I’ve heard it said, most recently by Brett Favre, quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, that “Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.” The quote actually originates from a Roman philosopher called Seneca, in the mid 1st century. What irony that he would be named after one of our more popular aircraft models! (Ha!)
I think it’s only human to be envious of others that we consider lucky like when they have achieved a certain status, or have landed a great job with high pay — director of maintenance for that Fortune 100 company or tech rep for that No. 1 engine manufacturer!
But what we often don’t realize, is that those that have gotten ahead in their profession have done so because they were prepared to take the job when it was offered — the key word being prepared!
Now is the time to prepare yourself to advance in your career. There are countless opportunities to work on to improve yourself — many that cost little or nothing. Among the opportunities:
- Attend a local IA meeting, or sign up online to take the courses offered in AMT’s online IA renewal program (www.amtonline.com). IA renewal meetings are not just for renewing your IA, they’re for becoming more informed on technical and regulatory issues and should be attended by everyone that’s involved in maintenance.
- Prepare to take the IA exam and become an IA. You may not need it now, but who knows when that dream job will come along, and one of the qualifications will be that you hold an IA?
- Enroll in a local college or university to get your degree. There are many forms of loans and assistance related to educational opportunities. Many technical colleges offer courses that transfer to universities, so if you need to complete some basic math and/or science courses, you may be able to get credit for these courses at a lower price!
- Enroll in an online degree program. Several good universities now offer distance learning degrees and at least two offer aviation related degrees. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (www.erau.edu) offers several aviation degree programs online, as well as Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU), Roswell (www.roswell.enmu.edu). Several others offer business degrees that may help you position yourself for a management position.
- Take a public speaking course or join a public speaking club. Organizations such as Toastmasters and/or Dale Carnegie can help you become more proficient at communicating and public speaking. Why do you need this? It’s a skill that can translate to advancement. You may be asked to give a presentation for a local school, lead a training session for your peers, or deliver an announcement to a group of mechanics that report to you. The better you handle yourself in these situations, the more opportunity for moving up the ladder!
Many argue that it is too late, and that they are too old to start pursuing educational opportunities now — or they don’t have the time. I’ve known several people in my lifetime that have started late in life to reach their educational goals. In at least one of them (my uncle), he not only received his bachelor’s degree, by age 55, he had received his master’s and moved further in his career than he had ever anticipated!
On not having enough time — it’s just a matter of priorities! We always find time for what we really feel is important! Just adjust your priorities to make education the most important thing you will do for your career.
Who knows, by investing a little time in making yourself the best you can be at what you do, you may be the next person to be lucky.
Proud to be an A&P