Critical Review Vital for Future

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Eric Frederick |

Even in current management positions, develop and improve skills, columnist advises

ROANOKE, Va. — When was the last time you took the time to critically review your strengths and weaknesses? It is almost a universal desire to make more money and get a better job. Some of us wait for that to happen or anxiously wait for our boss to retire. 

But how many of us take the time to develop a plan to improve our skills in preparation for our next job? If we are honest with ourselves, we will recognize that, even in our current positions, there are skills that need to be developed or improved so we can do a better job.

I have seen many stories over the years about people who played the lottery and finally won the big prize. Sadly, these stories often end tragically in seven to 10 years because they were ill-prepared to manage or handle that kind of wealth. 

They lacked the self-discipline and money management skills to properly handle and invest such a large amount of money. It is spent foolishly and quickly disappears. Instead of blessing themselves and their children for generations to come, they quickly return to being poor.

There are many resources we can turn to for helping us do a self-inventory of our skills and develop a plan to improve. Many human resources departments or local colleges can assist with this process. 

Your fellow managers can also be a great resource. I would recommend that you talk with and spend a day job-shadowing a person at the next management level up. See what skills they use every day. Then, see if your current skills are adequate for the job.

Taking time away from our family, our friends, our church and entertainment is not easy. Do I really want to work on a management degree or go on a pub crawl with my buddies? What I am asking you to do is to live like no one else so later you can achieve and live a better life. I am asking you to invest in yourself. As my mother would have said, “It is time to put your adult pants on and see yourself as you really are.” 

Many hospitals are requiring key department managers to have at least a bachelor’s degree. I warned my company that it might overly limit the potential pool of applicants for my position when I retired, but they did not care. 

It is part of a growing trend. If you want to run a large laundry or a central laundry, you best be sure you get a bachelor’s degree. I personally would recommend a business degree. Out of all the courses I took in college (my major was recreational land management from the Forestry Department at Utah State University), the contracts course I took as part of my business minor has been the most useful.

You need to become proficient in the use of Microsoft Word and Excel. You need to understand employment law and federal regulations as they relate to our business. You need to develop excellent customer service skills and work diligently on your communication skills. 

Yes, education without experience is useless, but experience alone will no longer consistently get you promoted. You need to blend the right amount of experience with the right amount of education to make yourself highly promotable. No one will do this for you.

You are in charge of your own destiny. It will take self-discipline and planning and a willingness to sacrifice fun activities today to achieve for a more wonderful future. In the end, your eventual
success or failure will be the direct result of how you react to this message.

About the author

Eric Frederick

Eric Frederick served 44 years in laundry management before retiring and remains active in the industry as a laundry operations consultant. You can contact him by e-mail at elfrederick@cox.net or by phone at 540-520-6288.

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