Kim Thomas

"The Y2K Rookie"

What was this rookie assignment (the role, task or event)? 

In late 1998 I was looking for a career change, knowing very little about Information Technology other than it was peaking my curiosity I applied for an entry level role in a healthcare IT department. I knew a few people in the department all of which told me I would be bored to tears in this position. After a few months I began inserting myself into the operations of the IT department. I wanted to learn everything I could about what it took to be an IT service provider. About six months in there was a large layoff that occurred in the department and because of my learning I became the leader on the device Y2K remediation project and the go-to person for device support.

What were nervous or worried about?

I was worried that being new in the field I really didn’t have all the answers however that did not stop me and the team from being successful at all. The good pairing of a rookie with a seasoned veteran that could answer my many questions was our key to success.

What were you hopeful about?

I was very hopeful about my future. There was so much to learn that the sky was the limit, I loved work because I loved learning.  Reading Rookie Smarts really helped me put that entire time into perspective and be grateful for every bit of it.

What was the outcome?

As with most scenarios in Y2K the preparation and remediation resulted in a non-event-which was a success. The go to person on device support was the start of a long career in IT support working for Dell and now Dignity Health where I lead End User IT Support at 42 hospitals.

What would be possible in your current job if you could re-invigorate this same rookie self?

I recognize the value a Rookie brings and in every new hire look for learning qualities rather than qualifications. It’s so important to have the right team members in the right roles and changing our approach in hiring will be the right team dynamics for the future. My team and I are dedicated to re-invigorating our rookie smarts and I currently have a team of 48 leaders reading this great book. By asking questions rather than having all the answers we are promoting innovation rather than our traditional approaches to problem solving. The benefits are already being realized in me personally as I am asking more questions of my team rather than providing what I believe to be the answer. This simple action is fostering better team communication and helping me learn in the process.

  • “Agility, resilience, grit, and a growth mindset—these are the attributes effective leaders need in a changing world. Rookie Smarts shows leaders at every age and at every stage of their careers how to master these skills.”
    University of Michigan professor and author of Leadership Sustainability
  • “Wiseman (co-author: The Multiplier Effect: Tapping the Genius Inside Our Schools, 2014, etc.) provides a big boost for first-time employees and others who refuse to be bound by arbitrary limits. . . .An exciting promotion of lifelong discovery and enthusiasm as answers to routine and business as usual.”
    Kirkus Reviews
  • “If you want to be a learning machine, improving and growing every year, this is the book for you.”
    SVP of People Operations, Google, Inc.
  • “As a company grows, nothing is more important than retaining a culture of innovation. Rookie Smarts shows how even a big company can take risks, innovate, and operate like a challenger.”
    Chairman and CEO,