Student looks for PM career advice

VIA E-MAIL -- My name is DeShawn Alexander and I am a senior at Pennsylvania College of Technology, Williamsport, Pa., progressing towards a B.S. in HVACR Technology (www.pct.edu). I read Kent Craig's articles all the time and find them very informative.

VIA E-MAIL -- My name is DeShawn Alexander and I am a senior at Pennsylvania College of Technology, Williamsport, Pa., progressing towards a B.S. in HVACR Technology (www.pct.edu). I read Kent Craig's articles all the time and find them very informative. In May 2008 I will graduate and I am very anxious yet nervous to start my career. To prepare over the past four years I have been involved in student organizations at my school (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Air Conditioning Contractors of America) to stay up-to-date on the latest industry trends. Furthermore, I tried to get real world experience by working in different sectors of the industry such as sales and distribution, installation and service and, most recently, at an MEP engineering firm. Recently several mechanical contractors offered me positions as a assistant project manager in order to groom me to be a mid-level manager one day. Does Mr. Craig have any suggestions to help me start my career on a path that will lead to success ?

DeShawn Alexander

Kent Craig responds: It sounds like you've made all the right moves so far and have a very bright future ahead of you, congratulations!

The best advice I can give you to assure career success is to follow your real passion and pursue a career in what you love to do. Nothing is worse in this world and isn't worth all the money in the world to know that you have to go to a job each and every day that you dislike. It's simply not worth it. But when you go to work every day at not necessarily the perfect company (no such thing) but what is for you the perfect career (not the “perfect job,” there's also no such thing), when you actually look forward to waking up in the morning and going to work at what you really love to do, well, DeShawn, money simply can't buy that kind of peace and contentment. The fact that you've tried and experienced different facets of the MEP world should give you enough real-world perspective to make at least your initial choice as to what you want to do at the beginning of your career.

My sincere best wishes and prayers for you and your future, and please do stay in touch.