Often when I tell people my official title at work, they have a lot of follow up questions. Mainly: what do you do?
I am the Operations Assistant at a production company. I assist the Manager of Operations in, well, helping the building and everyone inside it function smoothly. I do everything from plunge toilets to ordering lunch to event planning to basic IT fixes and everything in between. The staff relies on my department for space scheduling, supply management, and to be fed every day.
Not surprisingly, there have been a lot of take-aways from having a job of this nature. I find that in my personal life, I’m more aware of what it takes to keep things running more smoothly.
Here are a few lessons learned from working in Operations:
1) It doesn’t do to be cluttered.
We are the dumping grounds for everyone’s broken everything. I can’t be wasting time rooting around for things, though. When duty calls and we’re in a pinch for time, I need to know where everything is. In the Ops office we keep things as neat as we can, and have a method to the madness.
2) Never be caught without.
I learned early on that it’s better to be overprepared than under. Every Monday, I take inventory of our entire office. That way, I always know how our supply levels are doing. And I always have at least one of something in reserve.
3) Prep ahead.
At any given moment, we have three pots of coffee brewed and ready to go in our staff kitchen. I always tell new interns that it behooves them to have everything ready to brew a new pot ahead of time – old coffee grinds should be immediately emptied, new ones should be ground, and the space should be cleaned. That way, if things get busy, they aren’t stuck trying to play catch up.
4) Know your schedule.
The office is constantly buzzing with people coming and going, and the demands for different spaces ebbs and flows on the hour. I start each work day by reviewing my own calendar, as well as the shared office calendar. I check with teams and confirm their plans, meetings, etc, and then do so again every few hours. It’s important to have an idea of what’s going on, so you’re never blindsided by a request.
5) Closing duties are just as important as opening ones.
Mornings find me filled with energy and a sense of purpose; I never have a problem checking my opening duties off my list. Evenings can be another story. With the end of the workday looming, I often want to cut corners and call it a day. The end of the night, though, is just as important as the morning, and it will only screw you over in the end if you decide to get lazy and not prepare for the next day.