In short, I started with a very easy job. And quite frankly, I'm glad having had the opportunity to start on the floor. Since then, I have worked my way up. When looking on my CV, I now notice the curve I've made. My first job for a big company was Club Med. Actually this I do not consider as a job, but a life style. But more about this another time.
It took me until I was 34 before I started with a desk job... at a call centre. We were 10, and I remember wanting to give up the first weeks. My Team Leader was very good and told me not to give up so fast. Stick to the rules:
1. don't take things personal
I followed her advice and yes, I started to love what I was doing. Took initiatives, such as making a database with excel. What started off as my own project ended up attracting the interest of my Team Leader and several managers abroad.
In 1999 we were all made redundant, but what happened was not a negative thing. Quite contrary, it gave me a big opportunity. I moved to another country and started to work for IBM. That's when things really started to change for me. Started as an agent, taking calls. Soon got more responsibilities and before I knew, I was ready to become a trainer. Next steps were logical ones... each one with more responsibilities, my last one Team Leading.
When you start at the bottom, you learn the tricks of the trade. Experience of how people dealt with you, you see where things can improve. Being on both sides of the line, you see two perspectives which give you a tremendous advantage.
These last years I've noticed how young people, just finished school start off as agent, next day they want to be a Team Leader and the day after that a manager. (figure of speech). And several companies give big responsibilities to those youngsters. Resulting in inexperienced people being responsible of experienced people.
My first Team Leader at IBM was 10 years my junior. Though 26, he had quite an experience; he knew exactly how to treat his staff. When he asked us something, people already did it, as it was doing a favour back to HIM.
Key to all this is: experience. How can someone manage people when they have no life experience?
I do not say studies are not important, quite contrary. But even with high education, you still need experience. Especially when leading people. I've worked with several bosses, but few leaders.
Again, I'm glad I've done the jobs from cleaning all the way up to where I am now. And can proudly say: I've worked my way up.