#95 - Top Career Lessons from an Engineering Career Coach - Jeff Perry

 

 

“You are your greatest asset in your career and in your life. Invest in you personally in all areas of life in order to live your best life."

Jeff Perry is an engineering coach, the founder of More Than Engineering and the co-host of the Engineering Career Coach podcast. In this episode, Jeff shared the important role of a coach or mentor in our engineering career. We first discussed Jeff’s engineering career clarity checklist and why it is truly important to find the clarity in our career journey. Jeff then shared the role of an engineering career coach, how a coach can help us navigate our career, and the difference between a coach and a mentor. Throughout our discussion, we also touched on a few other topics, such as the Great Resignation, making intentional career transitions, transitioning to a leadership role, and the power of accountability.  

Listen out for:

  • Career Journey - [00:06:59]
  • More Than Engineering - [00:10:54]
  • Engineering Career Clarity Checklist - [00:12:58]
  • Finding the “Why” - [00:15:12]
  • Genius Zone - [00:17:38]
  • International Career Transition - [00:20:23]
  • Great Resignation - [00:22:45]
  • Engineering Career Coach - [00:25:32]
  • Power of Accountability - [00:28:45]
  • Transitioning to Leadership Role - [00:32:13]
  • Letting Go - [00:35:37]
  • Leadership Attributes - [00:39:32]
  • Engineering Career Coach Poadcast - [00:42:41]
  • 3 Tech Lead Wisdom - [00:44:30]

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Jeff Perry’s Bio
As a software, mechanical, and manufacturing engineering leaders, Jeff has designed and built many products and processes. Now he builds people. Most of his work now revolves around leadership and career coaching for engineering and technical professionals, including:

  • Finding increased career fulfillment and making intentional career transitions
  • Dealing with unemployment or underemployment
  • Getting clarity and exploring new career possibilities
  • Leadership and personal development for tech leaders

Follow Jeff:

Mentions & Links:

 

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Quotes

More Than Engineering

  • More Than Engineering is the name I put for what I do as a leadership and career coach, specifically for engineers and technology professionals. And the “More Than” piece is this idea of engineering might be this professional identity that you might have as an engineer technology professional, but I want to look at the whole person. Look at who are you? What are you trying to become beyond just building your technical skills, which is absolutely important? But what about in leadership, personal development? What do you want to do in your community? Or other ways you want to give and support, like who do you want to become?

Engineering Career Clarity Checklist

  • Engineers and technology professionals have a huge amount of versatility. I’ve talked to so many engineers who have done so many different things across different technology disciplines, across different roles they’ve played. They can stay. They can go deeper in tech. They can stay broad. They can work across products. They can work across projects, large programs, leading large teams, whatever that turns into.

  • But there are plenty of people who are like, I know something needs to change, but I don’t know what that actually is. How do I find the alignment in that? So that I’m actually really enjoying. Cause I know what I want is to wake up and feel excited about work, where right now I’m feeling like I’m being drained and not excited about that at all.

  • Two analogies I use are ways of thinking either clarity like a north star, the things that you really want to get to, that keep you aligned with where you’re going. Or another way to look at it as a set of filters of things like, what’s really important to you? As opportunities or things come your way, how do you run those through your filters and see if they meet criteria that are right for you?

  • It’s a checklist of activities and exercises you can use to do some introspective work and identify that north star, those set of filter that you need to use so that you can get the clarity with where you want to go.

Finding the “Why”

  • This comes from a tool that I used when I was in manufacturing, where a lot of times there was a problem on the manufacturing line or something, we needed to dive into the root cause of it. We used a tool that is pretty common called “The Five Whys” to dive into root cause analysis and saying, “Okay. You initially look at what the problem is that you think is the problem.” And then you keep asking, why is that? You keep going deeper and deeper.

  • We use the same tool of these five whys. What’s the goal you have? Something you want to get to. But then what we’re trying to do is unlock what’s the deeper level of intrinsic motivation. What’s really the driver for you? That’s pushing you to want to make this goal.

  • The question is like, what is it for you that really drives you to want to get up and do things in your career? And so identifying that deeper level “why” can be really powerful.

Genius Zone

  • The genius zone is where you do your best work, and also recognize that your genius zone can evolve, too.

  • One way to look at it as the combinations of things that you’re really good at. So you may be good at one particular type of software application or product development or leadership. You can look at those as separate things, but when you combine them, the combination of them create something that’s quite unique and different. Because you have certain insights into types of industries. And so it’s industry, it’s passion, it’s skills. When you combine them, do you have a unique value that you can bring where you can really deliver exceptional work, where you can do your best work?

  • Another way is to look at it like, okay, when do you feel like you kind of get in the zone, or in a state of flow? This combination of challenge and the skills that you bring to the table. You can kind of get into this flow state. It’s almost that time or those experiences or those things you work on, you hardly feel time passing because you’re excited about things.

  • What is it you’re doing that unlocks that for you? Can we find ways to do more of that? Cause that’s something that you’ve got some natural inclinations, but also some skills that you’ve developed that really allow you to do some amazing work when you’re in that space. So you can really deliver your best value. So we can identify that. Then maybe we can find a role or an opportunity that can align and give you more opportunities to do your best work in that way.

International Career Transition

  • You said the right word that’s really important to me, which is being intentional about this. Many people often initially are motivated by what they don’t like doing. And so they’re just trying to move away from where they’re at right now, cause they know what they’re doing right now isn’t great. But what we want to do is not just find a new opportunity or job or situation, but the right opportunity and situation for them.

  • It’s about being proactive, not reactive, like saying I want to identify what I want. What’s important to me? And then I want to go through a strategic process to go find it and make that a reality. So it’s about moving towards what you want to do and become, rather than moving away from something you don’t want.

  • That’s just a much more powerful way of going about any change that you’re trying to make in your life, thinking about a positively framed approach to how you move towards what’s important, what you want rather than moving away from something that you don’t.

Great Resignation

  • In the US, there was the highest quit rate that we’ve had in decades. That was significant. I think it was just a lot of people going through that process and kind of stepping back and trying to figure out “what do I really want?”

  • Some people got forced into looking for something else cause they got laid off. And others, especially in particular in the software space, found that because they were more primed for the remote work opportunities. There were a lot of opportunities in front of them.

  • Those who are driven by fear through the process are often the ones that kind of lost out on opportunities. It didn’t really make progress. But those who are driven by opportunity and what’s possible and look for, how can I make the most of the situation? Those are the ones who found the opportunities and were able to continue to grow and progress instead of taking a break and staying stagnant, or maybe losing ground during the last couple of years.

