Thoughts on the Engineering Industry

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Archive for the tag “personal”

Beginner Workout Recommendations

Sports, Persons, Running, People, Young, Lifestyle

Hello everyone, I hope your weekend went well.  Today, I would like to discuss some basic working out routines.  Again, it is not something that is a technical engineering topic.  However, it is something that helps me stay in shape and more productive – not to mention I enjoy it a lot since I train in martial arts and generally enjoy playing sports.  So with that in mind, I thought it would be a good idea to give a couple of good beginner workout routines.

The first workout routine I would recommend is for people who are starting from “square one” so to speak.  This is for the person who never did sports or anything too active in high school.  You might play an occasional pick up game here and there, but your strength level is low and your cardio isn’t stellar either.  The best starting point for some one like that in my opinion is the basics you knew from gym class.  Do some pushups, situps, pull ups, squats (my preference is usually 5 set rotations at a medium to high pace) with a 30 minute cardio session after that.  This can be modified with time – switch between different type of pushups, between situps and planks, etc.  The point is to hit each of the main areas of the body (chest, core, back, legs) and to get some cardio in as well.  It should take no more than an hour three times a week and this will build up a foundation of general strength and cardio to build upon if you wish to do so.  Otherwise, just doing this should at least ensure that you generally have good fitness.

The second routine is for those that have been generally in shape before and want to build some strength again and it is called a 5 x 5 weight routine.  The idea is that you have a few core exercises you do per a session.  And each session you do that routine again you increase that weight by 5 every time if possible.  Refer to this link for one example -> http://goo.gl/9nkzXO.  Combine this with some cardio and you should increase your strength and muscle mass depending on how you eat.  The overall workout time should be similar to the previously mentioned routine but I would recommend more sessions if possible if you want the full benefits of both the strength and cardio portion.  Otherwise, just pick a schedule that works best for you.

These both should be good starting points for most people.  If you would like to start working out, look for some stuff like this and I hope it is helpful to you.  And if you going for an improved physique don’t forget that a stricter diet might be required too.  Do any of y’all work out?  What did y’all start out with and what are y’all currently doing now?  If you enjoyed my post, please subscribe and share it with your friends.  Thanks for reading and have a good week!

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Personal Book Recommendations for Engineers

Hello everyone.  I hope y’all have been doing well.  Nothing new has happened with me – I’m still just looking for work and trying to keep up with my engineering skills.  I will start substitute teaching again, but it’s only going to be a day job.  Today, I want to take a break from writing about engineering topics to share some books that I would recommend reading.  They will focus on career and also some personal finance; along with that, they will vary from history/documentary type narratives to lighter, anecdotal narratives.

Books for Engineering/Business

These are books that apply to engineering or teach lessons that can applied in the practice of engineering.

“Don’t Throw This Away! The Civil Engineering Life” by Brian Brenner, PE

http://goo.gl/3BQpzj

This is a book that most civil engineers would enjoy.  It’s pretty much all stories of the authors experience as a civil engineer.  There is a fun aspect to the book which makes it a very enjoyable read.  It also does a good job of have a relevant moral to each story.  Some morals are just a humorous observation of the engineering practice and some pertain to practical lessons he has learned.  It manages to strike a good balance between educational, informative, anecdotal, and fun.

“The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World” by Daniel Yergin

http://goo.gl/2IWUW9

This book is the opposite of the previous in tone, writing style and length.  This will be slow read and at times very dry.  However, if I were to recommend a book that could answer almost any current question on energy sources and production this would be it.  It pretty much is a history and analysis with a bit of trend prediction for all areas of the energy sector; be warned – it can feel monotonous at times.  However, my recommendation is that you break it up into pieces – that’s how I did it.  By the end, you should have a basic picture of how the energy sector works, why that is, and the likely future of the market.  As a civil engineer, I am glad I have read this book and have that knowledge because I feel like it affects our industry a lot.

“Standout” and “Go Put Your Strengths to Work” by Marcus Buckingham

http://goo.gl/I2NxOm

http://goo.gl/6AJWMt

These two books are recommended for different reasons.  I grouped them together because they are written by the same author and essentially complete the same goal – find your ideal job and position within a company.  And I recommend you read both because they address different aspects of finding the right position.  The first one called “Standout” is much shorter than the second and focuses on the role within your specific position you would be best at.  For example, my standout traits are stimulator, advisor, and innovator; this means that what ever I feel called to do I like being the resident expert that stimulates thoughts and ideas and my preference is to always breaking new ground or trying something new.  And then there is “Go Put Your Strengths to Work” which focuses on skills.  So my skills are that I am good at analytically thinking through a problem and coming up with a practical solution – not surprising, engineer lol.  These two combined should help you find the skills you are good at doing along with the role you like to fill in applying those skills.  There are others he has written too but I haven’t read them.  Based on these two, it probably wouldn’t be a complete waste of time but I can tell you for a fact that I found these two very beneficial.

