Invest in the best – Yourself
Jeanie, project manager for a leading design build electrical, mechanical, communications and fire sprinkler contractor based in Salem, OR told Session 3B of the Leadership Development Lab (LDL):
“In 2014, I was hired on as an administrative assistant for Jet Industries. In December 2017, Chuck Evans, the General Superintendent of our division stopped by my desk and asked me again if I was ‘absolutely sure’ I didn’t want to become a Project Manager. This was the third time he had asked me, I always just laughed at him. I have no construction background and my formal education and former experience has been in accounting.
“That night when I got home, I thought more about his question. The next morning, I asked Chuck if he was really serious. He said he was quite serious. I told him I was very interested in this expanded professional role and career advancement. This was the beginning of our conversations about what my next steps would be.
“Even though I’m a single mom with a full-time job, I decided to enroll in Oregon State University’s Project Management Training class to get my project management certification. To be certified, I had to take and pass five online courses. Each course is five weeks long, for a total of 25 weeks of after work, evening homework.
The program consists of the fundamentals of construction documents, essentials of estimating, fundamentals of bidding, tips and techniques for effective scheduling, project cost control methods, managing projects, and fundamentals of leadership. I enrolled, worked hard on all five courses and successfully completed the certification program in September 2019.
“The lesson I learned from this experience is the importance of believing in myself and speaking up about what I want. I’ve learned that when I listen to and act on the encouragement of others, good things happen for me.
“The action I call for you to take is to be alert to the slightest signal of opportunity and advancement that come your way. When opportunity knocks, open the door!
“The benefit you will gain is doors will open and your path forward will unfold in ways you may not be able to imagine today.”
I was so moved when I heard this story. The course of Jeannie’s life and career were altered forever because her manager Chuck saw more potential in her than she saw in herself. He spoke the words that became, for Jeannie, a life sentence. You may have the power today to issue a life sentence, a word of encouragement, that could alter the direction of the life of a colleague, friend or family member. Don’t let it pass you by!
“If a man empties his purse into his head,
no one can take it from him.”
– Benjamin Franklin