When we think about jobs within start-ups, the first roles that come to mind are probably CEO, developers and designers, maybe even account managers but the office manager is unlikely to surface.
Which I personally think is unfair since it is in large part thanks to their job that the rest of the team gets to perform smoothly (and look great*). Office managers are the unsung heroes of the start-up world and in order to show appreciation for them, we’ve decided to write a post that showcases how complex their work can be.
Special shout-out to our very own office manager Marc who took the time to talk to us about his job and daily tasks.
* Marc has ordered personalised T-shirts for us several times!
1 – There is strong competition for limited number of high-level positions
While office management can be an exciting career, it is also one that can stagnate quickly. There are only so many places you can go to as an office manager and those positions are highly coveted.
This is by no means a reason to steer away from a career if it’s genuinely what you’re interested in, but it is certainly something important to keep in mind.
2 – Your mistakes are obvious
Office managers must deal face to face with employees and clients, which means that often times their mistakes cannot be hidden as easily as the mistakes of others.
If I upload a post to the blog with a typo in the headline, I might get a nasty message on the comments section — at most, but if Marc gets a number wrong while doing invoices, then he could potentially have a couple of very angry customers or suppliers to deal with. Not exactly how you would like to start your week.
…I have realised I have to work from outside the office when I am behind on my admin tasks.
3 – There are unforeseen responsibilities
The job of an office manager is at the best of times unpredictable. You always try to tell the future, but sometimes it’s just impossible to foresee when a piece of equipment will fail or someone might quit and you have to start a recruitment process from scratch. This means that you must be on your toes at all times, ready to take action at any given moment.
4 – The long work hours
The many responsibilities of the role sometimes make it difficult to get everything done when you want to, forcing you to work extra hours to catch up with the tasks.
Let’s just hope that doesn’t happen very often, Marc!
5 – Every day can be different
Unlike other more ‘routine’ jobs where tasks start at point ‘A’ and take you to point ‘C’, going through ‘B’, the responsibilities of an office manager look more like a tree that branches out in organic ways rather than a map.
This means that more often than not, you’ll be dealing with very different-looking schedules each time. One day you may be recruiting a new team member, while the next you’re ordering a new laptop and the other you’re handling payroll.
…sometimes your calendar is your worst enemy at the end of the day; you look at it and you have to reschedule the whole week because you didn’t get ‘anything’ done.
6 – It’s a balancing act
Or a juggling act, depending on whom you ask. According to Marc, the key is finding the balance between ‘timing and provisioning’. Which as you may guess, it’s not always so easy.
7 – Your calendar can be your worst enemy
Since it’s a job that must answer to many and has to respond ASAP, following a schedule can be a bit of a hassle for an office manager.
8 – You’re the focus of attention
When something goes wrong, you’re usually the first person both customers and employees address. While some people are glad that communicating with others is part of their everyday job, even the chattiest of employees will find it overwhelming if they become the go-to person for complaints.
Are you an office manager? Is there anything you would add to this list? If so let us know in the comments below.
In the meantime keep reading the Printsome Blog for more awesome content.
Text: Harald Meyer-Delius
Research: Luna Giontella
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