IEEE-USA in Action

Young Professional’s Voice: Setting Your Compass – Part 1: Finding Your Intersection

By Levi J. Lyons

What do you want to do in your life?  A myriad of people have undoubtedly asked each one of us this question, including college advisors, family and friends.  But how many of you can actually answer it?  If you can’t, I don’t blame you!  It’s hard for anyone to answer, as life encompasses so many dimensions.   Yet, being able to answer this question is one of the best things you can do for yourself.

At the most basic level, life can be separated into two key components:  personal and professional.  And as a young professional, I am now beginning to understand how intertwined these components are and how important it is to strike a balance between them.  So, this article is one of a two part series, where I will share with you tips and advice that have helped me set my own compass–by balancing personal and professional elements.  First, I’ll start with the professional aspect.

Finding Your Intersection

In your career, you need to strive to find the intersection of your passion, skills, and the market.

This advice has been among the best I have ever received!  If you can find your personal intersection, you will not only excel professionally, but you will also find a deep personal satisfaction within your work!  And if you do, don’t be surprised if you find yourself waking up in the morning saying, “I can’t believe I get paid to do what I do!”

But the challenge is finding your intersection.  This task requires much unforced introspection and self-evaluation; meaning, don’t put it on your schedule that between 7:00 and 9:00 p.m. this evening you are going to find your intersection..

It doesn’t work like that!  Let your mind drift naturally to these ideas, instead of forcing it.


Something I found useful is doing things you usually wouldn’t.  For instance, become an IEEE-USA volunteer (Link:, or attend IEEE-USA events.  These types of experiences are sure to give you perspective on not only what you are good at and enjoy, but what the market place has to offer you.

Also-be sure to find your quiet place after attending these types of events like.  You can do that by walking through the park, on the plane ride home, or sitting in a coffee shop; wherever your mind feels at ease, go there!  By taking quiet time for yourself, your mind can process the experiences,  and it will allow you to reflect on yourself and the new things you just explored.

These suggestions have helped me to set my own compass, but you need to find out what works for you!  The bottom line is spending time with yourself to find your intersection.  Do it-you’ll be glad you did!

Tune in next time for Part 2 of this series!

Levi J. Lyons is the Young Professionals’ Voice Editor, and a recent graduate in electrical engineering from the University of Kansas.


Guest Contributor

IEEE-USA is an organizational unit of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE), created in 1973 to support the career and public policy interests of IEEE’s U.S. members. IEEE-USA is primarily supported by an annual assessment paid by U.S. IEEE Members.

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