Multidisciplinary Problem Solving—A Rewarding Career
Working with engineers, I am often asked why I gave up a promising technical career to become an attorney. I explain it is because I enjoy solving multidisciplinary challenges. Working as an in-house attorney for a technology company, I must understand and consider the legal, business, and technical fields when proposing a solution.
I developed a passion for math and science in high school, when I learned that these subjects allowed me to understand how things worked. As a teenager, I asked to attend an engineering camp as a birthday present. At camp, competing in (and winning) a robot design competition cemented my desire to major in engineering. A year later, I started studying engineering at MIT.
During college I tried various jobs that were valuable in teaching me which careers I did not want to pursue—computer programmer or an engineer in academia. As I narrowed my options, I questioned leaving engineering, especially when I discovered that I had a talent and interest in strategic thinking.
Although a student athlete, I was never the star athlete. In high school, I was confused when a teacher nominated me for an athletic award. At the time, I presumed it was because of my top grades on the written physical education tests. In college when I broke my hand at practice, I realized what that teacher saw in me. While training my replacement I discovered I had unique abilities to read the field and strategize. While watching the remaining season from the sidelines, I knew I wanted a career where I could leverage these abilities. However, I was still interested in understanding and improving technology. As I entered the workforce, I expected my career to lead me to work on the business side of an engineering company and possibly pursue my MBA.
As an engineer, I was fortunate to land a stint in my company’s large law department. Writing patents and helping with contract negotiations, I was able to learn about technology, but had to think in new ways. I had to consider the business goals, the technology, and the laws. The puzzle became more difficult to solve; hence, more rewarding.
Today, I work with teams from engineering and business to strategize, negotiate, and overcome challenges, so our company can help bring innovative products into people’s lives—from computers to helping with COVID19 research. The challenges keep growing and getting more interesting to tackle. I am glad I found this rewarding career.