Who's that Girl?


Job Shadowing: Your Passport To Success

Originally posted: March 26, 2010 on TrishMcFarlane.com

How did you decide on the career you pursued?  Did you know someone who had the job?  Did you see it on tv or hear about it from a high school guidance counselor?

There are many ways that people decide what the “perfect” job will be.  One way that students have been utilizing for decades is job shadowing.  Typically, this is an experience much like a field trip.  The student is assigned or chooses a career person to follow throughout a typical day of work.  The student may shadow several people, then typically creates a summary that is shared with classmates.  So, why aren’t we applying this more in our day-to-day roles?

I’m still relatively new at my job and my success will be largely affected by my getting to know the various departments I am supporting.  The best way for me to do this is to spend time with people in the department.  Some of the information can be learned through meetings or reading, but much more can be learned by observing how people actually work.  I’m finding that when I have opportunities to walk around with the employee to see what they are doing, how they interact with colleagues, and how they handle their level of responsibility, I have a much better understanding of how I can provide support that will be valuable to their individual needs.

Much like using a passport to track different countries you visit, why not have a plan to “travel” around your organization and learn more about the people?  You’ll find that whether you’ve been at the job a few weeks or many years you just may learn something new about your organization and the culture that drives the success.

Now, get out there and start traveling.

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