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The man who loves change

After 23 years in National Grid, Martin Sobers, Lead Supervisor, NYC Field Operations, knows a thing or two about dealing with new challenges at work. He explains why embracing new opportunities has broadened his horizons.

There’s always something new coming down the line, whether that’s in your personal life or at work. Companies are always changing and if you can get on board with that you’ll put yourself in really good stead. I like new challenges and I like moving around. It’s refreshing and that shows in my career history.

I’ve tried many roles at National Grid, in Massachusetts and New York, from a temporary helper to my current role of Lead Supervisor for NYC Field Operations. Each role has given me new opportunities, experiences and expertise, and that’s what I continue to build my career on. I’ve been in my current job for three years, and I’m learning every day.

My department responds to emergency calls for gas-related incidents and accidents. We might get called if a gas main is struck or if someone can smell gas – it’s our job to get down there, identify the problem and fix it.

Due to our line of work, you never know when an emergency will crop up, so although my hours are usually a regular 9-5, I’m on call seven days a week. There’s always the chance the phone will ring.

I’m passionate about mentoring, and like to help the members on my 40-strong team grow in their roles. I’m also a part of the mentoring programme at National Grid organised by volunteers from the Employee Resource Groups. When you put time and effort into helping others develop, it’s really rewarding when you see something finally ‘click’ for them – that’s really fun.

Don’t fight change – look for the opportunity instead. It opens your eyes and widens your horizons.

If I was going to give you one piece of advice it would be not to fight change – look for the opportunities instead. It opens your eyes and widens your horizons. If you hear about something new coming down the line, do your best to be knowledgeable about it, because it’s going to happen either way.

Embracing new things can be really hard. I learned to do it when I worked on a big project to update our back-office systems. I was a tester and responsible for making sure the new system worked as needed. I had to become familiar with it so I could teach my peers, while still using the old systems so I could bridge the gap for them. Being able to look for ways to adapt to whatever uncertainty is coming helps your team and can make you work as a stronger unit.

Change doesn’t have to be scary – it can be exciting, and it’s one of the reasons I get up in the morning. Another three reasons are my wife and two little girls. I want to set them a good example of what hard work looks like, and that’s a big motivator for me.

My 23-year career at National Grid has been a varied journey that has taught me a lot, and still continues to. I’m looking forward to the next challenge that’s coming our way, whatever that may be, and helping my team get ready for it.