Motivation comes in different forms for different professionals. May it be one’s pay or feeling that they are well-taken care of by their respective companies, one always has to keep their energy levels in check if they still feel empowered with what they do. What’s good about motivation is that it doesn’t just come from one source. Sometimes a person only has to look around to get their second wind, then work towards progress again.
Motivation for engineers may be an entirely different topic compared to other professionals or industries. The community they interact with and the work they create sets them apart from others. However, just like with any professional, they also experience burnout and a lack of sense of direction. Let’s explore how to approach motivation for engineers in a holistic and achievable way.
It’s all about autonomy, mastery, and purpose.
If you are an engineer struggling to continue producing quality work, chances are your motivation is dwindling. Sometimes it helps if you try to go back to that particular moment you said yes to engineering, but circumstances back then may have been different now.
This lack of perseverance to do better at your work, if not attended to, will snowball into problems such as low-quality output or questionable lapses in the office, e.g. tardiness and increased absence. Even worse, engineers who don’t see value in what they do may end up leaving the company or industry altogether.
If you don’t know where to start addressing your seeming disinterest in your engineering tasks, consider looking into three things: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. By taking time to evaluate those three aspects, extrinsic and intrinsic motivators may start to emerge.
Autonomy is simply desiring to be self-directed to know what to do most, if not all the time. Being autonomous at work is a key contributor to being motivated. Having ownership of what you can do and understanding that you did not need anyone else’s assistance is particularly empowering. To achieve autonomy, try the following:
- Learn to ask for help and when. It may sound counterproductive that this is the first suggestion, but no. Asking for help with your engineering tasks will slowly build up your familiarity with contingency options you may not know are available. Eventually, you will know your work like the back of your hand, and the newbies might be running to you in turn.
Also, temper when you think you should be asking for help or if you can figure something out on your own. There is a great sense of accomplishment if you can untangle a dilemma using your wit and talent. It also contributes to a feeling of autonomy.
- Build an image of reliability. Workers who still need to bear being monitored are newbies or employees who seem not to be hitting productivity goals. It also affects your confidence at work if your supervisor must breathe down your neck most of the time.
Autonomy is achieved if your superiors are confident that you can do the work with less supervision. So do your best to meet deadlines and stay on your promised outputs, from when you’ll deliver to the quality of your work. That way, management has nothing left to say about you and only comments on your independence and professionalism.
- See if you can work from anywhere. The work-from-home setup has become famous nowadays, and you can take advantage of this hype that seemingly won’t go anytime soon. Propose a remote working arrangement with your company (if nothing exists yet) and plot your outputs and goals for each week. Do your best to meet these outputs and goals to show that working from home works for you.
Engineers who can do a lot without much interaction with their peers will surely develop a sense of self-reliance. Aside from the freedom from the prying eyes of management, you can also avoid distractions the work environment may have. Yes, your home will have distractions too, but being in a more familiar space does better for your concentration and eventual autonomy.
Mastery, on the other hand, does well in keeping you fueled to go about your work because you discover your profession even further. Especially when fellow engineers tap on your shoulder to give input about what they’re working on, you are seen as a valuable resource person to the team. This will heighten your motivation for engineering tasks as you gain more knowledge about your craft.
- Welcome mentorship. Are there senior employees in your company who still want to be taught about how to do things using new tools or processes? These professionals are highly motivated because they look forward to learning. That is why if there are opportunities to be mentored, even if just to update your know-how, grab the opportunity. The adages “it’s never too old to learn something new” and “you learn something new every day” are particularly true in the workplace.
- Have many options for new knowledge about your industry. Further studies do not necessarily mean going back to school. While webinars and online courses will also do the trick, sometimes free workshops or subscriptions to engineering newsletters are enough. While not everyone will have the luxury of time to become a student again, the many springs of information around you, the internet to start with, are enough to quench your thirst for knowledge.
- Be open to feedback. Not everyone is a fan of feedback. Others may find it hurtful, while others see feedback as a necessary tool to grow. Be the latter. While sometimes feedback is hard to swallow, it does help you unlearn aspects of your work that you may have been doing incorrectly. Such small errors can lead you to full mastery of your responsibilities as an engineer, so welcome feedback with open arms.
Purpose is knowing that what you do contributes well to people’s welfare. May it be for software engineers or engineers working on public infrastructure, it’s not enough to know where one’s work goes. Understanding your purpose in the great scheme of things will heighten your motivation not only to continue your efforts but also to do better.
- Put your engineering work as a priority. It’s so easy to lose track of the big picture with all your daily tasks. One way to avoid this is by prioritizing engineering-related tasks and putting your grunt work at the bottom of your to-do list. If possible, request clerical or administrative work to be taken from your hands and have office assistants or interns do these tasks instead. Doing tasks unrelated to your job title puts a damper on motivation.
- Surround yourself with people who are motivated, too. It won’t bode well for you if you hang out with employees who are already a foot out of the door with the company. On the flip side, there are actual co-workers of yours who see value in their work. Even if their job titles may be different from yours, their positive energy will soon rub off on you. You’ll soon see things from their perspective on why your work as an engineer does have a purpose.
- Welcome partnerships across your organization. But beyond just letting people talk you into positivity, allow them to work with you as well. If there are chances that an engineer like you can work with other employees of the company, join these causes. You’ll see how your skills and capabilities as an engineer meld well with others’ points of view, and this discovery will emphasize your purpose in why the company hired you. Hopefully, it will also translate to motivation for engineers like you.
LET ACS PROFESSIONAL STAFFING HELP YOU IN LANDING A JOB THAT MOTIVATES YOU.
Motivation to do well in your industry can start with being in the right organization. Through ACS Professional Staffing, you will be treated by specialized recruiters who will be keen on which job openings you will best flourish in. Once you get hired, don’t expect us to say goodbye yet. We at ACS are proud of the long-term relationships we have built with job seekers like you. Rest assured that we are with you for the long haul, wherever your career may take you.
Let ACS Professional Staffing give you a helping hand. Contact us now.