Hope you all had a lovely 4th! I ate good food and hung out with friends, watched fireworks and got sunburned. I mean really, what else do you want from a holiday?
When I got back to the office today, I had an email pop up from an unexpected email address - my boss from my last internship. He was just checking in, saying hello and wishing me the best in grad school. He said the guys in the office would be happy to get an update from me, and - AND - I quote: "In fact, if you ever have an interest in getting back into the [cool engineering type] industry, I am sure that we would all beat a path to your door!"
How cool is that? Not only do my coworkers remember me, they apparently have forgiven the explosion in my test setup and still want to keep in touch! :) (See below for a picture of the kind of thing I worked on that summer. I lit one with a mixture too rich in hydrogen. Fun times.)
Well, ego boost aside, I realized that this is classic networking.
So many engineers I know dismiss the concept of networking as something the business people focus on, as a waste of time. We engineers are not built for mingling - receptions with appetizers and chit chat and rubbing elbows just generally makes an engineer's toes curl.
But I've tried to avoid falling into that trap. All the internships I've gotten have come through people I know, my advisors in undergrad and grad school have been through personal connections, and I've had a couple really neat collaborations through people I've met through introductions.
Although I know they are sometimes necessary, I still don't really enjoy attending meet-and-greet type events. But I tolerate them.
And I can at the very least return emails from old coworkers, and keep that part of my network alive. Never know when it might come in handy. I may want to blow things up for a living one day, and it's good to know I have someone to call!