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Engineering Senior in Mechanical Engineering. Second guessing on my future success in the field.

  1. Oct 27, 2012 #1
    Hey, so I'm currently a year away from graduating with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. I chose this major because I love physics and mathematics and applying them. Right know I'm really enjoying fluid mechanics, linear algebra, etc.

    I have a professor this semester who is a professional engineer and has worked extensively in the field. He mentioned a little about how the field is and how the engineer plays many roles and doesn't simply work in one field. An engineer has to be a financial analyst, a designer, a programmer, a salesman, and other things. When a client comes with a problem, you have to come up with a solution and sell that solution to the client. I'm not good at selling though, I'm painfully shy. I'm afraid my lack of being a good salesman and lack of being good in groups would keep me from being a good engineer. I always feel claustrophobic in large groups. I currently work in retail and talk to many people, but it's a bit different because everyone asks the same thing and I sell the same thing every day (horrid job). I also tutor part time physics and math, but I tutor through an online company so I don't have to meet face to face with students. I am joining a honor society for mechanical engineering, but I feel so claustrophobic in the classroom with all the members while in tutoring sessions. I think maybe I have ADHD. When I get nervous and trying to have a conversation with someone I lose my train of thought half way through when trying to explain something. When working on something that requires extreme concentration, after several hours of work I can unfocus. For example, after working on projects or homework for several hours before my retail work, when I go to work I have a very hard time trying to get out of homework mode. It's hard to make words come out properly and have to put much effort into talking.

    Do you think that might be a problem for engineering success? Do you think maybe a research field would better suit me? Maybe I'm just a bit intimidated by the fact, but maybe once I begin working in engineering I'll find a way to pace myself.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2012
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 29, 2012 #2
    Re: Senior in Mechanical Engineering. Second guessing on my future success in the fie

    You will probably do fine. Your professor is right, engineers in industry do have to play many roles, however, it is rare that one person needs to be best at everything. If you have a solid grasp of engineering fundamentals, you should be able to work with other people who are better at the other things. The size of the organization you work in will affect this greatly. Smaller businesses require more flexibility in this regard, larger ones less [in general].
     
  4. Nov 2, 2012 #3
    Re: Senior in Mechanical Engineering. Second guessing on my future success in the fie

    I hope so. I'll give it a shot.
     
  5. Nov 2, 2012 #4
    Re: Senior in Mechanical Engineering. Second guessing on my future success in the fie

    I wouldn't worry about that so much. The regular salespeople usually dread it when engineers have contact with clients. I once sat in on a troubleshooting call with a client who was doing an evaluation of our product... the salesperson in charge told all of the engineers present to not say anything, and raise our hands if we had a question or something to say, he'd mute the phone, get our input, and then pass it on to the client. :smile:

    That said, you *should* expect to work with a team of engineers, and if you have problems communicating with them, this could be a real problem. I would worry less about sales skills though.
     
  6. Nov 2, 2012 #5
    Re: Senior in Mechanical Engineering. Second guessing on my future success in the fie

    Two short stories:

    (1) Some people figure it out earlier, but I discovered (had it forced upon me) during my graduate school experience. I can LEARN how to do ANYTHING.

    (2) I was unceremoniously dumped onto the job market by Company X and Boss XX (hooiiiiccccchhhh ptui). I decided to start freelancing ("every engineer wants to own his own consulting business"). My sister with her Ph.D. in Psychology gave me an aptitude test. I tested miserably in the "sales" area, the most critical skill for a freelancer: I had a distinct fear of rejection. God bless her, she counseled me: "it doesn't mean you can't do it, it just means you have to work HARDER at it." It's a long story, but the short version is with (1) above I became a fearless cold-caller, kept calling until I got to the CEO, he referred me to the Engineering Manager, who listened to my pitch and invited me over immediately. My tenacity resulted in my biggest contract to date.

    You can do what you believe you can do, and with the appropriate amount of effort applied to it. Personalities can change.
     
  7. Feb 6, 2013 #6
    Re: Senior in Mechanical Engineering. Second guessing on my future success in the fie

    Thanks a ton for your experience tyger. I really appreciate it. I thought this thread ended after my last post I didn't notice there were more responses.

    I'm definitely more motivated now. :]
     
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