I can distinctly recall one of my full-time Mohawk instructors telling the class back in 1990 that we should all expect and prepare ourselves for sudden career changes. In fact, he went so far as to boldly predict that we will likely have to change our job or career at least once every 5 to 10 years. At the time, I thought he was simply nuts! However, since I graduated from Mohawk in 1991, I have since found his prediction to be eerily true.
The timelines may not be exact, but I found out the truth immediately after graduation. We were facing a recession in 1991, and employers in the electrical field were reluctant to take on a new college graduate with no on-the-job experience. Thus, I had to go back to Mohawk to do some Continuing Education courses. I started focusing on Computer Science, thinking that this would land me into a rewarding career, to no avail.
Somehow during this time, I ended up in production manufacturing. It had absolutely nothing to do with what I was doing in school, but it lasted 15 years! During that time, I was still doing some Continuing Education courses off and on, hoping that some different opportunity would present itself. The managers offered me a chance to go to Mohawk to study the Industrial Engineering and Quality Assurance Certificate programs. Unfortunately, a big layoff occurred before I could complete the programs. However, the certificates did help me to get a Quality Assurance Manager position at another manufacturing facility about 2 years after that.
That job only lasted about a year, then about 2 years after that, another type of job surfaced. This time, it was not in manufacturing. Rather, it was a customer service type of job where I would be trained to be the Assistant Manager. At first, I was puzzled as to why I got the job, considering that I had no customer service experience. My manager later explained to me that he was impressed with my manufacturing background and that I was able to adapt to the career changes that I was forced to endure over the years. He also liked the fact that I was able to show commitment to my personal improvement by studying Continuing Education courses at Mohawk College. Hearing those comments made me realize that I had done something right despite all of the setbacks.
Even though I’m still doing the Assistant Manager job, I’m not allowing myself to rest on my laurels. I just recently enrolled in an online program via Mohawk for a Manufacturing Leadership Certificate. I’m not taking my old instructor’s prediction lightly anymore!
In fact, I’ll likely be studying Continuing Education courses for the rest of my working career in an on-again, off-again sort of way. I want to be prepared for those sudden career changes and try to do my best to achieve as much personal satisfaction as I can out of my career, wherever that may take me. I would advise all past, current, and future Mohawk College graduates to do the same. My old instructor was absolutely right!
– Todd Midgley
Electrical Engineering Technician ’91