During my first semester of college, I applied for a social media marketing internship with a small, local marketing company. It was my first office job. Four years have gone by and I’m still with that same company. Only I’m no longer an intern, I’m now the Office Manager and head of HR.
When I first started as an intern, there were only four part time employees. We were all college students. Founded by a former freelance marketer, the company was new, and only in its second year of business. Since then, my boss secured dozens of more clients, interns and employees- both part-time and full-time.
Over the years, I learned a lot about what it was like to build a business. And the hardest part of it all isn’t gaining clients or filing your taxes- it’s maintaining the relationships you make along the way.
My boss, a young female entrepreneur, quickly realized that trying to keep both your clients, employees, and bank account balance happy can sometimes feel like an impossible balancing act. And that’s why I love HR; it’s challenging, which makes it even more rewarding.
I think we can all agree, the best way to keep clients coming back is through happy employees. But sometimes, that’s not easy. Maybe it’s because of the economy, new management, or working conditions. In the case of my company, it was growing pains.
Eventually, as business picked up, my boss started giving her staff more responsibility, and in turn, hiring more experienced people. Most employees were now out of college, some by two years, others by twenty.
It became clear that the company benefits and policies that had kept her former college-aged employees happy didn’t appeal to her new staff. Flex-Time didn’t matter as much to single men in their thirties as it did to students with class schedules. They cared little about office field trips to Starbucks. They wanted nothing to do with a company group chat. What they did want was higher bonuses and vacation days.
I had a great working relationship with boss. So, when there was a dispute, I started speaking up on behalf of my coworkers, and often my boss too. Both sides, employees and owner, had difficulty properly expressing their expectations, needs and feelings with each other in a clear and concise matter. A moderator was needed, and I was eager to fill the position.
Since then, I’ve worked to help the company create an employee manual, update the vacation policy, adopted staff meetings, conducted performance reviews, and everything else that falls under the HR umbrella- and I couldn’t be happier.
Working in human resources allows me to be an intricate part of the company. While most employees feel frustrated by company problems, I have the opportunity to empower myself, run to the drawing board and find solutions.
And some days it’s exhausting. Some days, the world is an impossible balancing act. You can’t always please everyone, but I always try, and that’s what makes the work-day worth it.
About the Author: Kathleen Connolly is an undergraduate student at Stony Brook University where she is a teaching assistant for the course Organizational Behavior. She is also a candidate for the university’s Human Resource Management graduate program. Kathleen is the Office Manager and Head of HR for the online marketing company Jillian’s Circus.