Engineering Career Coach

  • I’m just a huge proponent and believer that when we’re trying to make changes in our lives, we shouldn’t change alone, and try and do that alone. We need people in our life to support us and help us through that process.

  • What a mentor or a coach can do is really provide that outside perspective. Maybe see things in you and work the problems you’re going through and the opportunities that are in front of you that you might not be able to see because we all have blind spots, whether we like to believe it or not.

  • Mentors and coaches can also help expand your network and give you access to insights and people that you might not otherwise be able to connect to. And also, just a big opportunity to give you frameworks, activities, maybe a community to be involved in.

  • One of the most powerful things is the power of accountability you can have, that you are invested in yourself and have someone who is invested in you. Trying to help you move through this process because you have maybe regular meetings and situations and things you’re trying to report on. Then, you got this extra motivation.

  • When we think about the difference between a mentor and a coach:

    • A mentor is often someone who would volunteer to help you. Maybe it’s someone in your workplace or maybe someone in another community setting that you can connect with. But they just kind of help and we connect with them. It’s often informal.

    • A coach is often paid, someone that you would invest in. They’re also uniquely invested in your success because they win when you win. It’s how they’re set up. So it’s often a third-party person outside the perspective of where you’re at in your company. And so, they don’t have any other agenda to keep you in your company or get you out or whatever, other than you being successful and what’s most important to you.

    • Coaches also bring, often, a more intentional framework and are more proactive in your experience rather than a mentor is.

Power of Accountability

  • Association for Standards and Training Development (ASTD) did a study on the power of accountability from someone who’s got a goal that they want to accomplish. You just have the idea of a goal. It’s about a 10% chance that you’re going to do it. If you write it down, it increases to 25%. If you tell someone, it gets up to 50%. But if you get to the point where you have someone who you’re accountable to, that you have a specific date set up to be accountable and deliver to them on a specific day, it’s like 95% of the time you’re going to deliver on them. That shows some real power in the power of accountability.

  • You can find people in your life. I mean, these can be partners, spouses, friends, mentors, and personal community and your family. Again, this idea of not making changes alone brings a little bit accountability.

  • It feels a little vulnerable, but that can actually sometimes light a fire in you to take some action. But then taking that next level to invest in yourself, get some specific help and a coach or something that could be the next level because they’re going to be helping you in a different way.

  • You’d be surprised how many people are actually willing to help and support you through that process in many different ways. You can get some people who are willing to do little check-ins.

  • Sometimes, especially if you’ve got a full-time job and other responsibilities, when you’re trying to do something else, it’d be hard to put in that time and that effort because we’re tired and got a lot of other things on our plate. But when we have other people supporting us and holding us accountable or we feel accountable to, and then that can keep the fire going and keep us rolling there.

Transitioning to Leadership Role

  • This is a critical transition for a lot of people, if it’s the right thing for them, and if it’s the right time. So we need to recognize the shift that’s taking place here.

  • As an individual contributor, your best value and your expectations are completely surrounding around the technology progress that you deliver.

  • When you make that shift to leadership and management, that’s not where your focus is anymore. As in you delivering the technology. It’s you enabling your team to do that. And that’s a shift, and it’s really hard for many people to let go of the direct ownership of this is the code that I wrote and I own and I know it.

  • That impulse to, “I don’t know exactly so I’m going to go in and solve that problem for them.” That’s not enabling them both to make the best decision in the moment, but also to enable them to grow. And that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t bring in your technology insights. It just means that you need to step away.

  • And there are so many challenges to people letting go of this idea and really delegating. “Hey, if I don’t do this, it’s not going to be done.” Or fear of quality going down. Or if I don’t do this, it’ll take longer. Then I need to train people.

  • That’s really what the shift is about and really taking the personal approach to how can I enable them, but also help them grow to become the people and the professionals that they want to become. And how do I align their goals with the company’s needs and work across these various things? And so there’s a deeper level of understanding.

  • People really need to understand processes and understand higher-level areas of how different pieces of technologies fit together and eventually deliver to whatever the final product or services in that way. And so, it’s a big shift.

  • Usually as individual contributor, you’re being delivered your tasks and maybe you have influence there as you’re planning and things like that, what that looks like and moving through. But then suddenly, as a leader, you’re identifying those and managing across multiple people and working across functions.

  • Make sure you have at least some mentors to help you through that process, so you don’t have to squander too much. Cause there are a lot of lessons learned and there’s going to be a lot of frustrations. There’s imposter syndrome. There’s fear and uncertainty there. You want to make sure you have some help as you move through that.

Letting Go

  • You need to first identify what are the mindsets or beliefs that you’re hanging on to. It’s almost like an anchor that’s kind of weighing you down. We need to identify that first from the belief or mindset side of things, and then we can move through processes.

  • After we identify a change, we move through experiments and tests to identify the level of belief that is driving my behavior. Well, I need to identify and move through some experiments and collect data to challenge these beliefs.

  • If I can move through that process, then suddenly the power that belief and mindset have on me starts to diminish because the experiences I’m having are telling me that what I thought was true isn’t actually true. It diminishes that and suddenly we’re shifting the mindset that driving a new set of behaviors that we’re trying to have.

  • It’s really identifying that deeper level mindset and belief that is holding us back.

Leadership Attributes

  • One of the things that’s really important to me and something that I’ve been working on the last few years (is) the idea of seeing people as people.

  • They [Arbinger Institute] talked about a mindset idea called the outward mindset. It’s this idea of we can see people as people, whereas the opposite of that they called inward, self-focus where you see people as objects. Maybe to use them as vehicles, or maybe they’re obstacles in your way and so you just need to get them out of the way, or maybe they’re just irrelevant. You don’t care about them.

  • It’s this idea of really seeking to understand what people need. What’s important to other people? What they’re trying to accomplish their objectives? What their challenges are that they’re being faced with when you can truly understand people?

  • When you’re thinking about from a leadership perspective, both on your team also with the peers that you’re working with, and thinking maybe up in terms of what do your leaders really need from you? And really seeking to ask questions to understand how do you deliver the greatest impact to these people? And seeking to not just be held accountable to that, but seeking to be proactively accountable for you in actively checking in with them. And always seeking for that growth opportunity and feedback.

  • Sometimes we’re so afraid, as new leaders, and experienced leaders even, of what are people thinking about me? And we’re so afraid of our image.

  • From a fundamental principle standpoint, this idea of seeing people as people and seeking to understand what they need from you will allow you to be the best that you can. So stay humble and teachable and open to those ideas.

  • You don’t want to be driven by fear. You want to be driven by how can I continue to improve and grow and see those gaps that you might have in where you’re at now, as opportunities rather than knocks on you. We all have things that we can work on. Well, that’s an opportunity to grow and develop in a new way. So get excited about that.