“Success Through Failure: The Paradox of Design” by Henry Petroski

http://goo.gl/QDMBMr

This is a book that outlines several basic examples of how design is improved through the correction of failures.  It starts kind of slow but once you get past the first couple of chapters it picks up.  It doesn’t try and advertise itself as a book that makes some epic or life changing assertions.  However, it does a good job of showing some examples of how you can improve a design after analyzing a failure and the similar lessons that you can apply in regards to preventing failure before it happens.

“Crush It: Why Now is the Now is the Time to Cash in on Your Passion” and “The Thank You Ecoonomy” by Gary Vaynerchuck

http://goo.gl/Lv1pjP

http://goo.gl/WQHLFh

I recommend both of these books because they will teach you how to use social media to build your personal, company, and apply hometown style customer service principals.  From the initial perspective of the civil engineering practice it may seem like these concepts may not be applicable. However, if you look at engineering entrepreneurs like Elon Musk, it seems like there ways these concepts can be applied.  And not only that, his energetic personality comes through when he tells his stories and describes the takeaway message which makes it a fun read.

Books for Finance:

These aren’t engineering or business books; however, these are some recommendations for money management which is knowledge everyone should have in my opinion.

“Million Dollar Portfolio” by the Motley Fool

http://goo.gl/m4d8m9

I recommend this book because it teaches you how to pick stocks and maintain a solid portfolio.  This does have one glaring hole in that it doesn’t talk about mutual funds, but the techniques it explains for picking stocks and managing a stock portfolio can be applied to mutual funds.  I don’t recommend using this as your only source if you’re investing on your own; however, it will educate you on the basic principles an investment advisor would discuss with you.

Any decent book on personal and estate finance

I don’t have specific book to recommend on this.  I read a book that my friend had on this but can’t remember the name.  It covered the basics of a stock portfolio, money saving rule of thumbs, and the different types of wills/trusts.  The reason I recommend this is that having this knowledge when it comes time to plan for your future finances and estates will help a lot.  That way, when it comes time to start discussing personal finance and plan for your future with your advisor, you can understand what he is trying to achieve and the financial mechanisms involved.

Those are some of my recommendations.  Have you read any of these books and what are your thoughts? Also, are there any books that you think should be added to this list?  Thanks for your time and have a good week!

What is your most effective “sharpen the saw” hobby?

Hello everyone.  I hope your week went well.  Nothing has really changed for me.  I did my last planned tutoring session for the summer, so now I will probably go back to substitute teaching as my day job when that starts up.  I would like the keep tutoring in the Arlington area, but I think they’ll be hard to find.  Today I wanted to ask what ya’ll do to “sharpen the saw”?  For those of you that don’t know, it is referenced in Steven Coveys book “7 Habits of Highly Effective people.” There several types of hobby activities that he recommends you engage in to be at your most effective – physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual.

For me, I have tons of hobbies and I go in cycles where I spend more time on one hobby or another.  Right now I spend a lot more time than I have previously playing Chess.  But I’ve noticed that everyone has a constant hobby they enjoy no matter what.  For me, it’s martial arts and working out towards the end of improving in my martial arts stuff.  I find that physicality of the habbit combined with the mental focus required helps to relieve my stress from the day and refresh my mental energy.  There are other things I do a lot that I couldn’t see giving up either, but I rank them as less important – or in the least, I can feel the drain and loss of effectiveness more when I don’t do my preferred amount of working out.

What hobby do you find that you need to do to remain at your most effective?  What group does that fall under and do you think that it is what makes it a good hobby for you?  Thanks for reading and have a good week.

Maintaining the Optimum Workspace

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Hello everyone! Everything is going well.  Still pounding away at the job hunt thing but now I have an idea of what I want to do.  I’ll still look for engineering stuff but this week I have registered at a website that acts as an online tutoring service.  I haven’t gotten any jobs yet but the pay is really good with a low amount of hours; if I can get rolling with this and get back into school it’s what I would like to do.  If not it will give me time to job search, which will be good since it will take longer take actually find and engineering job.  Hope everything is going good with ya’ll.

Today I wanted to do a shorter post where I talk about the evolution of my optimum work space organization throughout the years.  At first, when I was in high school and it was very much a cluttered, unorganized, everything laid out in the open type space.  My thought process being that it was more important to get the work done and not spend excessive amounts of time organizing stuff.  Then as I went to Texas A&M I gradually changed to the organized method, but cleanliness and the detailed arrangement were still not a high priority.  The reason is that I wanted be nice to my roommate and not everything on my side of the room look like a complete mess.  Now I almost always have a clean space and everything is in its designated spot if I am not currently using it.  If it isn’t, it is very hard to focus and I will almost always feel less productive.  I have also grown to love having natural light if at all possible.  As an engineering student, everyone always assumes I’ve been like this all through high school and college.  That is the general view of engineers so I won’t blame them there lol.

What is your work space like?  Do have a certain way you like it organized or does it matter?  Has it changed over the years?  I look forward to hearing your thoughts.  Have a good week.

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