We all want to feel confident in the work we do, trusting our abilities to get the job done and make the right decisions. But as with many things in life, confidence comes with time and experience. That means that when you are starting out in engineering it can be difficult to feel confident in your abilities. If you feel that this is holding you back or preventing you from achieving to your potential, it might also mean that your colleagues and superiors are reluctant to trust you with important tasks. This in turn leads to a further lack of confidence.
However, just as confidence levels can go down quickly, they can also go up just as fast. There are lots of ways you can boost your self-esteem in the workplace, helping to create a positive loop that will see you reach the levels you are capable of attaining. It involves hard work and a willingness to step out of your comfort zone, but set yourself the right challenges and you will soon find that you are thriving in your work.
For many people, a lack of confidence at work comes from a lack of preparation. Starting a new job means that everything is new. New people, new working methods, new surroundings. A lot of this you can’t control. However, there are always elements of your role that are firmly within your grasp. You may not have a say in the equipment you use or the people you work with at first, but the basic principles of engineering are always the same. Whether you’ve got a degree or have previous experience elsewhere, much of your work will be familiar, but you should always go the extra mile and do your research. A little bit of extracurricular study will always help.
Often a lack of confidence is to do with an uncertainty about the work itself. If you feel you don’t quite understand what is going on it can be scary and be a major cause of self-doubt. Work hard, back up your knowledge and you can prevent feeling out of your depth.
That being said, as an inexperienced member of the team, no one is expecting you to know everything. And if you are not sure, sitting there in silence hoping no one will ask you to explain is a sure-fire way of losing confidence. Asking questions of more experienced colleagues is the only way to learn. As much as it seems otherwise, no one will ever judge you for asking if you are unsure or if you simply would like to know more about any aspect of your role or the organisation. Learning on the job, both formally through training and informally through the experience of others, is one of the best ways to build confidence quickly.
You will often find that more experienced colleagues will recognise the position you are in (having once been there themselves) and will make an extra effort to help you settle in and learn quickly. But you have to be willing to ask for help and advice when you need it.
As an engineer, you are a scientist, and a big part of the scientific process is a failure. In fact, it is built into the whole methodology. You propose a theory, test it, assess the evidence and then work out if you’re right or wrong. And sometimes you are going to be wrong. It’s easy to take this defeat to heart and let it affect your confidence. But throughout history, the very best scientists have been inspired and motivated by defeat, and have used these knock backs to learn valuable lessons.
You can’t be afraid to fail, as this fear may well prevent you from trying in the first instance. And having the daring to try and fail is always part of the job. You need to know that you can learn just as much from a failure as you can from a success.
Professional engineers aren’t shut away in labs conducting experiments all by themselves, they are out in the field at the heart of engineering projects, having meetings and being an integral part of any project. All of which means that communication is an essential tool for an engineer. If you can’t communicate well, getting across your ideas in a clear and concise way, then it is going to make your job harder and affect your confidence. So it’s well worth trying to do some work in this area. Work on your presentation skills, try to talk in a clear and simple way that balances detail with clarity. And remember that tone is very important. It is always important to keep people interested and to try to be engaging and open.
Good communication will help you to become more confident and open the doors of opportunity as your career progresses.
It can be easy, if you lack confidence, to say no to things or to hold back even if you know you’ve got what it takes. Try to be positive, always put your hand up, take on responsibility and make moves that involve action rather than inaction. You’ll find that a positive mental attitude leads to more confidence and a more interesting work life.
With large numbers of engineering jobs in Norwich, there are opportunities in the city for graduates to build very successful careers. While it is entirely natural to be nervous at the start of any new job, you need to be willing to trust your training and education, and make certain steps that will boost your confidence as your grow into your role.
Make use of support networks at engineering jobs in Norfolk, UK. It is in the interest of most good firms to offer help and support for new employees who are finding their feet. Take advantage of this and you can look forward to a promising and successful career in the industry.