As part of keeping up my Professional Engineer’s license, I have to complete a certain number of professional development hours (PDH) each year (or licensing cycle). Accordingly, I jumped at the chance for a relatively inexpensive eight-hour educational class this month sponsored by one of the engineering organizations of which I am a member.
What was originally going to be a smaller group turned into over eighty people by the day of the event. I didn’t do my own homework on how long it would take me to get from my sleeping location the night before to the location of the class. Instead, I relied on someone else’s word. (BIG MISTAKE.) They indicated it would take 22 minutes, but to allow 30 for the trip. I was planning on leaving 45 minutes early, but ended up leaving ten minutes after my ETD (estimated time of departure). While I missed the huge traffic tie-up, I didn’t take the shortest alternate route and arrived at the campus five minutes late. I am kicking myself for being such a neo-Luddite and not owning a GPS unit of some sort. I couldn’t find the darn building where the class was being held! Fifteen minutes and 2 1/2 times around the campus later (and a stop to ask for directions, which were the same as I had originally received), I finally found the proper building. I was the last person to arrive and occupied the last chair – in the back – in an aisle. (I found out that others also had trouble finding the building, but they had planned better and were not as late as I.) On a side note, I timed my trip back through virtually no traffic and it took 32 minutes. So, the information I was given was faulty and I will check myself next time rather than rely on someone else.
I learned quite a bit, met some interesting people, and even interacted with an engineer whose wife homeschools their children. On one name tag, I recognized the name of a co-worker of my husband’s, so I took the risk that it wasn’t a like-named individual and introduced myself. He started out by not seeming to know who my husband was, even though they work together often. Then, he wasn’t interested in small talk, so I excused myself rather quickly.
My husband has since run into this individual and he admitted he was in a state of shock when we met me. He had “no idea” that I was an engineer, to say nothing of the fact that I had my P.E. license. He was apparently tongue-tied by this revelation.
I had to laugh. Most people who live around here who find out that I’m an engineer presume I work at my husband’s workplace. They are shocked to find out that I mostly stay at home and take care of children. (I do around two-to-three small “freelance” jobs a year.)
I need a few more PDHs by the end of the year, so my “school days” aren’t over yet.