Job Title: Operations Manager
Type of Company: My company is an investment advisor, providing financial advice to clients
Education: diploma, Management, Open University (UK) member, Institute of Health & Safety (UK) graduate, Institute of Personnel and Development (UK)
Previous Experience: I've worked for the same Boston-based company my whole career, starting out as an administrator then moving to employee relations. Later, I switched to Health & Safety as Group Health & Safety Advisor and was eventually promoted to Operations Manager for the Boston office.
Job Tasks: I am operations manager for an investment advisor based in Boston. This makes me and my team of four responsible for all aspects of operations: Human Resources, business continuity, communications, finance and the physical plant.
Under the broader rubric of managing payroll and benefits, I track trends in company benefit packages and deal with benefits' suppliers, co-ordinate recruitment company-wide (and do the actual recruiting of operations employees) and handle a wide variety of employee relations issues, sometimes conferring with lawyers.
For the sake of business continuity I've identified a site that our people can work from in the event of a disaster. We test our plan twice a year to make sure that it would work.
My financial operations duties require me to assemble five-year budgetary plans. I do a comparison of our spending against budget on a monthly basis and check for variances. I also have to authorize all expenditures and sign all checks and I make sure for audit purposes that we maintain all the relevant records.
Looking after the physical plant can entail a host of things, anything from purchasing equipment (computers, copiers and fax machines) to ensuring that there's desk space for all employees. At one point I had to oversee the removal of private offices and the creation of a roomier "open office" workspace.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: My job is varied and interesting. I never know what I'll have to deal with. It could easily be a budgeting issue, like finding out that we've over-spent. Or it could just as well be any of a variety of employee issues, from someone breaking his ankle to someone else getting sick.
The worst part of the job is having to fire people, since you know all too well what a huge impact this will have on their families. The amount of bureaucracy that you have to deal with can also be a pain.
1.) It helps to be flexible in your work career. Don't be frightened about changing direction or disciplines if you feel that the one you chose isn't working out.
2.) Always have confidence in your own abilities and remain positive.
3.) Take courses in your field; they'll always stand you in good stead.
4.) Identify someone you can trust and who you know will give you sound advice. And listen to what he says.
Additional Thoughts: Be flexible and learn to multi-task. Don't be frightened to test yourself.
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