Did you remember your last year in high school when everybody kept asking you what course will you be taking in college? Did you feel the pressure of choosing the course that would help you define your professional career when you become an adult?
I’m guessing that you’re already an engineer (or at least a fresh graduate with an engineering degree), so looking back, people have given you an idea what there future holds for you in engineering.
For most people, the idea of becoming an engineer sounds like a grand ambition that other people won’t be able to achieve at all. It’s difficult to survive engineering so if you ever make it through, people would be in awe of how smart you are. Others, just like our parents, promised us that not only will it bring pride to ourselves and to our families, it will also bring in the money to you. It’s a ticket out of poverty – or at least it’s considered a profession that would help us achieve financial freedom.
While a profession in engineering is bright and promising, it’s not always true when they say that the starting salary of an engineer is something people would envy. It may not be what you want to hear but just like in other professions, engineers who are about to practice the field have to start small. You won’t earn much on your first (or even the second) engineering job you get.
So if you happen to be an engineering student who’s in it for the money, you’re studying the course for the wrong reason.
For fresh graduates, getting their first job means starting from the bottom, which involves getting paid less than what they expect. The money one earns will just be enough to pay the bills, food and transportation. It may not even be enough to set aside money for the rainy days. For those who are supporting their families, the salary they earn may not even be enough. Some of you may ask, “Why not look for a better paying job?”
While there are jobs that pay more, you may not be qualified for them. For engineers who are just starting out in their careers, the only way to earn more is through getting more experiences and becoming good at what one does. This means not getting paid “enough” but working twice as hard as your boss expects you to do. Stop complaining about the money you’re getting and focus on learning more about the industry you are part of. Find ways to expand your network and work on your leadership and management skills as well. For engineers who truly love what they do, they don’t really seek out for the money first.
If you’ve noticed, the successful engineers are the ones who excel in their jobs. They’re the ones who worked harder than their peers, made more effort to improve themselves and dedicated more of their time and effort to what they do.
So for an engineer who’s about to start working, don’t look for a job that pays you more. With a competitive society, it will be hard for you to find that and you may not even be competent enough for the tasks at hand. So, focus instead on what will make you better as an engineer and the money will eventually follow.