3 Tech Lead Wisdom

  1. Be proactive, not reactive.

    • Be intentional and deliberate in your career. Identify what you want to do and go make that happen. Recognize that, “Hey, there’s going to be some twists and turns along the way.”

    • You can see every step as another prototype and an opportunity like data. It’s just another iteration.

    • Don’t get too discouraged if you’re not exactly where you want to be right now. But how can you take ownership and be proactive with where you want to continue to go and how you want to continue to grow?

  2. Tap into and become aware of your mindsets.

    • Not just the actions you want to take, but who you want to become. It really starts there.

    • The principle is that mindsets drive behavior. Our behavior drives our results. And so, if we just prescribe behaviors, we’re not going to make sustainable changes to get the results we want.

    • We need to change our mindset, which then drives our behaviors, which then drives our new results that we’re looking for.

  3. Get help and support.

    • Get mentors and coaches like those digital things, resources like podcasts that we have and books and articles. Absolutely engage and find the things that are great for you.

    • Also invest in yourself. Get this relationship base that can really get personalized. You are your greatest asset in your career and in your life. So protect that, grow that invest in that. Like you would invest in financial investments, but invest in you. Personally in your growth, physically, mentally professionally, and in all areas of life. You’re trying to live your best life. So you got to invest in you to make that happen.

    • A lot of times, coaches, mentors and other things can help you accelerate that process and make even more progress than you need to.

Transcript

[00:01:54] Episode Introduction

Henry Suryawirawan: Hello again, my friends and my listeners. Welcome to the Tech Lead Journal podcast, the show where you can learn about technical leadership and excellence from my conversations with great thought leaders out there. And this is the episode number 95. Thank you for tuning in and listening to this episode.

If this is your first time listening to Tech Lead Journal, make sure to subscribe and follow the show on your podcast app and social media on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. And for those of you who enjoy this podcast, and wanting to contribute to the creation of the future episodes, support me by subscribing as a patron at techleadjournal.dev/patron.

Today, we are covering about the engineering career. I’m sure many of you are working as an engineer or are thinking of becoming an engineer. Have you ever thought through how you can optimize your career as an engineer? Or maybe whether engineering itself is the right career for you? Also what happens to some of us is that after becoming an engineer for a number of years, we do not feel the same enjoyment and fulfillment as we started in the beginning. And then comes up the question of what’s next that I should do? How can I navigate my career and even potentially make career transitions? If these are some of the thoughts that you have in mind, then I hope today’s episode will be worth a listen for you.

My guest for today’s episode is Jeff Perry. Jeff is an engineering coach, the founder of More Than Engineering, and the cohost of the Engineering Career Coach podcast. In this episode, Jeff shared the important role of a coach or mentor in our engineering career, especially when faced with all the questions that I mentioned earlier. We first discussed Jeff’s engineering career clarity checklist, and why it is truly important to find the clarity in our career journey. Jeff then shared the role of an engineering career coach, how a coach can help us navigate our career, and the difference between a coach and a mentor. Throughout our discussion, we also touched on a few other topics such as the Great Resignation trend and what are some of the things behind it, making intentional career transitions taking lessons from what Jeff has done in his career, transitioning to a leadership role, and the power of accountability.

I enjoyed my conversation with Jeff, discussing about the role of an engineering career coach or mentor, and also the engineering career clarity checklist. And I liked the way Jeff explained that we shouldn’t navigate our career journey alone. There are people and resources available out there who can help us make better decisions, especially for something as important as our career.

If you also enjoy this episode, please share it with your friends and colleagues who can also benefit from listening to this episode. Leave a rating and review on your podcast app and share your comments or feedback about this episode on social media. It is my ultimate mission to make this podcast available to more people. And I need your help to support me towards fulfilling my mission. Before we continue to the conversation, let’s hear some words from our sponsor.

[00:06:14] Introduction

Henry Suryawirawan: Hello, everyone. Welcome back to another new episode of the Tech Lead Journal podcast. Today I have with me a guest who is also a host of a podcast, the Engineering Career Coach podcast, which has been around for more years than me. Today my guest is Jeff Perry. So he’s actually the engineering career coach and also leadership coach. Jeff actually came from the engineering background, not just software engineering, also mechanical and also manufacturing. So it’s really interesting how you can combine all these engineering. Later, maybe you can discuss about that. I’m actually very excited today to talk about engineering career and coaching and leadership in general. So hope to have this great conversation with you today, Jeff.

Jeff Perry: Absolutely. I’m excited about this, Henry. Thanks for having me.

[00:06:59] Career Journey

Henry Suryawirawan: Normally, I would start by asking my guest to share his or her story. Maybe telling us more about your highlights or career turning points.

Jeff Perry: Yeah. So, as you noted, I’ve kind of taken a winding road through a lot of different technical disciplines and different things. It started when I was a kid. I’d really gravitated towards science and math and things like that, like many engineers did. Because there was like certainty in a lot of the things that I was doing there. I always really loved being right and having right answers. From an early age, I think it was ninth grade, I was like, I’m going to be a mechanical engineer. That’s what I was going to do. And so, I never wavered from that. I went to school, did mechanical engineering. It was great.

Then I got into some research during my undergraduate degree and it was connecting some of the software pieces of mechanical design and 3D CAD systems and things like this. Through that, I got connected with an automotive company that wanted to do more of that work. There was a partner in the research that we were doing. And so, ended up with a job writing code, even though I’d only had two software courses in school. Most of my stuff was on the mechanical and physical hardware side. Here I was writing code every day when I’d only taken a couple of software courses. So I felt kind of like a fish out of water. But I really tried to look at that as an opportunity for me to learn a different sort of industry and really dived into that. So I really enjoyed learning about software frameworks, APIs, Agile methodologies, and more in that world. There’s a lot of things that I learned and got perspectives of when I was doing that.

But I also realized that, hey, for me personally, writing code all day, every day, wasn’t what I wanted to do. It’s not where I found a lot of joy. So I actually had an opportunity to go to a smaller company and dived into my first leadership experience. And they wanted me because I’d also done some like entrepreneurship side projects. I had the mechanical and the software aptitude, and I could really bring a lot of these disciplines together. It really kind of almost became a product owner over a technology. I tried to grow a new market utilizing existing technologies and find a roadmap for new technologies for the company where they were doing a physical sensor. So there were hardware capabilities where we’re working with electrical and mechanical engineers, and we had to manufacture these things, plus the software side, data acquisition systems and things like this in the cloud or on-prem depending on how we were doing that at the time. And so it was a lot of different things going on there trying to bring all this together.

