ILMA Compoundings June 2018 - 31

that you understand what's happening
behind the scenes. It's the same thing
with technology. I came up doing it
the old-fashioned way; now I have
perspective on things. I understand
the nuances and the changes and can
identify how things may be different
and recognize those differences."
Materials testing is just one area in
which Novak sees firsthand how much
value her perspective offers. A lot of
the test methods in Novak's field have
been altered or modified based on the
technology available. Her position
requires a uniquely critical eye that she
honed many years ago, when the job
was more analog, and she recognizes
the value in that: "There are benefits to
the technology, but you still need that
basic skill set that you started off with."

Mentorship
Opportunities Boost
Industry
For employers in the lubricants
industry, another advantage of hiring
seasoned talent is the unique capability those hires have for mentorship.
"Older employees have this massive
database of industry knowledge,"
Kielts explained. "There's got to be a
way by which that knowledge is transferred to a younger generation. I think
a mentoring program does a great job
of doing that."
Breitigam and Novak both agree
that their capacity for mentorship is
one of the most enjoyable parts of
their jobs. "I get to share knowledge
and experiences, and I always tell
people that I'm available to just have
a conversation. You don't have to feel
like it has to be a formal question ...
just run some ideas by me, or voice
some concerns. There are lots of ways
to learn things - you can learn things
online, you can learn through formal
programs, and sometimes it's just
through conversation."

The skill of mentoring is unique to
the seasoned employee's wheelhouse,
and it is about more than helping
younger employees learn and grow. It's
about giving back to the industry itself.
"My industry has provided me a
good living and made things possible
for me that I wouldn't have experienced being in another industry,"
Novak explained. She, like many
others with similar career paths in her
field, feels a responsibility to help the
industry to continue on and to help
other people to understand the industry and the opportunities it holds.
"In the last few years," Breitigam
concurred, "I have more joy in seeing
folks within an organization excel. I
get more joy out of helping them to
be successful than I do seeing my own
success, in a lot of ways. I want to
develop and get other folks ready for
future positions."

What Does the Future
Hold?
Even with years of experience under
their belts, like many other people
in their shoes, Novak and Breitigam
agree that they never stop learning and
progressing along with the industry,
nor do they plan to stop.
"Things are changing in our industry
all the time," Novak said. "I turn to the
people I feel have the best grasp on that
information. I'll reach out to them and
say 'Can you explain this to me?' I'm
constantly learning new approaches and
how to communicate them."
Or as Breitigam puts it more plainly,
"I can assure you that, especially in our
field, you can't know everything. Those
that think they do are dangerous."
Seasoned employees are essential
for the continued success of companies in the lubricants industry.
The most successful companies are
well-balanced companies which have a

broad mixture of older employees and
younger employees. A multigenerational workforce allows a business to
interact with their customers, who are
also likely to be multigenerational, in
a way that more realistically represents
the industry at large. It's a commonsense way to make those two parties
more comfortable with each other.

Getting the Edge in
Development
Novak has some time-honored and
tested advice for interviewers in the
industry: "Just because a person has
been in the industry a long time
doesn't mean they haven't grown,"
she said. "Always enter into conversation with those folks as if they have
something to offer, because there's an
offering there that may be overlooked.
There are many different types of skills
needed for this business - just keep
an open mind when you're interviewing someone who may have a few
more grey hairs than you expected
when you first saw their résumé."
Like most older employees in her
field, Novak even feels that her age
gives her an edge over younger candidates when it comes to an employer
finding the right person for the job. "It
definitely has given me an advantage,"
she said. Especially of late, it seems
that "employers are more likely to look
at people who might have been on the
fringes before."
"I think because of the breadth and
complexity of all the regulations, and
all the things we have to know and
manage, there's definitely a sequential
development path that you need to
take," Breitigam added. For seasoned
employees like him, that path is often
the exact thing employers want.
Moul is a freelance writer based on the East
Coast. He can be reached at 717-451-1301
or mouljames@gmail.com.

31



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ILMA Compoundings June 2018

ILMA Compoundings June 2018 - Cover1
ILMA Compoundings June 2018 - Cover2
ILMA Compoundings June 2018 - 1
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