am a believer that this last in/first out mentality is a farce. If you bring the heat while others are coasting on warm, who would YOU choose to get rid of first if YOU were running a business? I wrote a blog entry on this very topic, check it out: The Myth of the “Low-Man-on-the-Totem-Pole.

Don’t let these myths cloud your judgment and hold you back from at the very least educating yourself on different opportunities as they surface.

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