So I did that for a while. Then I shifted again towards operations and this was more process-oriented using technology to simplify enhance operations. Make sure we’re collecting the right data. Really take that continuous improvement methodology and approach and different initiatives. So those are kind of the big shifts in the corporate world. And obviously, we can talk more about what I do now. Eventually got to a career plateau where I knew that what I was doing wasn’t a perfect fit for me or the company anymore. And so had some tough conversations and even got to a point where I said, “Hey if we can find an adjustment that really is a fit for me, I’d be happy to explore that with you. But if things stay the way they are, then it’s probably best for me to leave.” Like I recognize that where I was not really giving my best work for the company. It also wasn’t great for me, and so had those tough conversations. We explored some things. Nothing really felt like a great fit. But I was okay if it was time to go and actually was.

Then it was like, okay, what’s next? I didn’t actually have anything lined up for me. I wouldn’t always recommend that for people. But it’s what I needed to do. So I spent a lot of time getting clarity on what I really wanted. In the end, kind of brought together this entrepreneurship bug that I had. Wanting to stay close to technology and engineering, but also over the course of time, recognize that helping people grow and developing people was something that was really important to me. I had opportunity to do that, and I found that’s where I really lit up and found joy in my work. So that was kind of where I found my own kind of genius zone. Put it all together and doing what I’m doing now as a leadership and career coach. So that’s maybe long and short of the story for me.

[00:10:54] More Than Engineering

Henry Suryawirawan: Hearing your story, I can see so many transitions in your career. One of the topics that we’ll be talking about is about career transitions. But I think before we went there, one of the things that I also see in your career is that there are many facets, right? You started from, maybe, doing engineering, mechanical, software and keep on continuously improving and exploring. It’s not just fitting into one particular role, but actually moving into multiple facets and seeing where you can grow further. Although eventually it met a plateau. But I think, now you are an entrepreneur and you started this company called “More Than Engineering”. So tell us more what is More Than Engineering does?

Jeff Perry: Yeah. So More Than Engineering is the name I put for what I do as a leadership and career coach, specifically for engineers and technology professionals. And the “More Than” piece is this idea of okay, engineering might be this professional identity that you might have as an engineer technology professional. But I want to look at the whole person. Look at who are you? What are you trying to become beyond just building your technical skills, which is absolutely important? But what about in leadership, personal development? What do you want to do in your community? Or other ways you want to give and support, like who do you want to become?

This is really trying to take this larger holistic approach to personal development, but coming from a, “Hey, I’ve got this broad range of experience in the engineering and technology world. But I’ve also now developed a very wide tool belt of things that we can do to look at where you’re at and where do you want to get to? How do we make that happen? A lot of that is around career development. People trying to say, “Hey, I’m not really happy with where I’m at right now. How do I do that?” Or I’m trying to grow in my leadership approach, building a new team, trying to grow these certain skills. How do we do that in a sustainable way instead of just prescribing behaviors, things to do? Okay. Try this. Try this. Trying to look at how do we make this actually a transformational experience for you. And so that’s really the essence of what we’re trying to do.

[00:12:58] Engineering Career Clarity Checklist

Henry Suryawirawan: One of the things when I went to your website, you have this career checklist. You call it engineering careers checklist. It’s very interesting to me because I didn’t have that checklist, nor that I thought about having a checklist before I went into engineering. So tell us more, why do you have this career checklist? And what’s the purpose? How does it help someone to decide whether engineering is the career for them?

Jeff Perry: Yeah. So I call it the engineering career clarity checklist. What this is really designed for is those people who are at those points, who are saying, “You know, I wonder if there’s more to what my career could look like rather than just showing up, getting a paycheck and going home and watching Netflix” Or staying home and watching Netflix if you’re working from home.

Because engineers and technology professionals have a huge amount of versatility. I mean, I’m an example of that, of like all the different areas I’ve done. But I’ve talked to so many engineers who have done so many different things across different technology disciplines, across different roles they’ve played. They can stay. They can go deeper in tech. They can stay broad. They can work across products. They can work across projects, large programs, leading large teams, whatever that turns into. But there are plenty of people who are like, I know something needs to change, but I don’t know what that actually is. How do I find the alignment in that? So that I’m actually really enjoying. Cause I know what I want is to actually wake up and feel excited about work, where right now I’m feeling like I’m being drained and not excited about that at all.

So the career clarity idea is like, okay, how do we find that? Two analogies I use is ways of thinking either clarity like a north star, like the things that you really want to get to that kind of keeps you aligned with where you’re going, or maybe another way to look at it as a set of filters of things like what’s really important to you? So as opportunities or things come your way, how do you run those through your filters and see if they meet criteria that are right for you? If so, let’s continue to explore. If not, then don’t waste any more time on there because you’ve already identified those things that are most important to you. So there’s a number of different tools within that. It’s a checklist of activities and exercises you can use to really do some introspective work and identify that north star, those set of filter, that you need to use so that you can get the clarity with where you want to go.

[00:15:12] Finding the “Why”

Henry Suryawirawan: So some of the things that you advocate in the checklist is finding the “why”. Maybe many of us get to work to get paycheck and go on with our lives. I’m not sure whether all engineers really have a clear goal in mind before they start a career. So tell us more about why do we need to find the “why”? And what are some of the “whys” that engineering should think about by becoming an engineer?

Jeff Perry: Yeah. And this could be becoming an engineer or a certain type of engineer or engaging like in a certain industry or something that’s actually important to you. This comes from a tool that I used when I was in manufacturing, where a lot of times there was a problem on the manufacturing line or something. We need to dive into the root cause of it. We use a tool that is pretty common called “The Five Whys” to dive into root cause analysis and saying, “Okay. You initially look at what the problem is that you think is the problem.” And then you keep asking, why is that? Why is that? You keep going deeper and deeper.

We use the same tool of these five whys. You can go more than five and say, okay, what’s the goal you have? Something you want to get to. But then what we’re trying to do is unlock what’s the deeper level of intrinsic motivation. What’s really the driver for you? That’s pushing you to want to make this goal. And I’ve had people have all sorts of different answers to this in the end from, “Hey, I really want to find something that’s exciting for me in my career because I watched my parents both hate their careers through their lives, and I grew up with that and I hated that. And I don’t want that to be how I end up for the rest of my career, and so I want to find this alignment.” That’s one type of answer. Another person said, “You know what? I want to find my happy place in my career. I don’t know what that is, but I’m trying to figure that out.” Another person could be really passionate about sustainable energy and things like that, and so, they were making the move from medical devices over to green energy and buildings and things like that. Because they recognize that’s an industry that was very important to them that they wanted to be actively involved in. Other people who want to work on certain types of products or things like this. Or rather, people want to get involved in scale, or it’s really about their opportunities for personal growth and different opportunities that are going to help them do that cause they don’t want to feel stagnant. So it can be all sorts of things. But the question is like, what is it for you that really drives you to want to get up and go and do things in your career? And so identifying that deeper level “why” can be really powerful.

