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  • Matthew Kaufman

Small Men, Big Pride

As an engineer, there’s this overhanging inferiority complex that tends to leave entry level engineers paralyzed.  This all begins when you get into that entry level job and you feel like you’re not qualified for the position. You feel a noose tightening as expectations are higher than your abilities and asking vulnerable questions makes you appear weak.  Suddenly, you’re stuck. You can do what you know, but advancing becomes impossible.

Why do we get into this slough?  What causes this spiral that gets us crammed into a corner and stagnant in our career?  I believe it can be attributed to two failures. One being our propensity toward introversion and another being our fear of inferiority.  These issues work in two directions, the teacher to the pupil and the pupil to the teacher.

So let’s consider the pupil for a moment.  Introversion causes us to internalize conversations of insecurity and inferiority.  The fear, when it’s taken hold, keeps us from asking those vulnerable questions that show that we don’t have all the knowledge.

Now, for the teacher, it would be embarrassing to show a lack of knowledge to your pupil.  So to show superior knowledge, we don’t show that we learn new things. Instead, we are reminded of things that we already knew or we flippitanly dismiss the excitement of new knowledge.

The solution to all of this is humility.  You don’t know everything. You are learning and ignorance of something is not a sin.  However, failing to diligently seek knowledge is failure to accomplish your responsibility.  Also, failure to encourage and teach and direct those coming behind is neglecting your duties.  Be humble, be patient, teach, and learn.