Who do you look up to? Write a bit about what makes that individual special for you.
F.C. goes on to suggest that it could be someone such as a teacher, friend, famous celebrity, or father-figure type. Since I’ve already went on-and-on about my father figures for Fathers Day weekend yesterday, I will talk about a friend of mine — in the professional sense, mind you — that I do look up to and admire.
The story goes like this: One May day 13 years ago, I was laid off from my previous place of employment. I spent that entire summer searching (and fretting) about potential employers and job feelers. I went so far as to search for job opportunities outside of the Green Bay area, where I was living at the time. I already did apply for 2 or 3 positions here in Madison (with no luck) until I found a posting for an open position here in MadTown, at the company that would become my current place of employment. The opening was for a call center-type of financial services position, and I had a very good interview with the hiring manager. She wasn’t sure about my qualifications, however, and she suggested another position in another department that was available. So I took a chance on applying for that position.
I’m so glad I did, because it was at the interview for that other position (a data entry/order entry-type of position) that I first met the person I look up to, whom to preserve anonymity I will refer to as “S.” From the second she walked into the interview room and we shook hands and introduced each other, “S” and I clicked. She had (and has) a quiet speaking voice yet a warm and friendly personality, which put me clearly at ease when answering her interview questions and offering my questions to her. (Side note of advice: Asking your own questions when interviewing for a job is a good sign; it shows that you have a keen interest in the job and the company.)
Needless to say after that, I felt real good about my potential with that company. So, did “S,” who forwarded (through their human resources department) an offer to me for the position the very next day. Well, I actually received two positions from the company: The offer from “S” and a just-opened-that-day customer financial adviser position from the hiring manager I first talked to at the company. I respectfully passed on the original manager’s offer and went with the offer from “S.” My professional reasoning was that the position under “S” would afford me the chance to look at various departments and potential positions the company had as a whole. My personal reasoning (and what I didn’t disclose, of course), was that I was so enamored by “S” and her pleasant attitude; I mean, after only one 1-hour interview with her, who wouldn’t be?
And with that, my professional relationship and long-time admiration and friendship with “S” began. She was just as friendly as a superior as she was in interviewer: Guiding, understanding, supportive, and (yes) professional. “S” was my first supervisor at my current employer, moving one step up to a managerial position in a departmental reorganization 16 months after I had arrived. Another reorganization almost two years after that led her to our company’s marketing department, where she now calls home and now utilizes the marketing idea skills she originally went to school for.
After all these years, “S” and I have remained pretty close professionally. Both of our lives and careers have taken their share of ups and downs — changes in job duties and supervisors and a near-layoff for me; for “S,” moves, more moves, marriage and loss, and 3 cute children. Even though we are just one floor apart at work, our respective busy schedules usually prevent us from regularly conversing. We still get to chat from time to time, however, sharing experiences and stories about our professional and personal lives.
I’m happy to know “S” as a colleague, and I’m honored to know that if my professional career heads out into the unknown, she will happily endorse my qualifications. Here’s hoping there’s someone just as special and meaningful in your professional life as well.