[00:17:38] Genius Zone

Henry Suryawirawan: There are so many things that you mentioned just now that people look for in their jobs. So I think the key here is to find intrinsic motivation. How to align that with your career? It’s not just some job that you need to do to get paycheck, but to get that fulfillment as well. Another thing that you mentioned in the checklist is that we need to find “our genius zone”. Tell us more what is this genius zone and how do we use that?

Jeff Perry: Yeah. So put simply, the genius zone is where you do your best work. Okay. A couple of different ways to look at this, and also recognize that your genius zone can evolve too. As you go through different experiences. If you would’ve asked me five years ago about me. “Hey, can I do leadership and career coaching for engineers like that?” That wouldn’t have been that because it took me a few years of getting experience of doing training and kind of internal coaching and development inside of the company that I was at for a while, and kind of unlocking that piece of me. And then also having more experience on the technical side to have the broader range of things that allowed me to feel like, “Hey, I had the confidence that I could do this and I could put that together.”

So that’s one way to look at it as like these combinations of things that you’re really good at. So you may be good at one particular type of software application or product development or leadership. You can look at those as separate things, but when you combine them, the combination of them create something that’s quite unique and different. Because you have certain insights into financial institutions if you’re in fintech or something like that, or other types of industries. And so it’s industry, it’s passion, it’s skills. When you combine them, do you have a unique value that you can bring where you can really deliver exceptional work? Where you can do your best work? So that’s one way to look at genius zone.

Another way is to look at it like, okay, when do you feel like you kind of get in the zone, or in a state of flow, if people are familiar with this? The idea of flow comes from a researcher by the name of Mihaly Csikszentmihaly. I think he passed away a few months ago. He’s been quoted extensively on his research in flow. And it’s like this combination of challenge and the skills that you bring to the table. You can kind of get into this flow state. But what is that for you? It’s almost that time or those experiences or those things you work on, you hardly feel time passing, but you’re just really in that zone, because you’re excited about things and what is it that you’re doing that unlocks that for you? Can we find ways to do more of that? Cause that’s something that you’ve got some natural inclinations, but also some skills that you’ve developed that really allow you to do some amazing work when you’re in that space. How can we do more of that? So you can really deliver your best value. So we can identify that. Then maybe we can find a role or an opportunity that can align and give you more opportunities to do your best work in that way.

[00:20:23] Intentional Career Transition

Henry Suryawirawan: So I find that these two questions are really, really important, especially as you go along in your career, right? Maybe 5-10 years. It’s not like in the beginning. I think these two questions can help people who feel stuck or feel de-motivated or didn’t get the sense of fulfillment, also people who want to explore new areas of growth. It could be new role, new career, new industry, and all that. You seem to have lots of experience at doing career transitions. Part of this exercise, I believe, that people will make career transitions, and jump into different areas, which they may have not explored before, but this is something that they are good at. So, tell us more, how can we make this more intentional career transition? Maybe after you do this exercise, how do we navigate that?

Jeff Perry: Yeah. So that’s a perfect question. And you said the right word that’s really important to me is like being intentional about this. Okay. Because I talked to so many people and they’re like, “Hey, I know I want to make a move or something.” But usually initially, or often initially what they’re motivated by, I don’t like what I’m doing. And so they’re just trying to move away from where they’re at right now, cause they know what they’re doing right now isn’t great. But what we want to do is not just find a new opportunity or job or situation, but the right opportunity and situation for them.

It’s about being proactive, not reactive, like saying I want to identify what I want. What’s important to me? And then I want to go through a strategic process to go find it and make that a reality. So it’s about moving towards what you want to do and become, rather than moving away from something you don’t want. And that’s just a much more powerful way of going about any change that you’re trying to make in your life is thinking about a positively framed approach to how do you move towards what’s important, what you want rather than moving away from something that you don’t.

So I’ve designed a whole approach and program to this called the Engineering Career Accelerator, that’s really designed to help engineers move through this intentional career transition and get into the right opportunity and situation. It’s been my pleasure to help a lot of people and I get the opportunity to kind of have that front-row seat to working with people through this process and helping them grow to get where they want, but also, again, we try and design this in a way that trying to be a transformational experience where they’re not just successful in landing the opportunity, but they see that there’re benefits and changes they’ve made that are going to help them as they continue forward throughout their career. And that’s really what it’s designed to do.

[00:22:45] Great Resignation

Henry Suryawirawan: So, again, you emphasize the keyword intentional or deliberate here. It really struck me when you said that many people want to make career transitions because they just think they don’t want to do whatever they’re doing now. It’s more about moving away or running away from their situation. But towards where? Maybe they are not sure about. So this is something that probably is critical, right? When I hear about great resignation or maybe during pandemic, people are not fulfilled or suffering with their career. So maybe this is also partly why that many people are resigning. I don’t know whether in your coaching or maybe in your training session, you have this study case about great resignation. Is there some kind of things that you want to give insights whether people are making the right transitions during this time? Or actually still the same kind of problem?

Jeff Perry: Yeah, so, I mean, we’ve gone the whole gamut throughout the pandemic and the great resignation experience. From, hey, there’re layoffs upon layoffs across the world because the pandemic to now we’re in a place where unemployment is really low, and it’s really hard for companies to find people. They’re trying to grow like crazy. And maybe there are some long tail effects of that, of some people who left the workforce for a longer period of time and are coming back. I think we’re still trying to sift through some of the data around that.

But there was some significant data around, like 2021. So we were already through kind of the first year of the pandemic. In the US, there was the highest quit rate that we’ve had in decades. That was significant. I think it was just a lot of people going through that process and kind of stepping back and trying to figure out okay, what do I really want? So some of that people actually have that time to be introspective because they couldn’t leave their homes for one reason or another. Or some people got forced into looking for something else cause they got laid off. And others, especially in particular in the software space, found that because they were more primed for the remote work opportunities and there were a greater need to want to do more automation and software pieces, there were a lot of opportunities in front of them. There’s been a lot of wage expansion and compression and things like that. People are like, “Hey, I can get a significant raise if I make a move. Well, I’m going to do that.” So sometimes they’re chasing the money. Sometimes they actually did some of that intentional work to try and figure out what’s really right for them.

