Diane “grew up on the wrong side of the tracks” and when she graduated college, the expected career path started and ended with becoming a secretary. She paused, “I didn’t really want to become a secretary.” She then went on to talk about her first few jobs and explain another epiphany - she wanted to be a difference maker wherever she worked. “I didn’t want to be someone that could be easily be replaced. Where I would leave and they could find someone to do just that job and forget that I was ever there.”
Throughout the talk, Diane hinted at things she had learned during her time working, mental notes she took on what she had observed (including not being a secretary or easily replaced). Toward the end of the discussion she brought those hints full circle, imparting some advice on the interns in the room. “Notice and take note of things your superiors do. I did, I saw things my bosses would do that I thought ‘I’m definitely not going to do that when I’m a boss’, it helps you step back and decide what kind of manager you want to be. You learn what really matters.”
The conversation wrapped up on two thoughts:
One, show up to interviews early. Sit and observe what’s going on. Are people friendly, smiling, happy… or are they distant and unpleasant. A lot can be said for watching a company work, it can help you decide if it’s really somewhere you want to work.
Two, Keep up! Things change so quickly, technology, rules, culture. Spend time getting to know what’s changing. They used to say that you spend 25 years learning and then you apply it to your career. But now, at the rate everything is changing, you have to learn and work at the same time.