Professional References: To Burn or Not (2014-04-03)

When growing up, we hear the expression “Don’t burn bridges”. Typically, I avoid telling people how they should live their live, and I am going to attempt to keep that same philosophy. The only thing that I am going to touch on is the need for professional references as an engineer.
During the application process to become a licensed engineer, many applications will require professional references. A certain number must be professional engineers, they cannot be related, and other restrictions exist for the reference eligibility. After a few years down the career path, I am once again asked to submit professional references for the purpose of generating a NCEES record, which is a compilation of my info for applying for additional professional licenses in other states. Once my NCEES record is complete, some states require current references submitted within a specific time frame.
While some folks may choose to burn a bridge, I am only going to state that at some point in an engineer’s career, they may come up short trying to solicit professional references if bridge-burning is a normal occurrence.

Moral: Always prepare for your professional future. Continuing to keep up with past professional contacts may be beneficial.