• Metia Lotoala

Breaking the ice in the Engineering Industry

Updated: Apr 21

Have you ever heard of that saying, “breaking the ice”? It means to make people who have not met before, feel more relaxed around each other. It usually applies to people and social interactions but I truly believe it also applies to any other area in life. This is my story of breaking the ice in the Engineering Industry.

Last year I found myself stuck at home, unemployed in Samoa doing nothing with a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) under my belt. It was not that I wasn’t eager to work or get a job, but it was that I lacked confidence in my ability to work as an Engineer. I was an average student growing up and would always look down on myself so naturally, I couldn’t see myself even being picked to fulfill a position in the engineering field. Added to that, there is a transition from being a student in a University to being an engineer in the field, solving real-life problems. There was no doubt I had the vision and the passion but bringing it to fruition was an entirely different matter.

One day, I saw an ad on Facebook advertising an engineering position for the company KEW Consult Ltd. I had never applied for a job before and didn’t have any experience in engineering. I had been praying to get a job but the thought I always had was that someone would just offer me a job out of nowhere (strange). Then a thought just crossed my mind, “God is willing to help me, but how would I get a job if I am not striving for it, applying for it, and doing my part.” So I figured I should give it a try. A week later, the company contacted me by email that I was shortlisted for an interview. To be honest I even made up my mind not to go to the interview. I was so nervous with no confidence at all that I would be able to get the job.

To cut everything short, I got the job by the slimmest chance ever (thanks to the founder of KEW Consult – Latu Kupa for his faith in me). Although I landed the job, the reality of facing what was ahead in fulfilling the job description gave me a hard time. To be honest the only thing I could do that was stated in the job description was writing reports.

As days went on, the weight and pressure that was on me to fulfill the position in the engineering field slowly wore off. I suppose the pressure comes from having a bachelor’s degree but in reality, I couldn’t fulfill the work in the engineering field. Once I realized that not everything I learned in University was enough to make me an Engineer and that having a qualification did not mean I knew everything I needed to know, I was then finally able to work well because I allowed myself to be taught and to learn day by day.

That is exactly the key to breaking the ice in the Engineering Industry.

It has been over a year now since I have been working for KEW Consult and I have enjoyed everything I have experienced. From learning, meeting new people in different organizations and also solving and analyzing work in the Engineering Industry. I believe someone out there might be facing the same issue, not just in engineering but in various spheres of work. Some advice I would like to share with the upcoming engineers and also graduates in other fields, especially regarding the transition to starting your career in your field-

1. Have a clear vision – with vision comes passion.

2. Don’t think that having a qualification means you know everything in your field. The proper mindset is to be open-minded like a complete beginner so that you allow yourself to learn. This is part of being humble.

3. Confidence is gained over time. You can’t expect to do well right from the start. So it’s normal to be nervous and have that lack of confidence at the start of your career.

4. Take risks- don’t necessarily weigh salary more than knowledge and experience. Of course, no one wants to work for free but take risks to get your foot into your work industry. Knowledge and experience have more value than money because knowledge and experience will land you the big money later on.

5. Last but not least- have God always in your journey. You must play your part in the journey because God will always play His part in blessing you.

I would like to Honor my Senior Engineer Latu Kupa who allowed me to start my Engineering career. Without his vision and his belief in me, I wouldn’t be here writing this blog: Breaking the ice in the engineering industry.

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