Emerging Voices: Lessons from the Plant Floor | AIChE

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Emerging Voices: Lessons from the Plant Floor

Emerging Voices


Recently, I started a new job that has taken my career in an unexpected direction. What had been a rather traditional path of production engineering and manufacturing management has taken a turn toward global supply strategy. Instead of fighting metaphorical fires on the plant floor, I am now developing recommendations to guide the company’s long-term strategy.

While manufacturing is my passion, two pieces of advice pushed me to move beyond my comfort zone. First, if the job begins to feel comfortable, it is time to move on. I had gotten to know my plant and felt confident that I could solve even the most difficult problems. While my team benefited from my expertise, no doubt fresh eyes and perspective will fix some flaws that I had become blind to. Second, be open to jobs outside your obvious path. Each new position is a stepping stone in your career. Taking a step outside the obvious path will either validate your current path or help you to find a new one.

Interestingly, working in manufacturing was not an intuitive...

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