WorkWise Q&A: Will engineering degree come with a promotion?

culp@workwise.netMarch 3, 2013 


Q: Dear Dr. Culp, I work in an engineering department in a good firm. It’s small, but people here are decent. I’ve been going to school for my engineering degree so I can get out of support and into engineering. This spring I’ll have my degree.

My boss knows I’m in school, but he’s never said anything about promoting me. I see people in other departments get promoted. What can I do to find out what my chances are?


A: Dear Launching, Do people in the department ever discuss hiring or not hiring? Do they laugh when a person brings up the subject of raises? Do the engineers seem to be getting all of the projects done? As you might imagine, these aren’t positive signs.

At your next performance review or, if it’s passed, the next time you catch your boss at a good moment, tell him how much you’ve been enjoying your work and your classes. Ask if he foresees projects coming in that you could tackle after you have your degree.

If he doesn’t, this is your moment to start job hunting. Move to an environment where you’ll be seen as an engineer.



Q: Dear Dr. Culp, I’ve never been good at job hunting. I can’t procrastinate any more.

I’ve been taking care of my elderly father, raising two children while trying to stay married and working full time. I won’t have problems finding references, but I do need help in finding people to support me. My husband is in favor of my job hunting. He also works full time and is very helpful at home. Asking him to listen to the gory details of my search could tip the balance. He’s as stretched as I am. How can I draw good people around me?


A: Dear Stretched, Your time is so limited that you might look for a job-hunting partner. This person wouldn’t have to be looking for a job in your field, although that would be helpful in trading contacts and industry experience.

Do you know anyone who’s job hunting? If not, call your library to see if it’s bringing in speakers. You might recruit several people there and see how they work out. If you’re a member of a church, synagogue or mosque or want to become one, you might find a group there.


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