Meet Paige Plaskonos, dye lab supervisor at YKK (U.S.A.) Inc. in Macon, GA. She’s been working at YKK since August 2019. We asked Paige to talk about her experience as a recent graduate and about her transition from college to the manufacturing industry.
What is your personal definition of success?
To me, success is anything that I put my all into, and a key part of that is resilience. I know that I have been resilient when I have not only tried again, but have thought about the problem from more than one angle. Knowledge, therefore success, is gained through trial and error; this means without trying there is no succeeding. A favorite quote of mine is from Thomas Edison: “I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
What is your advice for people wanting to start their careers in this industry?
People that want to start their career in this industry should pursue their interests. There are many facets of YKK, and the textiles industry for that matter! From developing the next big thing to marketing it, any skill or passion is valuable here.
“From developing the next big thing to marketing it, any skill or passion is valuable here.”
Which of YKK’s Fundamental Behaviors resonates with you?
The Fundamental Behavior that resonates with me is “Be a lifelong learner.” I am a firm believer that learning never stops, and we should strive to learn one new thing every day. Because learning never stops, I have to remind myself to be patient with myself and others. If there is a gap in my knowledge I take a breath and treat it as a learning moment, not a moment to be frustrated with. In one topic alone, not everything can be learned in a short time, think of how long it takes to earn a PhD!
What do you like about working at YKK?
When I started working at YKK I was surprised at how helpful and approachable my co-workers are. Since I have been here, people have been excited to share their knowledge with me. When a new challenge comes my way, they are willing to help or at least refer me to someone who can. This kind of environment sets an example to be patient and understanding with people who seek help in the future.
“This kind of environment sets an example to be patient and understanding with people who seek help in the future.”
What are some of the challenges you’ve encountered and how have you been able to confront them?
It’s hard gaining the specific knowledge needed to be successful. There’s no college major on “zipper-ology”, so, while I have plenty of knowledge in related areas, not all of it is applicable here. I have done a lot of learning since starting here, and that is a part of the fun when working here.
Tell us about your path from college to YKK
YKK is my first “big girl” job out of college! In college, I was involved in clubs, leadership roles, and internships. I made sure to only involve myself in activities that I was passionate about so I would be able to make the most out of each one. Through those experiences, I was able to gain a clearer image of what I wanted for myself, which ended up with me here!
What are some of the skills you need to develop to be successful in this industry?
To be successful in this job you need to be flexible and understanding. In this industry, requirements and standards change all of the time, and it is important to take them in stride. A second part of that is to understand why the change was put in place and be able to explain the significance to those with different roles and experience than myself.