By Jennifer Erb
2017-03-292017-04-18https://wvuieleaders.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/[email protected]WVU IE200px200px
IMSE Undergrad Class of 2015
What does the company do? Eaton is a power management company with 2016 sales of $19.7 billion. We provide energy-efficient solutions that help our customers effectively manage electrical, hydraulic and mechanical power more efficiently, safely and sustainably. Eaton is dedicated to improving the quality of life and the environment through the use of power management technologies and services. Eaton has approximately 95,000 employees and sells products to customers in more than 175 countries.
Current role: Distributor Sales Specialist, Electrical Sector, North American Sales (NAS)
How I got to my current role:
A day in life of Technical Sales – There is no such thing as a typical day in North American Sales. For the most part, we go by the needs of our customers. I’ve worked 12+ hrs. days and there were days when I had nothing on my schedule.
I work in a flexible and family-oriented work environment so “in the office from 8 to 5” is a norm but not a requirement. Some work from home 2-3 times a week to meet the needs of their families or for personal matters. Having a company laptop and phone allows us to take our work with us on the road. Because of that, it is not unusual to email exchange at odd hours. I frequently get emails from my boss into the night because he can get a lot done without anyone interrupting.
Below is an example of a recent day I’ve had.
I start my morning around 6:00 in the morning which is just in time to greet the cold dark air here in Nashville. My first order of business is taking care of my sweet dog, Bella who does not love the cold mornings as much as I. We continue our day with coffee (there must always be coffee) and a light breakfast while watching what has been happening in the world through the local news outlet. After my coffee has finally sunk in, it is time to shower, grab the Eaton polo I love so much, accessorize with my pink suede pumps and hit the road by 7:30. Living in Nashville has taught me patience as my first order of business outside of the house is embarking on a 30 minute commute which is normally 15 minutes in the rural areas I grew up in.
As I arrive at Eaton, I always make a point to say hello to the folks in the office; they may not tell you they appreciate it, but acknowledgment makes everyone feel better. I have a Veridesk at work which allows me to work sitting down or standing up. I like to start my time in the office standing so I immediately put it in the standup position, kick off my shoes, put my laptop in the docking station and fire it up to start the day. By the time I get to work, I already have a few emails from my distributors in East TN. Working across two different time zones each day is a point of awareness that weighs heavy on my mind each morning as I have to have detailed consideration of when and where my meetings with distributors will be held so that it is convenient for both parties.
After arranging my desk I take some time to converse with my colleagues because at the end of the day they become your second family and building that relationship is one that should not be taken lightly. I then begin putting out fires that have come across my desk that morning. Once I make it through my morning emails, I refer back to an ongoing to do list I create almost every day to ensure I do not miss a task. Once all of the pertinent tasks are complete, such as making pricing adjustments, preparing for upcoming meetings, or reviewing product line announcements, I head out the door to see my distributors.
I ordered some literature to accompany a new product, and now it’s time to go around to make the personalized deliveries. First, I head downtown to see my biggest residential distributor. The meeting is very informal; joking, catching up, and talking about the recent University of Tennessee loss. I gather the counter sales guys once the customers have left and educate them about the new product. While I’m there, I check in with everyone to see how things are going. One thing my distributors tend to do is wait until I come by to tell me about their laundry list of problems. This is why it’s important to make sure you’re going to see them in person. Once I’m finished, I grab a few of the guys and we head out to Edley’s BBQ for lunch. After our meal, I drop them off at the office and continue on my daily journey to see the rest of the distributors I have scheduled.
While on the road, I’m constantly getting emails and phone calls about different things. I have my work email on my phone, so I try to catch up in between meetings. My last stop for the day is less than a mile from my apartment which allows me to wrap up my day with ease by finishing up emails and then taking Bella back outside.
Once 5:00 PM rolls around, I change into my gym cloths and head to my cross fit gym for a quick workout. After that, I head back home to make my dinner – something I received in my HelloFresh box. They give you the ingredients and the recipe; all you have to do is make it!
At the completion of my day I feel completely drained which results in the dishes waiting until the morning. I wash my face, get ready for bed, take Bella out one last time to enjoy the refreshing Nashville air, and then hit the sheets before starting all over in less than 9 hours.
Why I chose the construction industry? I didn’t choose the construction industry, it chose me. When I was a junior looking for an internship, I had no idea what type of IE position I wanted, nor what industry I wanted to explore. It came down to three different options: Facilities Management at a Government Agency, and Technical Sales at TE Connectivity or Eaton. I knew little to nothing about what these positions actually did for these companies, and after research prior to my interviews, I was a little wary about how I could add value to such companies. I currently work in the electrical side of the construction industry, and I’m an IE; how is that going to work? Ultimately, my interviews with the Eaton recruiters made me very excited about the possibilities to come. An offer was extended, and I happily accepted. After the conclusion of my internship, I was offered a position in Eaton’s Technical Sales Leadership Development Program and I knew that was the path I wanted to take.
What’s the end goal? It is a little early in my career to know exactly what I want my end goal to be. However, my 5 year plan puts me somewhere closer to a Manager of People level. I’m not sure in what capacity quite yet, but I know I want to help shape others the way so many have helped shape my career in these short 2 years, and even in college by Dr. Jack Byrd. I may not have a typical IE job title, but the skills I was taught at West Virginia University, and my personal interests allow me to be versatile and mold myself to a variety of positions within Eaton.
Most surprising thing that I didn’t expect coming out of college – We learn in college the engineering field is historically a male dominated field, despite the growing interests by young females. Although the mindset is changing with the current millennial generation, the real world is still saturated with men from the generation who do not think women belong in a “man’s world”. You have to learn not to take things personally, and just keep proving yourself day in and day out; but do not ever be afraid to stand up for yourself in a tactful manner. To put things in perspective, I am the only female in my 20 person office aside from the Administrative Assistant.
Least favorite thing about corporate – Decisions made by our leadership sometimes lean in the favor of our shareholders, rather than the employees. I do not have the experience of a CEO, but I am sure it is a constant see-saw of who they should please that day. However, Eaton manages to feel like a little big company, and I am always finding another Mountaineer in the Eaton network.
My 2 cents – Get your nose out of your electronic devices and continue to network, even after you have your job. Decisions are made people, not computers. You never know what position someone will be in tomorrow. A quick story – when I began my LDP year in Cleveland, OH, I had a fantastic boss. He was enthusiastic, pushed me to my max and beyond, but always made work fun. Three months in, he made a huge jump from an Area Sales Manager for Northern Ohio to the Director of Engineering Service Sales for North America. I made the most of those three months with him, and I know he will not forget Sarah Taylor.