In the conversations that I had, and I’ve talked to hundreds of people one-on-one is that I find that those who are driven by fear through the process are often the ones that kind of lost out on opportunities. It didn’t really make progress. But those who are driven by opportunity and what’s possible and look for, how can I make the most of the situation? Those are the ones who found the opportunities and were able to continue to grow and progress instead of taking a break and staying stagnant, or maybe losing ground during the last couple of years.

[00:25:32] Engineering Career Coach

Henry Suryawirawan: So, currently you are a coach. At least in my part of the world, it’s not common to have an engineering coach, engineering career coach, particularly. So tell us more, why should engineer think about having a coach? And how does it differ between mentors and coach? Because these two terms are always used sometimes interchangeably. But maybe you can give us clarity. Why an engineer should look for career coach?

Jeff Perry: Yeah. So I mean, engineers are notorious for being problem solvers, right? And figuring things out. That’s one of the things that engineers do best. There aren’t all that many of us who are coaches, specifically for engineers, but there are a few and because I’m in the industry, I know a number of them. But think about this. I’m just a huge proponent and believer that when we’re trying to make changes in our lives, we shouldn’t change alone, and try and do that alone. We need people in our life to support us and help us through that process.

What a mentor or a coach can do is really provide that outside perspective. Maybe see things in you and work the problems you’re going through and the opportunities that are in front of you that you might not be able to see because we all have blind spots, whether we like to believe it or not. We do. And so, we need that help. Mentors and coaches can also help expand your network and give you access to insights and people that you might not otherwise be able to connect to. And also, just a big opportunity to give you frameworks, activities, maybe a community to be involved in. One of the most powerful things is the power of accountability you can have. That you are invested in yourself and have someone who is invested in you. Trying to help you move through this process because you have maybe regular meetings and situations and things you’re trying to report on. Then, you got this extra motivation. I’ve got something I’ve got to deliver. So there’s a lot of benefits, a lot of that.

When we think about the difference between a mentor and a coach. Maybe the separations, a mentor is often kind of someone who would volunteer to help you, maybe it’s someone in your workplace. Often, workplaces will have mentoring programs and things that you can get connected to, or you can just find someone you want to connect to ask questions on a semi-regular basis. Or maybe someone in another community setting that you can connect with. But they just kind of help and we connect with them. It’s often informal. It can be formal. It kind of depends on how you set that relationship up.

But a coach is often paid, something that you would invest in. They’re also uniquely invested then in your success because they win when you win. It’s how they’re set up. So it’s often a third-party person outside the perspective of where you’re at in your company. And so, they don’t have any other agenda to keep you in your company or get you out or whatever, other than you being successful and what’s most important to you. That investment in you through that process can be really, again, transformational. Coaches also bring, often, a more intentional framework and are more proactive in your experience rather than a mentor is. They’ll often show up and like, “Okay. What questions do you have for me?” And they can be fabulous and wonderful. But a coach is more like really bringing something from the experience. More often than a mentor would.

[00:28:45] Power of Accountability

Henry Suryawirawan: So you mentioned a technique, which I find really interesting and also powerful. This power of accountability. Again, I’m not sure, but I can just look from my personal experience. Sometimes I don’t do this accountability for my career. So things could be just thinking in our head or just consulting with our family members. But the accountability, I think, is a very unique angle that people can explore. Tell us more about how can we find accountability partners or maybe some kind of accountability framework for us to navigate our career? How does this work? And maybe you can give us examples. How can this accountability help someone to navigate and make career transitions?

Jeff Perry: Yeah. So, you can use accountability in any area of your life. To put some data to it, I think the Association for Standards and Training Development (ASTD) did a study on the power of accountability from someone who’s got a goal that they want to accomplish. You just have the idea of a goal. It’s about a 10% chance that you’re going to do it. If you like write it down, it increases like 25%. If you tell someone, it gets up to like 50%. But if you get to the point where you have someone who you’re accountable to, that you have a specific date set up to be accountable and deliver to them on a specific day, it’s like 95% of the time you’re going to deliver on them. So we go from 10% of, I have an idea of something I want to do, to I’m accountable to someone I’ve got a specific date tied to that deliverable. So from 10% to 95%, you’re going to frame that. So that’s just from a pure data perspective. That shows some real power in the power of accountability.

You can find people in your life. I mean, these can be partners, spouses, friends, mentors, and personal community and your family or other things. Just, again, like this idea of not making changes alone brings a little bit accountability. You’re even sharing with someone that you’re trying to do this rather than holding onto yourself. Yeah. It feels a little vulnerable, but that can actually sometimes light a fire in you to actually take some action. But then taking that next level to maybe invest in yourself, get some specific help and a coach or something that could be next level because they’re going to be helping you in different way.

Anyway, this accountability area or principle can just be so powerful to say, “Hey, I want to do something, but instead of just thinking about it, I’m actually going to do something about this. Share this with other people and ask for help.” You’d be surprised how many people are actually willing to help and support you through that process in many different ways. You can get some people who are willing to do little check-ins and things like that with you, if that’s what you want. Cause sometimes, especially if you’ve got a full-time job and other responsibilities, now you’re trying to do something else, it’d be hard to put in that time and that effort because we’re tired and got a lot of other things on our plate. But when we have other people supporting us and holding us accountable or we feel accountable to, and then that can keep the fire going and keep us rolling there.

Henry Suryawirawan: So some people also find gamification as part of accountability. So maybe you use tools to do habit streak. And also some people put some more stakes, like put money. So yeah, if I didn’t do X, I’ll put some money for you. So I think that kind of like also works as a accountability technique.

Jeff Perry: I’ve got a friend who’s wanting to write a book. And so if he doesn’t get that book manuscript submitted by a certain time this year, then he owes me 500 bucks. That’s going to light a fire for him. So it’s just a funny way. That works for him. That negative pressure doesn’t work for everyone, but that’s something that’s really pushing him. I rail him on that whenever we talk almost every week. So whatever works for you. That’s what we’re trying to find.

[00:32:13] Transitioning to Leadership Role

Henry Suryawirawan: So one of the major transition for engineers is to actually navigate between individual contributor and to leadership or management. In your career, you also mentioned that you have navigated that process as part of your career coaching, or I think your training in general, is also a leadership aspect. So tell us more, how can someone have this mindset transition between an individual contributor to more leadership or management role?

Jeff Perry: Yeah, this is a critical transition for a lot of people, if it’s the right thing for them, and if it’s the right time. So we need to recognize the shift that’s taking place here. As an individual contributor, your best value and your expectations completely surrounding around that the technology progress that you deliver. Whether that’s, you know, the code that you’re writing, the product that you’re working on and thing that you’re developing or designing. Whatever that looks like. It’s about what are you delivering in that way?

