Another update from the Jungle…
Tina was the first employee at her company, hired a month after Drew, the owner, created the company. Tina got the job because she was a friend of Drew’s and she was willing to work for an erratic paycheck. Also, Tina had a liberal arts degree from a state university which turned out to be not much good when job hunting.
So Tina worked for Drew and was excited each time the company grew. In the early days, they shared ramen noodles for lunch and pooled their money to pay for coffee meetings with prospective clients. Tina liked the sense of adventure and the fact that each day was different.
Over the next three years, Tina worked on everything from the sales brochures to updating the logo to handling disgruntled customers. She handled administrative tasks such as ordering office supplies and equipment so that Drew could focus on the company’s strategy. She also helped Drew interview and hire new employees.
Each new employee was hired for a particular job, even though they lacked written job descriptions. Any job that didn’t fit into another employee’s skill set slid onto Tina’s desk. She knew the history of the company, the way things has always been done, and she was willing to help solve problems faced by other employees.
Drew was happy to delegate employee issues to Tina. But Tina didn’t know anything about employment laws or human resources best practices. She Googled key terms periodically and filled out paperwork to the best of her ability. The company’s CPA was able to answer her questions related to payroll processing, but basically Tina was on her own.
Now Tina’s burnt out. Although it’s a fine spring day, she’s slumped at her desk, exhausted and dispirited. It’s time to plan the monthly employee birthday party and she just can’t face it. Working for Drew isn’t fun anymore.
What options are available to Tina?
- She can continue doing all the tasks that none of her co-workers want to do until she becomes a bitter old woman.
- She can explain to Drew that it’s time to professionalize the back office so that the company can grow smoothly.
- She can quit and go sit on a beach in the Caribbean drinking rum and eating rum-soaked fruit.
In the actual situation, the company decided to hire a subject matter expert to help them create a formal structure for the administrative side of the business and to implement best practices. Then the subject matter expert helped train a new employee to handle administrative tasks.
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