Our profile this month is all about IAM Fellow Member Linda Broom. Linda tells us all about how her career started and the challenges and achievements she has faced.
1. Tell us a little about your career
I left school at age 16 and started working as a junior in a typing pool, in the days when an electronic typewriter was considered cutting-edge technology, and the Internet had not yet been invented. At this point in my life I didn’t have any idea about what career path I wanted to follow and was just pleased to be offered a full-time job!
Over the years my career has steadily developed and I have taken on ever-increasing levels of responsibility and got involved with a wide variety of admin support tasks. I am now in a senior role, run a small team and am involved with developing strategies to help raise the admin profile within my company and develop a structured career path for admin staff across the business. I continue to learn new skills, gain experience and seek out opportunities to advance my career.
In addition to gaining valuable admin skills I have learnt how to administer first aid and literally fight fires, having also performed First Aid and Fire Warden roles.
In summary, I started out doing a job and ended up with a long and successful career.
2) How did your career start and where has your career taken you
I moved jobs several times during the early stages of my career and gained valuable experience working in secretarial and admin roles in many different organisations in the south and east of the UK. My first job was in the offices of a large retail department store in Plymouth, Devon where I learnt how to adapt to office life and improved upon my basic typing skills.
After about 3 years I moved to Uxbridge in Middlesex, where I spent a couple of years working for the MoD on a Royal Air Force base. This was a totally different experience where I had to learn the specific military requirements for typing documents and was required to sign the Official Secrets Act. There was also the added benefit of a great social life!
I then moved to Norfolk where I spent a few years at a training centre for construction workers where I assisted in the supplies and purchasing department, before moving back to my home town of Plymouth. I did some temp work at Accountants and Solicitors before landing a full-time job at a firm of Loss Adjusters. I was then asked to join another firm of Loss Adjusters who were setting up in Plymouth, which was an exciting time when I helped to get the new office up and running.
A change in my personal circumstances found me making the decision to move to Taunton in Somerset where I worked for a firm of Commercial Property Consultants for 8 years, before finally settling at a Civil Engineering/Development Design Consultancy, where I have remained for the last 20+ years. The role I have now is completely different to when I started and continues to develop, with lots of new challenges on the horizon.
3. What are the challenges you find in your workplace?
Developments in technology have played a large part in changing the role of admin staff, leading to an increase in the pace of work and expectations from clients that everything should be done immediately. The requirement to keep clients happy and do a good job quickly means that responding to tight deadlines and last-minute requests for assistance is a constant challenge.
4. What are the challenges you find in your role?
Managing expectations of clients and colleagues. Keeping up-to-date with developments in technology. Finding enough time to complete all the tasks required of me while also trying to develop my role – if only I had a few more hours in the day!
5. What is the best advice you could give to someone in a similar role and how to progress
Accept every opportunity that comes your way, learn from others and challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone – you don’t know what you are capable of until you try.
6. what do you think the most important things are for people to develop in the current market?
It is important to keep up-to-date with advancements in technology and understand how this can be used to provide greater support in the workplace.
You should focus on expanding your network to raise your profile and open up the possibility of new opportunities.
7. What do you feel your best achievements are?
Throughout my career I have always managed to avoid being in situations where I was required to do any public speaking and it is something that I never imagined I would ever be able to do, as the thought of standing in front of a room of people and speaking to them was way out of my comfort zone. However, recently I was asked to give a presentation at an event I helped to organise. I thought about making an excuse and getting someone else to give the presentation, but then decided that it was about time that I challenged myself to give it a go. I did a lot of preparation in advance and I am very proud to say that the presentation went well, I received lots of encouraging feedback and I actually even enjoyed it! This was a huge achievement for me and a massive confidence booster