Office Manager


Tell us about your work -- what do you do? I serve as Office Manager to a law firm with offices in Ft. Lauderdale and Boca Raton, Florida. My job duties include personnel management , benefits administration , property management , secretary to the Executive Committee , etc. Dealing with people and serving as representative for the employees and also for management is a major requirement of my job. What skills are needed? There are a multitude of skills that are necessary for the position of Office Manager. The most essential of these are organizational, interpersonal, mediation, and reasoning skills . Attitude is also a key factor. A calm demeanour and an upbeat, can-do attitude contribute a great deal to an Office Manager's success...enthusiasm and confidence are contagious! What was your major? I did not enter college until I had worked my way up the ladder and had already secured the position as Office Manager. My major is Business Administration . How did you get started in your career? I am fortunate to have previously worked in most of the positions that I currently supervise. This provides me with insight to the challenges faced by the employees. I also served as secretary/assistant to the Office Manager for two years, and had managed a secretarial service for two years, which exposed me to management viewpoints and challenges. When the Office Manager resigned, I was asked to assist the Managing Shareholder until a replacement was located. Upon working together, we discovered that it was a good fit, and my prior experience had equipped me to step into the position. Describe your "typical" workday: My position does not offer a "typical" workday . What makes this position so challenging and also so interesting is that each day is full of surprises. There are a lot of deadlines, a lot of last minute priorities, so flexibility is an absolute requirement. Many of the duties of this position are cyclical. For example, group insurance policies, equipment maintenance policies, business insurance policies, etc. renew annually, so you will deal with each policy as its renewal approaches. Hiring and firing of employees is handled as required. Parties and social functions are planned throughout the year, often without a great deal of warning. My door is always open for employee disputes, shareholder special requests. etc. What is the hardest aspect of your job? The most difficult aspect of my job is dealing with diverse personalities, egos, and office politics. There are times when I know there is a logical and simple solution to a stressful situation, but either the personality/ego or status of the person involved prevents the solution, and so the situation continues. In many cases, office politics "ties my hands" and causes me great frustration. What is the most rewarding aspect of your job? The most rewarding aspect of my job is knowing that I am positively affecting the working environment for the employees and management. Because I have all of the necessary information from both sides to allow me to see the "big picture," I can make decisions that help to maintain harmony in the office and increase the level of job satisfaction . What are your suggestions for someone considering this field? If you are considering this field of employment, it would be to your advantage to learn as much as you can about the positions an Office Manager typically supervises. If you are holding a job while you are in school, look for a position as a receptionist, secretary, or general office clerk.