Editor's note: #MyGrowth is an ongoing series on USA Stories focusing on individual career management, leadership capabilities, and engagement across teams.
My customers and my team are always my first priority. The two aren’t separate, because the team is acting to support customer needs, two parts of one whole. When a customer—maybe a steel-making company or automaker—has an industrial drive or a power module fail in the field, they call our customer service group and bring that product into our repair center. Our techs take it through tests to identify the problem and take corrective action before running it through a system test. These assessments can involve drives or modules as small as a laptop or as big as three filing cabinets.
Onsite assessments got a little tricky in the first weeks of the pandemic. Lebanon, Ohio, where I’m based, was one of the first states to have stay-at-home orders, but we had customers calling from states that were still open. They needed our support. Their operations could not be shut down. So, of my 26 team members—spread across the Lebanon facility and in Elk Grove, Ill.—we had to figure out who could work remotely and who were the critical employees that had to report to the facility with employee safety at the forefront of our mind, and in compliance with varying rules about COVID-19.
Weeks afterward, we got clear proof of our efforts. In Q3 we had the best customer satisfaction results in my five years as manager, and that speaks to what the Siemens teams in Lebanon and Elk Grove can, and did, do. Helping people is our mission. It’s been my mission from a young age.
I’ve seen real resiliency from my team and from all around Siemens USA during this crisis. We’ve been there for our customers, while our IT team supporting Lebanon has ensured that we could all work and communicate remotely, as needed, with minimal disruptions. If there was any disruption of our work, we rebounded quickly, and that, to me, is what resiliency really is: the ability to bounce back after a fall. I’m a marathon runner, and I’ve been injured more times than I can count. I lived the demands of having to restart to get back into the race.
Planning and managing your career also calls for resiliency. You must persistently monitor your career growth, ask questions about where you want to go, and always look for the next opportunity. Don’t let anyone map out your career for you. Back in my first role with The Siemens in Customer Care Center, I applied for an open job that was very different from the one that I was in, a position that was quite similar to the role I hold today, but I wasn’t selected. I didn’t give up. I used the feedback from that experience to strengthen my skill set. I later applied for the role I’m currently in and was thrilled to be selected. Growing your career might include a lot of being told “No,” and you must have the resiliency not to take that personally. Use the feedback and grow your skill set. And make use of the resources Siemens offers you: strength assessments, job shadowing, mentoring, and tagging your areas of interest in the SOC.
I might be biased, but job wise I think this is a great time to be looking for a role in Digital Industries (DI). Big-data analytics and process mining are some of the most game-changing things ever seen, and if I were job hunting in this sector, I’d pay attention to these things because this is where the growth opportunities are.
I’ve also been so impressed that within DI there is such an acceptance of people doing things other than what their background or education would say that they can do. Look at me: I joined DI coming from a financial-industry call center. I’ve seen people within DI move successfully over to vastly different roles and thrive. The culture within DI values ingenuity and, as part of that, it promotes opportunities to do different things.
When I was 18, I woke up one day with a vision that I would use my career to help people and leave the world a better place. But at that young age, I really didn’t know how I was going to do that. If I could talk now to my 18-year-old self, I’d tell her that what you do day to day will change one-thousand times but as long as you wake up with the same desire to help people and change the world and this vision manages your day-to-day decisions, then you’re going to do great.