22nd December 2020

Love what you do – the importance of being ‘passionate’

Our Glasgow Director Isla Jackson takes our value of being passionate and shows that despite the challenges of 2020, there have been some upsides that remind us how much we love being engineers


pas·​sion·​ate | \ ˈpa-sh(ə-)nət  \

Definition of passionate

a: capable of, affected by, or expressing intense feeling

b: enthusiastic, ardent

At first, I found it difficult to relate the word passionate to 2020 ‘the year of the Covid pandemic’ as it has been so difficult for so many people. On reflection however, it has undoubtedly also brought opportunities, not least in the way we work with us afforded flexible working opportunities we would have never thought possible at the end of 2019. Whilst we may not be so passionate about back-to-back teams calls with pets and kids regularly conference call bombing, we might just have to admit that there have been some upsides! 


It is likely that once the lockdown restrictions end and personal choice returns, that we as engineers can embrace a more flexible way of working in an industry which has traditionally been resistant to adopting modern working practices. Not only should this bring a better balance to people’s working lives, it should help encourage diversity. Fingers crossed it may attract people from all walks of life and circumstances to consider engineering as a rewarding career that they, and we, can all feel passionately about. 


Our ability as engineers to make a difference in tackling the climate emergency has also ignited my passion. With COP26 due to be held in Glasgow in November 2021, we have the opportunity of a lifetime to showcase what our discipline and industry can do to help undo and right the mistakes of the past. Our disciplines of civil, structural and transport engineering place us at the heart of this activity and we take our responsibilities very seriously.   From our involvement in the design of low traffic neighbourhoods, active travel projects, implementation of Sustainable urban drainage systems through to our retrofirst projects which breathe new life into old buildings, our love of using sustainable materials,  there are many ways we can design for the greater good.  


It has certainly been a tough year for everyone but we should be proud of our achievements. If 2020 has shown me anything, having the support of dedicated colleagues, family and friends is essential to be able to thrive. It allows us the freedom to follow our passion for engineering and fulfilling our vision of helping people to lead happier and healthier lives.  

Love what you do – the importance of being ‘passionate’