Friday, March 22, 2013

My Leave of Absence

Another TGIF-Friday. Although I only have to be in the office two days this week; it has been one long-ass week. I can't sugar coat it.

Last weekend I took my mock PE exam.  Four hours in the morning covering all mechanical engineering topics as an overview, one hour break for lunch, and four hours in the afternoon to cover HVAC (Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning) in the afternoon. The morning portion went well. For the majority of problems I felt like I knew what I was going.  The exam is open book and open note, which is nice, but also left me flipping through a lot of pages. I went home for lunch and headed back for the afternoon portion.

A lot of guidance and advice for succeeding on the exam is time management and fatigue.  My mock exam experience holds true to this.  By the time I was two and a half hours into the afternoon portion (and pretty stumped), I decided to give up.  I wasn't going to develop more answers in the last 1.5 hours.  Instead I switched gears and graded my morning portion.  I did okay, but not great by any means. A lot of stupid mistakes and a lot of ohhhh yea, I should have done that  type thoughts. Good thing I still have three weeks to continue practicing!

As for my work conference, the conference itself was in Springfield, IL and ran Sun-Thurs.  I had approval to go Sunday night, Monday and Wednesday.  My bosses had suggested I drive down Sunday, go to Monday's sessions, drive back Monday night after a banquet dinner, go to work Tuesday, drive back to Springfield Tuesday night, sessions Wednesday and drive back Wednesday night.

Does anyone else thing that spending four days in a row in the car for 3.5 hours at a time sounds a bit ridiculous, especially when trying to study for an exam?!  In the end, I decided to take Tuesday off of work to stay in Springfield and study. This allowed me to also watch my PE review class that I missed on Monday night. Luckily my dad also had to attend the conference for work so I was able to shack up in his hotel room Monday and Tuesday nights.

The conference itself was my first.  As I posted earlier in the week, I gave my first professional co-presentation for approximately 30 people.  I only had a few slides to cover and presented with my manager; but needless to say, my nerves were in a ball. Luckily, everything went smoothly and now I have one presentation under my belt!

It was also an extremely eye-opening experience to see my dad completely in his professional element.  As proud as he was to show off his daughter being there and presenting, I was humbled by so many people that I met who took the time to pull me aside and share how much of an impact my dad has made on them and the industry. I may have left being more proud of my dad that he was of me!

Wednesday I attended conference sessions for young professionals in my industry.  We covered basics like resumes, interviews, and networking, as well as really digging deep to discuss career goals and how to achieve them.  It's given me a lot to think about and also a lot of excitement to move forward in my career and industry.  I will post more about these visions exercises later.  They are worth sharing!

However, leaving the conference at 3pm in Springfield didn't end my day.  I still had a 3.5 hour drive ahead of me as well as a three hour PE review course.  I made it as close to Chicago as I could before my class before stopping at a Starbucks to boot up the computer and log in to class.  After class I finished the drive and got back to my boys around 10pm.  I will admit, it had only been three nights, but I missed them terribly!

Thursday morning I woke up at 5:30am for work in the office and somehow I survived to bring me to today.

What can I say? Longest.week.ever.


  1. As someone who has made that Chicago-Springfield drive many times, you were smart to take off Tuesday and stay down there! If you venture down again, let me know and I can offer some restaurant recs since there aren't many good ones :)

    1. I'm curious to know what you recommend! We had Saputo's, Cafe Moxo and Cafe Brio; and one bar, that wasn't worth remembering.


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