college and beyond /

How My Professional Engineering License Saved My Career (After a Few Years as a Stay-at-home Mom)

Professional Engineer. It has a ring to it, doesn’t it? That “PE” after my name would look great. And sure, it would look good on my resume and it would surely impress people, but why go after a license that in all likelihood I’d probably never use?

About five years after graduating with my bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, I decided to try for my professional engineering license. The chemical company I worked for didn’t require it, most commercial companies don’t, but it was something that seemed to be the right thing to do. A couple of co-workers and I headed to a local community college for a six-week review course held a couple of nights a week in the spring. The professional engineering test is given twice a year. I made plans to test in the fall.

Forget Resolutions– How to Formulate a New Year’s *Vision* for the Future

What’s your vision for 2013?

No, that’s not a typo– I didn’t mean 2012. I mean 2013. Where or what will be true of your life in less than 12 months from now when the flip of the calendar goes from 2012 to 2013?

Barely into the New Year, 2012 resolutions are new and hopefully not yet broken. At the beginning of the year, we look ahead, make plans, but primarily our focus is on the footsteps in front of us.

Instead, I envision 2013. Clear in my head, it’s a picture of the end result of a work in process.

My Life Mentors and the Lessons They’ve Taught Me

I think we’ve all learned the importance of mentors to help guide us through our schooling or career. But, this is about a different type of mentor – the life mentor.

My Mentors - Photo Credit: Mr. Sarah

My life mentors originally came to me as part of a faith-based group. However, over 15 years of regular meeting, we’ve bonded into something much deeper. The women in the group have become my life coaches. They are the ones who hold me accountable for the things I need to take care of in my in my internal life. They make sure I follow through with family and other important relationships, and help me see parts of my character that might use a little refining. And, I do the same for them. We represent a wide range of ages, family/marital status and professional backgrounds, so the perspectives are widely varied, adding to the richness of our relationship.

Confessions of a Workaholic: Turning Work Experience Into Expertise

I’ve never only held one single job. Ever since college, I’ve always balanced freelance and side work while being fully employed in either a full-time job or school.

I have Craigslist to thank– I am a Craigslist addict. To me, Craigslist is not just a site, but a gateway to a world of opportunities, and I’ve probably applied to and been hired to over 30 jobs and gigs on Craigslist. Even though I did go to college, I would say that I learned more lessons and real life skills from Craigslist than I did at UC Berkeley.

A Mentor Who Believes In You Can Mean Everything

My memories of my primary years in school can be summed up as stressful.  I have a  Fall birthday, so every year I was one of the youngest in my class.  I had a couple other challenges.  My mother suffered from a bi-polar disorder and my brother, who is ten years older, had a drug/alcohol addiction which escalated as he moved from middle school to his early twenties.  My father was the pillar of the family, but it was a lot of chaos to manage.

Build Discipline: How to Get Back On the Horse Once You’ve Fallen Off

I have to go to spin tomorrow morning, which begins at 6:15am. I have to be there by 5:50am, or else the class fills up. I know it’s good for me, and in the past, I’ve always felt great after I’ve done it. But right now, I really do not want to go.

Discipline is a difficult thing to truly master. Some people are naturally disciplined, which to me means that they can more easily make themselves do things they don’t want to do. I think I’m pretty good at being disciplined, but then I face tasks like spin class tomorrow morning, or my resolve to write regularly. It’s easy to be disciplined for a while, it’s hard to be disciplined all the time.

To Change the Education System, We Need to Strengthen Our Belief in Our Teachers

Select women in the U. S. now “suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous Fortune” (Hamlet). Daily, in boardrooms and dining halls, living rooms and the halls of government, certain women are under siege, belittled, and scorned. Their meager wages and hopes for a retirement erode as Wall Street plays with pension money, and legislatures, dominated by men, gut the hard-fought right to bargain for good wages and benefits.

Keep It Moving: There Are No Setbacks, Just Milestones

23 years old. College graduate. Barista at a coffee shop.

Do these three things go together? In my case, at the moment, they do. A younger version of me would have never imagined I would graduate college at 22 years old and have no prospects for employment. I also never thought I would take a year to decide what I really wanted to do with my career life, and even now I sometimes debate with myself about what that life looks like.

How to Get Through the Post-College Panic

Graduating from University can be daunting if you don’t have grad school or job prospects lined up beforehand. And you’d be surprised how many don’t, especially in these sour economic times when companies are freezing hiring and banks are ever-so-cautious with their loans.

It’s easy to think that the decisions you make during this time are setting you up for the rest of your life, which can make your next steps extremely intimidating. I call this phase of unease and uncertainty the Post-College Panic. If you’re a recent graduate, most likely you or someone you know well has (or maybe still is) experiencing it.

6 Tips on How to Start Writing, Write Better, and Write More Often

Writing is not easy. In fact, I would argue that it’s sometimes the hardest thing in the world to do, and this is exactly which is why it’s my personal belief that everyone needs to do it. A lot.

Writing is difficult because it can be intimidating. The term “good writer” is elusive even to those who have been writing all their lives because writing is not an accomplishment or a pretty snapshot– it’s a constant flow of words that begins when you first learn to spell and ends when you die.


Jessica Chan
Jessica Chan
enableher. Editor
Connye Griffin
Connye Griffin
Teacher, Writer, and Editor
Chelsea Martin
Chelsea Martin
Fondness for Words
Tamara Leigh
Tamara Leigh
World Traveler
Sarah Clatterbuck
Sarah Clatterbuck
Cycling-crazed Techie
Conni Eckstein
Conni Eckstein
Senior Engineer
Sheryl Cardiff, M.A., NASM, FCMT
Sheryl Cardiff, M.A., NASM, FCMT
Mental Skills Trainer, Mental Training Inc.