Engineering a Life of Purpose: My Career Journey

Post by 
J.R. Stanley
Published 
March 27, 2024
When it comes to the work world, aligning your personal axioms with your job or career can produce a significant amount of harmony for yourself and those around you.

“How is the job search going?” As I sat in the living room of my college apartment pondering for what seemed like the thousandth inquiry into my search for employment, I began to lose hope that I would find a full-time job that aligned with my degree and interests right out of school. To boot, I wasn’t even sure what I was passionate about and how that could intersect with mechanical engineering – my major while in school at Clemson University.

That begs the question: how did I end up in my current role at Isomer? And how does one grow a career that is replete with both purpose and passion?

Looking back, it almost seems too good to be true that I managed to find a place like Isomer that fosters the learning and growth of newly minted engineers in a space like the Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) industry. I am blessed to be able to contribute to the continued development of this team. However, it took around a year between graduation and offer acceptance to even figure out what I wanted out of a job. Even though I might have taken what most would consider the long way around to a full-time occupation, I hope that what follows helps any readers examine or fast-track this process as needed.

Over the course of my employment hunt, I experienced recurring patterns of thought that helped carve out the direction I wanted to move for my first job and beyond. Taking time to mull over certain areas of your life, whether overt or subtle, is a helpful tool in gaining clarity and clairvoyance. Avenues of thinking that were instructive to me (and may be to others) are to:

Examine your motives and principles.
  • Before I entered the workforce, I spent a year in ministry to others and reflected on the ideals that guided my life and decision-making up to that point. I was able to re-align and re-focus on what truly mattered. Socrates is credited with expressing that “an unexamined life is not worth living.” What are your ambitions or lack thereof? Are you motivated by salary or career advancement? Subject matter? Making a positive impact? If you find some answers here, it will orient you down a well-grounded track whether you are fresh out of school or are a 20-year veteran in your field.
Reflect on what captivates or fascinates you.
  • What personally elicits a sense of wonder? I enjoy learning how things work. From the mundane to the complex, I like to understand how objects or systems tick. I have been able to take part in that across a spectrum of industries and technologies – both traditional and developing – in the project execution process at Isomer. Find what excites and intrigues you – it will keep you engaged in whatever profession you decide to choose.
Set goals for yourself and implement good habits.
  • As humans, we are limited in our capacity for perfection. We will never achieve it despite our best efforts. The best we can do is embark on a continuous learning process throughout our lives to gain wisdom and experience. That is what setting goals creates for us – an impetus to continue to grow. Whether in an interview or on the job, emphasize your strengths and be willing to admit and improve on your weaknesses. Be teachable. Go the extra mile to learn. Glean information on the culture of the company. Reflect on interactions with leadership in the interview process. Understand what you would like to gain from working at a particular company and find out what resources the company has to supplement your growth. Examine the role you would like to achieve and the impact you want to make. All of these habits will be crucial to whittling down the type of company you would like to work for.
Lean on people close to you for inspiration and clarity.
  • I am lucky to have friends and family I can rely on for pieces of wisdom and outside perspectives. If you have peers, mentors, or other figures in your life whose opinions you value, take advantage of your resources and find some inspiration outside of yourself. In fact, it was one of my close friends that recommended that I look into Isomer. You never know what kind of advice can shift your attitude or thoughts.
Be thankful.
  • The most foundational pillar of my life is my relationship with Jesus Christ. Through reading the Bible and my past experiences, I’ve learned to appreciate all the good and the bad that occurs in my life, regardless of circumstance. One of my favorite passages of Scripture, James 1:2-4, states, “Consider it pure joy… whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” In this life, testing and stretching yourself produces fortitude, maturity, and wisdom. I hope I am not going out on a limb too much when I say that these are universally highly regarded traits. I personally yearn to achieve these in whatever I pursue. So, appreciate the highs, but be thankful for the lows. Additionally, look to be thankful for the people around you and celebrate what you’ve been given. Gratitude obliterates any sense of entitlement and has a profound impact on those you interact with – even if it is unseen.

Purpose can mean many things to many people. Its definition and form can change throughout one’s own life. When it comes to the work world, aligning your personal axioms with your job or career can produce a significant amount of harmony for yourself and those around you. Whether you are actively seeking a new opportunity or are comfortable in your current role, reflect on what intrigues and satisfies you and be thankful. Planting and nourishing the seeds for a career track that will be a defining feature for the better part of your life may be the most prudent action one can take.

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