By Kimberly Bickoff
My name is Kimberly Bickoff, and I am a restaurant manager with a large restaurant chain. The company I work for came to my university to recruit interns for their internship program. My academic advisor told me he set me up with an interview… My response? “oh, well I’m not quite sure if restaurants are really for me”. His response? “it’s a great company, you’re doing it.” The end. Or should I say, just the beginning! The internship led to a “call us in a couple months” which lead to a job offer, which leads to me now: a 5 year tenured manager with the same company I was with before I even graduated college. Believe you me, I was sitting pretty my last semester of college knowing I had a job with fabulous benefits and perks waiting for me, when most of my peers where terrified of the unknown—not having a job or a plan for their future.
When people ask me how I got my job and how I ended up where I am now, to answer truthfully, I tell them “I fell into this”. Sometimes it’s not black and white. Hard work and dedication are always required, but sometimes it’s simply being in the right place at the right time. Now this never would have happened for me if my academic advisor didn’t see that special something in me- the drive, the passion, the dedication; but he did see it and it did happen for me. Which leads me to it’s also about who you know. Your contacts and connections are one of your most valuable assets. Knowing the right people is practically priceless.
In my company, like many others, to get what you want, you have to push for it. If you sit back and let it happen, it’s never going to come to you. Keep asking the questions: “what else can I do to get to where I want to be?” “What else do you need from me so I can get what I want?” When you put the pressure on your superiors they have no other option than to either give you what you want, or to give you clear concise reasons why you’re not already there. And in that case, you can work on them. Sometimes you have to constantly push, and sometimes you have to be pushed. Your mentors, colleagues, peers, and sometimes even employees are there for that. Seeing other peoples successes are the best form of motivation. Hearing about your colleagues goals can be really inspirational to raise your own.
The best advice that was ever given to me is “A successful leader is evidenced by the result he when he or she is absent”. It is important to make lasting relationships. You want your presence there at all times whether you are physically there or not. If this is the case, people will want to do the right thing—always.
What has made me successful is the constant desire to know more. I ask many questions to my superiors, as well as my colleagues. Some of my closest friends are also in the industry or even within the same company so I have many outlets for ideas, for answers to my questions, and even for motivation if I need it. We are all assets to each other and I take advantage of that. Thinking outside the box is important and this contributes to my success as well. Learning what motivates people is forever changing. What motivated someone last week may not be encouraging to them tomorrow. What motivates one person may not inspire the next. But when people feel truly inspired, they can and they will do anything for you.
My dream is to eventually own a house here, where I live on Long Island. Most people know this about me. I love it here, yet for most of us young people these days, it is a near impossibility to own a house in the area in which we grew up, where property taxes and houses are some of the highest in the country! But it is, and always has been my dream to own a house and live here, so I work my 50-60 hour work-weeks that always include nights, holidays, and weekends, to be able to eventually do so.
I wish everyone the best in whatever their endeavors may be. We can feed off of each other. We can be each other’s support and with this collaboration of young professionals we have yet another great asset to share and develop.
Welcome to the Young Professionals of America. The YPOA is a community of successful young professionals who have established themselves in and built careers across many industries. Whether you’re an accountant, a teacher, a financial advisor, or an engineer, the success stories and strategies shared by our professionals will help you land your dream job, get noticed, build a client base, and advance your career. It's not rocket science; it's common sense… but as they say, common sense ain’t so common.×