Does an assistant and SAP consultant have anything in common? How can you steer your professional life and set new challenges? Datavard Consultant talks about her career choices and how working as an assistant helped her achieve her goals.
Lucia, you joined Datavard as an assistant. Many people still view this job as an entry position, but this was not the case with you.
That’s true, I never perceived it as entry position. I was working as an assistant at my previous company and this was something that I wanted to continue. I just knew there was much more to learn from it. Maybe because in the past I met one colleague who was working as an assistant her whole life, and she was doing it really well. She had a lot of respect in the company, CEO valued her, and I admired her professional attitude. I believe that there are many jobs that don’t sound that amazing, but if you are performing them the best to your abilities then it is still a hundred times better than having a fancy title and doing a lousy work.
After two years you decided for a career change and became a consultant. Did your experience as an assistant help you with the new challenge?
I’m actually surprised how much it helped me, and on so many different levels. What I loved about being an assistant at Datavard was that (while still in my 20s’!) I could join various meetings where I shadowed experienced, senior colleagues. There was a whole portfolio of strong personalities which otherwise I wouldn’t have had the chance to observe and learn from.
This job also helped me to develop organizational skills. I had to cope with many mini-tasks like booking a taxi and bigger ones, like organizing events – both of which my boss expected to be done perfectly. My natural instinct was to deal fast with those tasks as they came, but I quickly realized that I needed a better structure. I learned how to prioritize and at the same time not to forget about anything.
Other benefit of the assistant’s role is that you see the background of the businesses and what is happening behind the scenes. Now, while working as a consultant, I have a deeper understanding why doing admin tasks like time recording is so important. Thanks to it I know that my job doesn’t end the moment I switch off a PowerPoint presentation at the customer’s.
When did you decide to switch your role? What influenced you?
The moment came when I realized I had already learned a lot and I started to look around for a new challenge. As an assistant I was organizing active knowledge sharing sessions where our consultants talk about Datavard solutions and latest projects. I always listened attentively and then one lecture really piqued my interest. It occurred to me that I could give it a try. I knew that I had good communication and analytics skills, while technical matters already sounded familiar.
How did your boss react?
He was surprised, but he listened to my arguments and he approached the manager of the team that I wanted to join. It took quite some time, but during this period I could already start learning for my new role – Associate Consultant.
What do you like about your work as a consultant?
I really like this mix of technical world with communication and social competences. I feel my work has a purpose – I know I am helping our customers and bringing them added value. I am present throughout the entire project and I see the results of my work at the end. On top of it, I enjoy working with our in-house software. By now, I know it like the back of my hand.
What do you think makes a good consultant?
Creativity and analytical thinking. Technical skills are one thing, but the way you process all information and how you arrive at the best solution that you later present to the customer – that’s another story.
After one year you were promoted to a Consultant. What’s your next career step?
It could be a product owner. For sure I never want to stop learning.