The most important thing is freedom
In Jane Kaasgaard’s opinion, freedom is the best thing about being a manager. The higher in the hierarchy, the more freedom you have in all parameters – from practical to financial. So her recommendation is to go for responsibility.
When Jane Kaasgaard was 27, she was offered her first management position. Her boss quit, and she was given the opportunity to become the manager of her own colleagues in a department where she was among the youngest members. With the title of strategy director, she also had to refer directly to the CEO.
“The weekend before I was nervous, but none of my former colleagues seemed surprised, and everyone took it well. The challenge was that one of the group’s most central strategic events was just two months later. My learning curve was quite steep.”
The first department was reasonably homogeneous, and that facilitated Jane’s first steps as a manager. Today, her area of responsibility is the group’s digital transformation, and this requires employees with versatile skills and personalities to develop new digital solutions and optimise processes.
“The more diverse an employee group is, the more clearly a manager must communicate. Age, background and professionalism mean that everyone learns and understands differently. I don’t get involved in everyday operations myself. Instead, I set the direction, and if I’m going to get everyone to follow along, there must be no doubt as to what I mean.”
Seek experience and knowledge
“Becoming a manager starts with having a good manager yourself. I have been lucky with mine and have sought their advice and input as sparring partners – both while they were my superiors and afterwards. At the same time, I have sought responsibility. Don’t point out challenges. Instead offer to solve them, if you want to be a manager.”
As a recent graduate, Jane Kaasgaard started working for the Tryg group aged just 23, entering the graduate programme immediately. As a gifted person, she chose the direct route to university without hesitation and has a clear opinion about the choice of qualifications.
“It’s important to choose your qualifications according to the life you want in terms of job opportunities, earnings and management responsibility. I wish I’d studied more serious subjects in finance and technology, because it’s harder to gain the basic understanding of these later.”
The important freedom
While the professional skills should ideally be there from the start, Jane believes that management is more something to be learned than taught. In particular, she has learned to gain an overview and set an overall plan from the beginning. At the same time, there are great benefits from being able to make decisions.
“The higher up you get in the hierarchy, the more influence and freedom you get. As a manager you have the freedom to set the direction and decide how to use your own time. I travel a lot and I have long working days, but I pretty much decide when I work.”
The financial gain that comes with a top job isn’t Jane’s primary motivation, even though she admits that of course it’s important. It allows for a life of more pampering, more experiences, fewer worries and the money to buy help in the home.
“It must never be the fear of losing a high salary or status that makes you stop challenging yourself and dreaming bigger. Looking up and taking on greater responsibility brings risks, but qualifications are a safety net that means you can always get a job.”
A secure foundation
At work, Jane enjoys constant challenges, but in private she looks for security. She
has been with her husband since she was 17, and not much has changed in their circle of friends.
“For us, leisure isn’t for marathon training or time-consuming hobbies. Instead, we prioritise having an open home with room for parties and guests. High tempo and challenges are all very well, but in private I like to be able to relax and let go of making decisions.”
The couple has a good consensus on the priorities and responsibilities on the home front. For their first son parental leave was shared, and it will be the same again when his little sister arrives this summer. Not because of Jane’s job and career, but because she and her husband both want children – and to spend time with them.