When you make that shift to leadership and management, that’s not where your focus is anymore. As in you delivering the technology. It’s you enabling your team to do that. And that’s a shift, and it’s really hard for many people to let go of the direct ownership of this is the code that I wrote and I own and I know it. A lot of times you’re kind of having to give up your baby you were working on it for a long time. Especially if you’re like staying on the same team and then becoming the leader. That’s really difficult. Or even if you’re shifting things, you just have to completely let that go and hand that off. But that impulse to, “I don’t know exactly so I’m going to go in and solve that problem for them.” That’s not enabling them both to make the best decision in the moment, but also to enable them to grow. And that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t bring in your technology insights. It just means that you need to step away. Recognize that your shift from you’re not going to be writing code or diving into the details of everything on the technology side. And there are so many challenges to people letting go of this idea and really delegating. “Hey, if I don’t do this, it’s not going to be done.” Or fear of quality going down. Or if I don’t do this, it’ll take longer. Then I need to train people. There’s all sorts of things.

But that’s really what the shift is about and really taking the personal approach to how can I enable them, but also help them grow to become the people and the professionals that they want to become. And how do I align their goals with the company’s needs and work across these various things? And so there’s a deeper level of understanding. People really need to understand processes and understand higher-level areas of how different pieces of technologies fit together and eventually deliver to whatever the final product or services in that way. And so, it’s a big shift. Because usually as individual contributor, you’re being delivered your tasks and maybe you have influence there as you’re planning and things like that, what that looks like and moving through. But then suddenly, as a leader, you’re identifying those and managing across multiple people and working across functions usually.

It’s a big shift, but it’s an important one for people to get right. So, again, it’s a change. Make sure you have at least some mentors to help you through that process, so you don’t have to squander too much. Cause there are a lot of lessons learned and there’s going to be a lot of frustrations. There’s imposter syndrome. There’s fear and uncertainty there. You want to make sure you have some help as you move through that.

[00:35:37] Letting Go

Henry Suryawirawan: You mentioned that it’s very critical to have mentors. So when I look back to my career, when I made this transition, I didn’t have mentor per se. So it’s more like winging it, maybe. Maybe reading books or consuming whatever resources that you could find. But I think having that mentor could really help accelerate that process, right? So that you are not stuck in the loop of fear or imposter syndrome, like you mentioned, or maybe sometimes you’re just clueless. What should I do? Because you’re dealing with a totally different kind of a challenge altogether. And letting go is one part that, I think, many people who will transition from individual contributor to manager suffers a lot. So maybe is there any specific technique? How can we embrace this letting go? How can individual contributor start shifting their mind towards more enabling, growing people, improving process and things like that?

Jeff Perry: Yeah, it’s a great question. So, this is the foundation of a lot of the shifts that I try and coach people through, is identifying like, okay, that’s not just a prescription of techniques that we want to give you, like, okay, take these actions. But for you, you need to first identify what are the mindsets or beliefs that you’re hanging on to. It’s almost like an anchor that’s kind of weighing you down. We need to identify that first from the belief or mindset side of things, and then we can move through processes.

There’s a really great process that I love from a book. It’s called “Immunity to Change”, by a couple of Harvard psychologists, and I love the framework in here because it’s a process that engineers can really understand. Hey, we’re identifying a change. We move through essentially experiments and tests to identify, okay. Here’s the level of belief that is driving my behavior. Well, I need to identify and move through some experiments and collect data to challenge these beliefs. If I can move through that process, then suddenly the power that belief and mindset have on me starts to diminish because the experiences I’m having are telling me that what I thought was true, isn’t actually true. It diminishes that and suddenly we’re shifting the mindset that driving a new set of behaviors that we’re trying to have. Because the end goal, the behavior shift, it’s pretty easy to outline what that looks like, in terms of delegate, trust, don’t micromanage, all that sort of stuff, not that hard to identify. But how I, as an individual, move through that process. That’s going to be different because it may be different things that I’m struggling with to let go than you would, or someone else. It’s really identifying that deeper level mindset and belief that is holding us back.

There’s this process. You can go to the book or certainly reach out to me and we can talk more about what that would look like to really move through that process. It’s amazing when people would do that. Like, I had an engineering leader that I worked with. He was kind of notorious for just kind of taking it all on his own. Really struggled with, if I don’t do it, it’s not going to be done because he was really closely connected to customer projects and things with what he was doing. And so, we worked together on this and identified how to run some experiments and things, enhance some things off. And he’s like, you know what? We started this new project, and I started it off with someone on my team to really take ownership of that. Three months ago, I wouldn’t have ever been able to do that. I wouldn’t have been able to trust that and I wouldn’t have had that set up. So it was amazing and they’re doing a great job with it. So a huge shift and it’s freeing up his time to work on the more strategic areas that are important to him. And so that’s just one example there when we can make that shift from his beliefs. He’s not tied down by that as much. Now we’re moving on to other things that we’re working on together.

Henry Suryawirawan: That sounds really powerful. So first identifying your mindset and belief. Old mindset and beliefs that you probably are not productive in that sense, if you stay on that zone. So I think as in any kind of change, either it’s habit, it’s a personal development, identifying mindset first, I think, is the key for many kinds of transformative experience. So I think partly by becoming a more effective leader, it’s also about changing your mindset and beliefs from IC mode to a more management and leadership role.

[00:39:32] Leadership Attributes

Henry Suryawirawan: If there are some kind of attributes that leaders should have, maybe if you can give some tips for people here who just made that transition, or who are still clueless and don’t have mentors, what will be that attributes? What do they need to look at? And maybe just practical tips for them.

Jeff Perry: Yeah. So from an attribute, one of the things that’s really important to me and something that I’ve been working on the last few years, since I got into this coaching and training role. So the idea of seeing people as people. That sounds really simple, but it’s extremely powerful. I first learned it from a group that did some training called the Arbinger Institute, and they talked about a mindset idea called the outward mindset. It’s this idea of we can see people as people, whereas the opposite of that they called inward, self-focus where you see people as objects. Maybe to use them as vehicles, or maybe they’re obstacles in your way and so you just need to get them out of the way, or maybe they’re just irrelevant. You don’t care about them.

But it’s this idea of like really seeking to understand what people need. What’s important to other people? What they’re trying to accomplish their objectives? What their challenges are that they’re being faced with when you can truly understand people? When you’re thinking about from a leadership perspective, both on your team also with the peers that you’re working with and also thinking maybe up in terms of what do your leaders really need from you? And really seeking to ask questions to understand how do you deliver the greatest impact to these people? And seeking to not just be held accountable to that, but seeking to be proactively accountable for you in actively checking in with them. Hey, how am I actually doing and delivering? Am I helping you in the ways that you need that? And always seeking for that growth opportunity and feedback.

