April 2018 is my tenth year of employment with
a nonprofit which serves people with disabilities. My role at UCP of DE is to assist people who contact the federally-funded Client Assistance Program, which is administered in this state by UCP. On this milestone anniversary, I think it is important to reflect on some of the things I have learned over the years.
My current job as of this writing is the first long-term employment I have had thus far in my life. As a result, it was necessary for me to learn a lot in those early days. Over time, I learned the value of flexibility to grow professionally and learn new things.
My advice to anyone new to the world of work: expect and accept change, even if it means getting out of your comfort zone. Be open to learning new things because no-one knows everything.
- Different Leadership Styles
In my current job, I have had 3 immediate supervisors. Two of those individuals are now deceased. I noticed over years of experience that each boss had a different leadership style. As a result, I learned the value of accepting that each boss’s personality was different. It was necessary for me to adapt how I interacted with each individual.
Advice: It may be necessary for you to adapt office behavior and/or method of communication to suit the boss and his or her way of doing things. Never assume that a supervisor who replaces someone else will be like the previous boss. Remember that every person is unique, whether you are an employee, a manager, or the company CEO.
I have enjoyed getting to know the various coworkers I have had over the years. As an optimist, the value of positive interactions has been reinforce for me in the workplace. Since UCP’s company culture is similar to a family, maintaining positive relationships with coworkers has been relatively simple. The lesson was the importance of a consistent positive attitude.
Advice: Whether you work for a large corporation, small nonprofit, state agency, federal government or somewhere in between, strive to maintain a positive attitude. Negative attitudes could rub off on coworkers . This could affect your mood and productivity for the rest of your workday. Remember that some coworkers may be negative by nature. If you have to work with someone like that, try your best to be encouraging and serve as a role model.
It truly is a joy to work for United Cerebral Palsy of Delaware. Since they serve people with disabilities, I have always felt part of the “family”. For example, I have always been able to implement or obtain workplace disability-related accommodations. By continuously accepting people for who they are and being open to learn, I am confident that I will continue to be successful on-the-job. It is my sincere hope that I can continue my employment with UCP of Delaware for another decade. Or two. Or three…