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JANUARY 2020 I DESIGN007 MAGAZINE 73 find PCB design specific groups such as an IPC local IPC Designer's Council Chapter. There are also other professional groups that meet via online sessions and industry trade shows. And if none of those avenues are available to you, send me a message. I can't promise that I will be able to help you with any specific problems, but I would be happy to at least say "howdy" in return. Conclusion Most of us are not designed for going through life in isolation, and I know that very well from my own experience. The good news is that there are lots of others out there in the PCB de- sign community that we can connect with to build our own professional network of peers. If you haven't done so already, reach out to your fellow designers. A solid network of pro- fessional peers that you can rely on will serve as a firm foundation to help you keep your footing steady under you in this industry. And with that, I suddenly have a hankerin' to find an old Western on TV to watch, so I'm going to skedaddle. Yee-haw, everyone, and keep on designing. DESIGN007 Tim Haag writes technical, thought- leadership content for First Page Sage on his longtime career as a PCB designer and EDA technologist. To read past columns or contact Haag, click here. The good news is that there are lots of others out there in the PCB design community that we can connect with to build our own professional network of peers. the technical sessions at those shows can be more valuable than you realize. You will meet new people who will become part of your net- work of peers and be able to relax with old friends. And if you're really lucky, you'll wind up in a hotel lobby where you can listen to Andy Shaughnessy and friends play a little music. That truly was a mighty fine shindig. 6. Support Not only do your peers understand what you do, but they also understand how you are mo- tivated by your career and how that contrib- utes to who you are. This puts them into the position of being able to help and support you in ways that others may not fully understand. I'm not suggesting for a moment that your net- work of peers should replace your family or friends—far from it. But I do believe that your peers provide another important part of your life that you need in order to be content and successful. Connect and Pay It Forward There's a lot more to networking than what you receive from your peers, however. To bring it all full circle and fully leverage the power of your professional network, you need to give out just as much in return. In other words, pay it forward. You may not realize it, but there are many others out there that could use your help and support just as much as you need theirs. And what is truly great is that when helping others with their questions and problems that, in turn, you end up helping yourself. There have been many times while helping a co- worker with a problem that I have ended up accidentally finding a solution for one of my own problems, and I wasn't even looking for it. So, don't be afraid to reach out and lend a hand when you can; it can be well worth the effort. Now, it is possible that you are in a position of being isolated yourself. Maybe you are be- tween jobs, work in a small company, or have co-workers who aren't very sociable. Fortu- nately, you have a lot of options. You can con- nect with others in your profession through so- cial media, or look up people that you went through school or training with. You can also

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