Several years ago, I came across an article which changed my (professional) life. It pointed me to the WOL-pages on Connext, our internal social media platform. When reading the 3 stories in the beginning of John Stepper’s book I realized that I shouldn’t wait for the opportunity to do what I really want to do in my professional career, I needed to create it.
At that point in time I set myself 2 goals to achieve and to work towards to, as is asked to do when entering a WOL-circle. Because I was too shy to jump into a WOL-circle, I started applying WOL little by little on my own to achieve these goals.
My first goal was to alter my job content. When my supervisor once asked me what my ambition was, I told him that it was to help people to get rid of dull, repetitive tasks by automating them. That was around 2005. With the WOL-philosophy in my mind and the tools becoming widely available, it was time to make my ambition true by creating the opportunity.
When the Office-365 Migration came, I became a guide as it is a natural thing for me to do, but it opened a whole new world to me. I entered a world of positiveness, people helping each other, never judging. Soon I took the decision that I wanted to make my job of this, using the New Work Style to alleviate administrative tasks for the people. When I talked to our Plant Manager about it, he saw the benefits and was opened to ‘create’ this job for me once I could give my current job content to others in my department.
After 1,5 years I was spending 75% of my time to this new job, when I was asked to be the Local Project Manager of a big transition project. After successfully finishing that, I hope to continue growing into my new job. But whatever happens, I know what kind of job I want to and, clearly, there is a need for it.
My second goal was to get rid of the unofficial dress code in our plant (long trousers for males), so I could wear more comfortable clothes. For me that means wearing a skirt. A lot of my colleagues were already aware of this, because in my free time I wear a skirt since 2007. With Working Out Loud in mind I started to come in skirt to the plant and change in the dressing room. Some of the events that I attended in 2018 and 2019 lasted more than 10 hours and my pain threshold wearing trousers would thus be exceeded. I asked for permission to attend in a skirt. Since the Guide Community is very open-minded, I didn’t expect too many problems with that, and I was right.
But then the pain threshold decreased to less than a working day. I went into medical treatment, but the pain didn’t decrease, on the contrary. Therefore, I now have an exception to the dress code and can wear a skirt at work. This means that my personal goal was reached, but, unfortunately, the dress code is still in place.
Continental promotes diversity, guide communities and WOL-circles, which helped me to find more job satisfaction, enabled me to explore my full potential and work comfortably.
This article was written by our employee.