November 2015

Please Revisit Your Assumptions

My name is Erik, your Golden Gate chapter president, and I'm an anti-social engineer.

Not all engineers match my profile, but there sure are lots of us out there. Getting our introverted butts to an ASHRAE chapter meeting depletes days worth of stored up social energy. Am I talking about you too? Do you run the numbers and conclude that meeting attendance just isn't worth the effort? 

Well, I'd like to ask you to revisit your assumptions and revise your calculations. There may be a few factors missing from your analysis.

For many years I was an occasional attendee at chapter meetings. Now and then a compelling program tipped the balance and outweighed the concern that I wouldn't know anyone at the meeting. Then I would be willing to risk an evening of awkward social encounters for the reward of valuable knowledge. So I went. And it wasn't so bad!

And now I'm chapter president?

In 2007 I started my own consulting practice after many years of working as part of a team. To obtain some forced human interaction I started regularly attending chapter meetings. I soon learned that humans, even engineer humans, are not so bad, not too scary. In fact, those ASHRAE humans were friendly and interesting (in their engineery way). I made some new friends!

But that's not all! Friends are fine, but perhaps an anti-social engineer needs even more motivation.  Friendship is overrated, right? People can be scary. Well, as will be obvious to many of you, I found career benefits too. And I think the same could happen to you. 

  • If you're a designer, meet some vendors, meet some contractors. When questions come up you have someone to call for help. Learn something from their perspective. Meet designers at other firms, find out they get free donuts in the break room and start planning a career move.

  • If you're a contractor, hang out with some designers. Perhaps confirm your suspicions that they're ignorant prima donnas, or perhaps learn that they are just introverted, anti-social engineers who will respond favorably to some loving kindness.

  • If you're in sales... well maybe you already know why you should be there. And you might already be over the scary-human thing.

So I learned that there are lots of reasons for me to attend chapter meetings. Do I find every chapter program to be totally fascinating? Well, no. We typically listen to other engineers, right? But I'm always glad I attended. It's worth my investment of time and social energy.  For me, participation in the Golden Gate ASHRAE community gives a great return on that investment. 

If you're not a regular attendee, then I'm hoping you'll revisit your assumptions and I'll see you at the next meeting.

But one word of caution... if you do show up, before you know it you might find yourself writing this monthly President's message.

-Erik Kolderup

2015-2016 President
ASHRAE Golden Gate

Read More