Friday, November 11, 2011

Dear Lazy Drafter #5 - Dreaming of Designing

I often get asked for CAD advice and I might have an idea about what to do. Then again, I often have stupid ideas too. Oh well, if you are seeking CAD advice, and don't care who you get it from, drop me a line at I'll do my best not to make you feel worse.

Dear Lazy Drafter,

I am in a rut in my career. I like my job at (Company name withheld) , but I want to progress into design, not just picking up redlines. I have been working hard here for 5 years. I work overtime without question when they need it, I help solve problems. I'm on the team when they need drafting done quick and accurate, and I'm well respected. But I feel like I have topped out. I get raises, but I don't get to design. Do you have any suggestions on how to break through the drafting glass ceiling.

Dreaming of Designing


Dear Dreaming of Designing,

It sounds like you are a valuable part of the team that has gotten type-cast as the drafting savior. You are recognized for your drafting skills, but your dreams of designing are going unnoticed. Here are a few things to give a go.

  • Just because you know something, doesn't mean it is common knowledge. Tell your supervisor in no uncertain terms of your aspirations and ask for his/her help.
  • Find a mentor. Having somebody that can not only teach you design skills but open doors for your will expedite your growth.
  • I keep saying this, but one more time... change yourself. You can't do the same old things and expect different results. You need to up your game by being more professional in dress and actions. Mix it up, and put yourself in the circles of people you want to work with. The relationships you make will propel you.
  • Invest in yourself. That may mean going back to school or getting training outside of work. Doing this increases your value to the company and yourself and shows a level of commitment that not everyone else has.
  • Do something. Demonstrate your skills by taking a crappy job nobody wants or fixing and internal problem, but do it with out being asked. Just tell them you see a problem and say you can fix it.
  • Say some good things. This might be hard for some, but find something good about everyone you know at work and tell them. This will greatly enhance the companies perception of you and will jump start your relationship building skills.
Long story short, there are times when you have to meet your company halfway, but if you really want success, go 90% of the way and make it easy for your company to pick up the other 10%.
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