I spoke with UPS Director of Sales, Ben Abram, about his experience in the business field and the workforce as a whole. He has been with UPS for 30, going on 31 years. He started in the warehouse sorting packages and pushed his way through countless positions and duties in order to sit where he does today.
Luckily for me, I know that Ben has come a long way in his career because I have personally been able to see through his downfalls and successes, all the while calling him Dad. When it comes to leadership, hard work and communication, he is always the guy I turn to, which is why I chose to ask him a few relevant questions not only for myself, but for other curious college students as well.
Initially, Ben’s goal was to reach his current position as Director of Sales. After 30 years and finally reaching his goal however, he’s set new goals to reach. He hopes to reach Vice President of UPS within the next two years, which he believes to be a very realistic goal.
Though Ben has reached his initial goal and continued to make more, there were many instances when he was ready to throw in the towel. “Growing up in UPS was very hard. It was a tough management style,” he said of his earlier years with the company. However, he keeps in mind that the grass isn’t always greener, as many of his former coworkers who have left the company, often confide in him that they should have never left. His advice is to manage through it, after all, there are only 24 hours in a day.
I then spoke with him about the three most important attributes in not only his job, but any career. Everything he spoke of fell under one major category: People Skills
People skills are the number one skill that anyone in the workforce should have, according to Ben. People skills not only include the means of communicating well, but most importantly, that of listening well. A great communicator is useful, yet only when they are able to listen and critique how they communicate in order to keep up with the diverse world around us.
Emotional intelligence is also key in any career. Being able to read people and understand that not everyone learns, thinks and performs the same.
My next question pertained to millennials. I was dying to know how they were perceived in the workforce today. Are we really unreliable and self-centered as some say? According to Ben, we don’t stick to the status quo. For a lot of people, this is seen as a fault. However, Ben goes on to explain that because of this, millennials force him (and others) to think, to expand and to grow.
Women in the Workforce
Ben strongly believes that the “desire for women in the workplace to become leaders is greater than [he has] seen it in [his] 30 years.” People who aspire to do more and have the education and ability to do so, have no ceiling.
At UPS specifically, being a female in a high position is a big deal – UPS started as a bunch of male truck drivers in 1907 and was known as a white-male dominated industry. During his time with UPS, Ben has seen a complete 180 spin on how women in the workforce our viewed; a change made for the better. Young millennial females are what employers are looking for to drive their companies up, up and up.