It is that time of year, at the start of a new year, to take stock of our time: our past, present, and future. Without becoming too philosophical, the break that many individuals and their companies take during the year-end holidays and into the New Year gives most people pause to think about their lives, whether they are goal-oriented or simply trying to figure out where they are in life and in their professions.
Being part of an advertising/marketing-communications firm like SLN offers wonderful opportunities to meet many different people at many different levels of engineering, from advertising professionals to design engineers, and many of these folks share that experience I like to call the “formatting of the brain” that takes place with each New Year. Whether it is real or simply perceived, there has long been this feeling of getting a new start that comes with each New Year, as if we are all getting another chance to reach for some magic goal that has eluded us so far. RF/microwave engineers, of course, will tell you that time is a continuum, and that whatever holiday break we might have received didn’t change the date on their schedules, when a new design was needed, or when test data was required by part of the design team.
Still, even the most schedule-conscious engineers will admit that they notice the changing of the calendars and often use it to reminisce about the projects that worked out well, along with the different target goals that missed the mark. Whether it is an illusion, or self-hypnosis, or some other form of human weakness, many of us look at a New Year as a “clean slate,” and a chance to do all those things that we couldn’t get to in the previous year or in years past. That positive feeling may fade by midyear with the realization that nothing is new but, for right now, it is all optimism and a belief that anything is possible.
As I mentioned in a previous blog, it has been an enjoyable experience to be part of this industry for the last several decades. The RF/microwave industry is a special place, almost like an extended family where so many people know one another. It is an industry where we compete in a healthy way, with amazing advances from year to year at all levels, from semiconductors to systems and test equipment. For many in this industry, the New Year begins around mid-year, with the IEEE MTT-S International Microwave Symposium, and a chance to “strut our stuff” in front of hundreds of other companies and thousands of members of the RF/microwave community.
But in truth, the year starts now, on the first of January 2016, and a great deal of what will make news during the technical presentations and on the exhibition floor this coming May in San Francisco’s Moscone Center starts right now, with this New Year for 2016. The year lies before all of us, with a chance to do something special, something remarkable, something that we have never done before.
It won’t come easy, but it can come for anyone who wants to make things better. It might be the noise figure in a low-noise amplifier (LNA) or the phase noise of a frequency synthesizer or oscillator. What makes this industry so great is that so many of us do embrace the New Year and all that it promises, and use the New Year to reach for those improvements in our work and in ourselves and our lives. For SLN, we try to contribute in our own ways, by creating a better advertisement for a client, or a better press release, or even a better Blog. The push is always there to make things better, and the New Year for 2016 provides that clean slate and a chance to make everything better for a full year.
For the RF/microwave industry, it is my wish that everyone has a happy and healthy New Year, and that they continue to improve and reach higher, reach for those things that seem impossible to do. By striving to improve, one day you may just realize that you have reached that goal. All the best, everyone.
Sheppard Leger Nowak