Then suddenly, everyone around you becomes kind of a mentor, and that opportunity to give you insights and feedback that you might not otherwise be able to know. Because sometimes we’re so afraid, as new leaders, and experienced leaders even, of what are people thinking about me? And we’re so afraid of our image. We can let go of that, and say, “Hey, I want to understand that because then I can actually deliver better and put myself out there and be a better professional, better person for them that they need me to be.” Then we can make those changes. So from a fundamental principle standpoint, this idea of seeing people as people and seeking to understand what they need from you will allow you to be the best that you can. So stay humble and teachable and open to those ideas. Instead of, again, you don’t want to be driven by fear. You want to be driven by how can I continue to improve and grow and see those gaps that you might have in where you’re at now, as opportunities rather than knocks on you. We all have things that we can work on. Well, that’s an opportunity to grow and develop in a new way. So get excited about that.

Henry Suryawirawan: So I like the way you frame it. See people as people, and also try to understand them. So I think some people also refer this to probably like servant leaders. Your job is there to serve people. It’s not to give orders. It’s not to give a high-level goals, directions, or maybe chasing people for tasks. So I think the key here is about serving people. By understanding them, hopefully they can grow and also be more productive and also create a great team and a high spirit. I think that’s the message here.

[00:42:41] Engineering Career Coach Podcast

Henry Suryawirawan: So, part of your day-to-day is also hosting podcast. Tell us more about your podcast. What is it about? And where people can find it and why they should check it out?

Jeff Perry: Yeah. So the podcast is called the Engineering Career Coach podcast. And this is a podcast that I am the primary host right now. It’s in partnership with a group called the Engineering Management Institute that I’ve been able to partner with. The podcast itself has been around since, I think, 2013. But I’ve been the host for the last couple of years. Put out a couple episodes a month, typically, across all sorts of different things in terms of engineering, career opportunities and success from, Hey, how do you deal with things as an introvert? We talk about mindset principles. We talk about leadership. We talk about changes in engineering and technical education and things like this.

There’s all sorts of different things we get to bring in experienced guests on to provide insights. But it truly meant to be general across engineering disciplines, not specific to a few. Although there’s a lot of people and things in the software world that people can get insights on. We try and make things as applicable as we possibly can across engineering disciplines. Because everyone has goals and things that they’re trying to do and accomplish in their careers. And so, we want to give people that resource to help and progress. That’s what it’s all about. So you can find that on any podcast platform pretty much, and also YouTube videos as well.

Henry Suryawirawan: So I look at the number of episodes. There are plenty of resources. So if people really want to look at the career coach angle, there are plenty of episodes that probably you can look at. Sometimes when you navigate in a certain situation, when you don’t have mentors, it’s really hard. So looking at those previous episodes, I think probably can help you as well. Not to mention that podcasts, or maybe YouTube, now have become one of the mentors in life. If you don’t know about something, search on podcasts, YouTube or books, and then you try to self-serve yourself by having these kinds of electronic mentors.

[00:44:30] 3 Tech Lead Wisdom

Henry Suryawirawan: So Jeff, it’s been a pleasant conversation with you about career coach, leadership, career transitions. But we need to wrap up. Before I let you go, normally I have one last question that I always ask for all my guests, which is this question about three technical leadership wisdom. Maybe you can give us some advice from your experience, from your journey, what will be your three technical leadership wisdom, Jeff?

Jeff Perry: Yeah. So the first one that I would share is to be proactive, not reactive. We’ve talked about this in terms of being intentional and deliberate in your career, but just like, identify what you want to do and go make that happen. Recognize that, Hey, there’s going to be some twists and turns along the way. You can see every step as another prototype and an opportunity like data and things like this. It’s just another iteration. So don’t get too discouraged if you’re not exactly where you want to be right now. But how can you take ownership and be proactive with where you want to continue to go and how you want to continue to grow?

Number two is tap into and become aware of your mindsets. Not just the actions you want to take, but who you want to become. Like it really starts there. When we talked about some of the ways, you can actually go about running experiments or tests to identify those mindsets might be holding you back and move through that process. But, again, the principle is that mindsets drive behavior. Our behavior drives our results. And so, if we just prescribe behaviors, we’re not going to make sustainable changes to get the results we want. We need to change our mindset, which then drives our behaviors, which then drives our new results that we’re looking for. We’re really trying to improve and grow our lives.

And then number three is, I’d say, get help and support. Get mentors and coaches like those digital things, resources like podcasts that we have and books and articles. Fabulous, absolutely engage and find the things that are great for you. But also invest in yourself. Get this relationship base that can really get personalized. You are your greatest asset in your career and in your life. So protect that, grow that, invest in that, like you would invest in financial investments, but invest in you personally in your growth, physically, mentally professionally, and all areas of life. You’ll be glad that you did because you’re trying to live your best life. So you got to invest in you to make that happen. A lot of times, coaches, mentors and other things can help you accelerate that process and make even more progress than you need to. So be proactive, tap into those mindsets and invest in yourself and get some help.

Henry Suryawirawan: I really love the last one. You mentioned about we as our own greatest asset. So sometimes we neglect our career. Although we spend more of our life doing our career, right? Your hours as well. But sometimes we don’t invest too much in it. We just go with the motion and make decisions, maybe sometimes thought about it, but maybe not enough. So the key here is try to invest in ourselves, find mentors and support.

So thank you so much, Jeff, for all those wisdoms. For people who would like to connect with you, continue this conversation, any place where they can reach out?

Jeff Perry: Yeah, a few places you can find me. I’m pretty active on LinkedIn. You can find me, follow or connect with me there. Just search Jeff Perry. You should be able to find me there. Primary website is MoreThan-Engineering.com. Or you can find some free training, especially for those looking for career transitions, EngineeringCareerAccelerator.com. Especially also, we were talking about the career clarity checklist earlier. People can get that at EngineeringCareerAccelerator.com/career-clarity. So people can get that as a free resource for them. Those are a few places I’d send them. A lot of stuff to go check out, but I’ve got a ton of resources. If you reach out to me personally, I can point you in the right direction.

Henry Suryawirawan: Thank you so much for your sharing today. So I hope that this gives some people clarity as well in terms of navigating their career. It was a pleasure, Jeff. Thank you so much.

Jeff Perry: Yeah. Thank you so much, Henry. Looking forward to connecting some more. Thanks.

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