What has been your most crucial career choice?
A few years abroad – both for my CV and for my personal development. After a few years of training, I quit my job and travelled to Germany. I didn’t get a new job, but I learnt the language, and after a year, I got a job in Cambridge, UK and worked there for four years. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done for my career – just to venture out into the world.
Is courage important to becoming a manager?
As a young woman, I was a shy little Stine who had never thought she could make it. I am no braver than the average person, but I have gone for the opportunities that have come my way. I believe that there is a “manager flower” inside many of us, but that it needs time and nourishment to grow and flourish. There is nourishment in both uncertainty, confidence, defeat and chances.
Is uncertainty a hindrance?
Excessive self-assurance can be interpreted as arrogance, and uncertainty must not take over. All of us feel it at times. The more I rose up in the ranks, the more I had to work with it. As a manager, you have to rein in your insecurity. But that’s why it’s still interesting to be aware of it and learn from it.
How do we overcome uncertainty?
It is important to give girls praise for what they can do and not just for who they are. Girls are often told they are sweet, neat and talented. I think it is important to give recognition for some specific competencies because it provides a sense of security that can be used when uncertainty raises its head. The most important thing is to believe that it will all go well. What you are as an 18-year-old does not define what you are when you reach forty.
What advice would you give to young people just starting in a career?
I meet young employees who want to be a project manager after one year, but I don’t think you will be the best boss as a 25-year-old. Take the time to gain experience, but say aloud what you are thinking so your manager and others around you know about it.
When I’m filling positions, I encourage people in the team to apply – but only a few do. It’s a shame. Even if you do not get the job, you have gone through the process of searching for and coming to an interview alone. So give yourself the chance and seize the opportunities when they are there.
Who has inspired you?
I haven’t really done it with role models, but I get inspired when someone has had to endure something extreme to achieve their goals – often within the world of sports. It is interesting to hear about their strengths, weaknesses and challenges. It also puts my own life into perspective and increases my satisfaction with a fairly normal everyday life.
How important is the salary?
I always want to place waste after nutrition, and the figure itself doesn’t mean much to me. But the pay has to be fair. I want nothing less than others who do the same amount of lifting. I also keep an eye on statistics, and if the average wage increase is five per cent, I will try to negotiate something similar.
There must be equal pay between men and women, but extra effort must of course be worth something. For me, it mostly means having personal freedom, and it also helps having a good salary – partly because I can pay to have someone look after domestic tasks on my behalf.
What does influence mean to you?
I like to make decisions and set a direction. I want to sign up for things wherever I can – including privately to school boards and the like. However, I am choosy about what I get involved in so as not to get snowed under. But I’m glad that I am up for it.
What should you avoid?
Sometime earlier in my career, I looked at becoming a project manager. It wasn’t approved and so it was not the position for me. My stance is that it is your own responsibility to find the motivation. It’s what drives the work in relation to your job. There can of course be bad or difficult periods for several months, but if something is not good, do something about it or, ultimately, leave. Don’t freeze up and run away from it; that’s not going to help. At the beginning of my career, I was feeling terrible for an entire summer vacation because I had to give a presentation after it. I did it and have gone on to do more. Nowadays, it doesn’t bother me to speak in front of an audience.