The following is a guest blog contribution by Elizabeth Reusswig, Owner of Boutique Concierge Services…
One of my very first jobs was working as a secretary (yes, this was before the term administrative assistant existed) for a food brokerage firm. It was an interesting job where I learned that what we see in the grocery store and how we see it is actually carefully considered, and at times bargained and fought over. I was green, but eager to learn and the office manager, Roseann, was very old-school. She had extremely high standards and expected her girls (yup, we were girls) to be equally as professional.
At first glance, many might expect that she and I wouldn’t have been too compatible. I was fresh out of school, full of enthusiasm and spunk. Roseann was in her fifties, divorced and childless. Her job was a large part of her life and although she took it very seriously, she also integrated a sense of humor and fun into her managerial style. We became quite close. Roseann saw something in me and took me under her wing. I respected her and viewed her as a mentor. She taught me how to behave in the business world and how to let things that didn’t matter pass without a lot of emotion. Her lessons have served me well in not only my professional life, but my personal life as well.
As a manager, Roseann was never condescending or overbearing in her approach. If one of us messed up, she handled it with just the right combination of letting us know what we did and how to fix it. She had an uncanny ability to detect our strengths and weaknesses and she directed us toward those tasks that best suited us. Some of us thrived under this direction, others did not, but I always felt those who resisted were missing the boat.
Roseann passed away several years ago and I miss her. I had long left the company, but she and I had stayed in touch. She was an important mentor to me through the years and a great sounding board for many of the professional choices I have made. I think of her often and wonder how she would have handled certain situations. The best part is, due to her steady guidance all those years ago, most times I already know the answer.