The Shyness Project

Job Shadowing

I job shadowed my dad at his work today(he’s a chemical engineer)!  It was quite an experience.  I had to wake up at 5:45am, and then we left around 6:15am and got there a little after 6:30.  I had to pass through a couple of security places and have my ID checked and get a visitor’s pass.  I finally got to see the place that my dad works in, and it certainly wasn’t what I had pictured.  He had said he works in a trailer, so I imagined us standing inside a big vehicle and him performing chemical tests all day.  But the trailer room was nice, and pretty big actually.  He mostly works in an office all day behind a computer, there’s a lot of paperwork and computer work to being an engineer.  I met and talked to at least a dozen engineers though, which I’ll count for talking to strangers because I went around to each of their offices with my dad and introduced myself and talked to them about their career paths.  Everyone I talked to who was a chemical engineer said they always knew they wanted to do something with math and science, and most of them knew they wanted to be engineers.  With that knowledge, and hearing their daily conversations about chemicals and science type stuff, I now at least know that engineering isn’t for me, at least not chemical.  But I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t want to do any type of engineering because I’m not math and science inclined.  The people I talked to in my dad’s trailer were really great people though.  They were all really nice and friendly, and were happy to talk about careers and majors. They were glad that I was putting so much effort and thought into choosing a career.  I was known as the “tennis extraordinaire” thanks to my dad’s bragging apparently, haha.  I got to talk to my dad a lot that day though, and I asked him lots of questions.  It was a good bonding day.  We talked about things we don’t normally talk about too much and he told me also really appreciated the card Sean and I made for him, which was nice to know because I didn’t know that he had liked it so much.  Now I will try and make something nice for him on his birthday too.

I went to a meeting with my dad at 9:30am and it lasted about a half hour.  A few guys were talking about the refinery for a while and I was pretty lost, but some of the things that were said about how they thought they did in 2010 and how they wanted to improve in 2011 were interesting.  I also went to a lunch meeting at 11:30am with my dad and one of coworkers Sharon, who was really nice and friendly.  We went to a nice restaurant called Jacks to meet with a guy named Tom who was trying to sell them catalysts and they wanted to hear his proposal.  I didn’t understand most of what was said about engineering and h1 this and h2 that, but it was interesting seeing the guy work his persuasion.  He talked to me a little too and about careers and what not.  And at the end he picked up the tab, so it was a pretty good deal!  Free lunch just for listening to the guy’s offer.

All in all I can say it was a good day, and I learned many things.  For one, I learned about what my dad does for a living, and when he was explaining things about how the refinery worked I could tell he was actually passionate about what he was doing.  It seemed like most all of the engineers in his department were enthusiastic and happy about their work too, many of them were laughing and joking around with each other.  The work environment seemed excellent.  I learned that the people you work with and the people you work for can make a huge difference in your career satisfaction and happiness too.  I’ve read that in career books before, but experiencing it and seeing it really proved that point.  I also learned that engineering isn’t for me, although I really liked the people, I don’t think I’m well suited for the work.  I could do it, but I don’t think I’d enjoy it.  I’m not really into science and the people there speak very scientifically when it comes to talking about engineering things.  We got home around 6pm and my mom had spaghetti ready, so it was a pretty good day!

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2 thoughts on “Job Shadowing

  1. Shanice de Klerk on said:

    Kinda unfair that your dads an chemical engineer wish one of my parents could do that…im an gr11 student and i would like to do my job shadowing at your fathers work place …since elementary school i wanted to become a chemical engineer i feel strongly about this for myself…I was hoping if your dadi couldnt help me in this regared? Please…

    • Try talking to some engineers in your area to see if they would let you shadow. Or if you can’t shadow one, you can always ask to do an informational interview, those are helpful too!

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