What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?
Did you know some of the youngest among us hold wisdom beyond their years? The answers to this month’s question reflect sage advice learned by 14 charter members of the Young Gassers’ 30 UNDER 30 Program. They are young professionals in our industry who bring a unique perspective to their workplace and our broader propane community. Invited to participate in this column, several of them agreed to share their replies to the question above; advice gleaned from fathers, grandparents, friends, supervisors, and others.
The VERBATIM column poses open-ended questions to industry colleagues. Taken from a familiar “Heard on the Street” format, we offered the “30 UNDER 30” group a chance to reply via e-mail. Below are their personal thoughts in response. [NOTE: The 30 Under 30 Program was created this year by the International Association of Young Gassers in conjunction with the National Propane Gas Association and the Canadian Propane Association. The program is meant to invest in, engage, and encourage young professionals working for companies directly involved in the propane gas industry. For more information, visit younggassers.org]
RESPONSES FROM “30 UNDER 30” MEMBERS
When I was a senior in high school, a family friend told me that I should always remind myself that “I’m third.” By prioritizing Faith and my loved ones ahead of myself, I’m able to keep things in perspective and focus on what’s important. In my professional life, the “I’m third” mantra reminds me to stay humble, while also giving me confidence knowing that I have a strong support system around me.
When entering the management program at Dead River Company, I was advised to learn as much as I could from all aspects of the company’s operations. A little less than a year ago I permanently began working within a service department. My knowledge and respect I gained have allowed me to show empathy for other departments such as delivery. I am now a firm believer that cross-departmental cooperation is key to success in this diverse industry.
Dead River Company
Cooler heads will prevail. The calmer and more focused you are with your thoughts, actions, and people, the greater influence you will have.
John Rosbough Trucking
My grandma’s motto was “everything in moderation.” I try to remind myself to practice this when it comes to work, stress, and chocolate.
RN Goss Gas Products
Throughout the course of my career, I’ve been fortunate enough to be placed under the tutelage of many great leaders and mentors, many of whom have given me invaluable advice and guidance. However, the piece of advice that has stuck with me the most has to be from my old supervisor at our Mt. Vernon, NY, filling station named Vishnu. The advice was simple, “You must adapt, or you will get left behind.” Vishnu emphasized embracing new technology and change, and would always stress the importance of not being “that guy” who’s first instinct is to come up with reasons to avoid change, rather than embracing changes through new ideas or technology. I’m sure everyone reading this right now has worked with someone who’s “that guy” at some point in their career (you may be thinking of a particular individual right now) and we all know how frustrating that can be. Moreover, having too many people in your organization with that attitude can quickly lead to its demise. A great example of how detrimental that mindset can be to a business is Blockbuster Video misjudging and dismissing the power and development of streaming services and getting taken out by Netflix. This advice certainly applies to our industry as well. With other competition like alternative energy rapidly gaining more market share every day, we too must continue to adapt and embrace new technology so we don’t get left behind, and I’m proud to work for a company that does just that.
Rye Brook, New York
The best advice I’ve received is, by far, to take pride in your work. Your work is a reflection of you.
You will never know everything…don’t be afraid to ask questions and put in the work to learn something new.
“Don’t fear making mistakes, be open and excited to learn from them”
Central Valley Ag
Slow down, don’t assume anything and ask many questions. This advice was given to me early in my career and has helped me through both my work and personal lives. Regardless the type of the task, whether it be solving a complex problem, assisting a customer or even general conversations with family, friends and colleagues, it always pays to approach the subject with an open mind, gather as much information as possible, and then make an informed decision.
New Providence, New Jersey
“Always do what you’re afraid to do.” Reality nowadays has shown us that life can be downright scary at times. Admittedly with good reason; each new day can bring about an unexpected situation that may be uncomfortable, unpleasant or disruptive. Facing these head-on are how you learn and grow. It’s something my grandfather always told me throughout my youth. This is how we live lives that are fulfilling!
Warm Thoughts Communications
Clifton, New Jersey
“Be kind to others.” Though this may seem quite vague, I believe this practice is fundamental for life. I have yet to see the downside of being respectful, empathetic, generous, patient, tolerant, and generally showing kindness to those around me. As they say, what goes around comes around. Kindness helps expand professional and personal relationships which will help achieve your goals.
The best piece of advice I have received is to learn from others’ mistakes. I have learned several times, the hard way, to overcome obstacles and tasks ahead of me, after realizing there are plenty of co-workers and peers that have been in similar circumstances. Most of these co-workers and peers are willing to give you the advice needed to simplify your next steps. Most often this can be seen by them as ambition to get the job done right. I have now learned over several years that when you are uncertain, just ask for advice! Sometimes this advice can be humbling as well!
Elon, North Carolina
“If you didn’t document it, then you didn’t do it”- A quote my father, Jeff Shaffer, always preaches during our safety meetings.
Shaffer’s Bottled Gas
Work hard, and in the end, it will pay off.
IN THE WORDS OF OSCAR WILDE…
“I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself.”
Perhaps this group of responders has disproved Mr. Wilde’s witty quote as several of them seem to use well the advice they received. And, now they have passed it on to you.
Nancy Coop, Cetane Associates
This column was first published in the October 2020 issue of Butane-Propane News.