By Olivia Moen, DLE Copywriter/ Content Creator Intern, Undergraduate at Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY
Establishing trust in the workplace is essential for collaborating with colleagues. Austin Perry has spent the past few years learning the importance of trust during his time in the Engineering Leadership Program at General Dynamic Mission Systems.
He is participating in a three-year rotational program that prepares leaders for an adaptive work environment through career development, training opportunities and volunteer activities. A 2019 graduate of Clarkson University, Austin has moved three times, taking on new roles in system engineering and integration and test engineering.
“It’s nice because if you don’t know what you want to do right out of college, the program gives you the opportunity to explore multiple different things. I still don’t know what I want to do. I want to keep rotating to new positions because I haven’t found my niche yet,” he admits.
He recalls that he faced some unanticipated challenges in building credibility while trying to collaborate with coworkers during rotational stints. “I was so hesitant to speak up because I felt like I was bothering people. I quickly learned that sitting there and struggling was the real bother,” he reflects.
Austin discovered that the best way to effectively grow throughout this program is to ask for help from his colleagues. “You need to ask questions. I now have no problem asking anything and everything. If you have a question and you don’t ask, it will just slow you down and hinder you from moving forward,” he advises.
The program puts a strong emphasis on professional development and training in teamwork, communications and difficult situations. “These are things you don’t learn in college. When I am at work, it is a collaborative effort, and I’m working with multiple people,” he explains. “You must be able to accomplish a goal while working with people who might have different perspectives. Overcoming the ‘people problem’ is something you must get used to.”
Austin’s 2020 start in General Dynamic’s ELP coincided with his discovery of the DLE. He attended one of the last in-person events before the pandemic and instantly started to grow his network and communication skills.
As a participant in virtual Breakfast Club and Culture Chat programs during the pandemic, Austin credits the DLE with “giving me an open space to discuss how the pandemic was impacting my job. And it was nice to have others who understood and could relate,” he says.
Austin will complete his rotational program in May 2023 and begin another career journey with General Dynamics. The DLE looks forward to following along with Austin’s amazing career exploration!