Experiment with something new
Tim, service manager for a sawmill equipment manufacturer, told Session 3 of Turbo’s Leadership Development Lab (LDL):
“It was 1993 and I had been in the electronics department for ten years. I was very comfortable in my position. I was in charge of assembling and testing an 8-axis in-house motion controller. My job consisted of building circuit boards, electrical panels, control consoles, ordering parts, and troubleshooting our systems over the phone.
“The electrical engineering manager came to me one day and asked, ‘How would you like to move into electrical engineering?’ I told him that I really wasn’t sure. I was scared to death because I might fail in the engineering department. I hadn’t touched a computer console since high school and engineering was now using computers for all of our drafting and programming.
“A few weeks later, the electrical engineering manager came back and asked me about moving to electrical engineering. Again I said, ‘I’m just not sure.’ Not willing to take no for an answer, he said, ‘Let’s go talk with my boss. He may be able to reassure you that it will be okay.’ We had a short meeting and he reassured me that if the engineering job didn’t work out, I would still have a job.
“I made the move to engineering and started taking night classes in AutoCAD drafting. I was soon drawing electrical schematics with the computer and later doing some PLC programming. It seemed to come very naturally to me. It wasn’t long before I was given new software to try, including AutoCAD for Windows. I became the guinea pig for all of the new software. I loved it! Pretty soon I was talking others into using our new software.
“I later found out that the in-house motion controller unit that used to be my bread-and-butter was being phased out. My old department was being replaced by an off-the-shelf controller manufactured with a big brand name. The work that I had done in the electronic department was basically going away. It was a good thing
that I had moved into engineering. Not only did I end up with a stable position, I also learned more about computers and software than I ever could have imagined.
“The same year I started in the engineering department, our company sent me to Spain to start up one of our newly installed machines that was controlled by a PLC. It was very exciting! These adventures have continued to the present day.
“The lesson I learned from this experience is that by taking the risk of changing departments, I enjoy an expanded, adventuresome life, and along the way a new career path that has included a pay raise that I would never have known in my old position. The action I call you to take is to always accept expanded career opportunities when they come your way. Look for ways to be the guinea pig. The benefit you will gain is a joy filled, adventuresome life that you may not even be able to imagine today.”
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