In April of 2016, I needed some voice of reason and reached out to my friends in OrgOrg. I was feeling overworked, underappreciated, and absolutely powerless. I had doubts whether or not I was good enough for my role as an Office Manager at a 25-person startup.
After the departure of the company’s Head of Finance and Head of Talent, I had taken on a lot of new responsibilities for the company. Aside from a part time financial controller, I became a one-woman-show of operations for the company. I alone was responsible for facilities, budgeting, accounts payable, accounts receivable, company culture, recruiting, HR, payroll, and all administrative work. As the icing on the cake, our lease for our office space was being terminated and I had to locate and execute an office move by the end of the following month.
Coworkers and co-founders would offer to help, but when given a specific task they would suddenly shy away. My mind was in panic at the amount of work ahead of me, but I saw a light at the end of the tunnel, and so I kept going.
With our brokers at Hello Office, I found the perfect office for the team. Everything was within walking distance. It was within our budget. It had plenty of natural light, full kitchen, and plenty of storage space. It was a startup’s dream office.
The team packed up their boxes on a Friday afternoon. That same team walked into an office that was fully furnished, and plug-and-play ready on Monday morning. As I sat in the beautiful new office with all my colleagues ecstatic around me, I was so proud of myself for what I had accomplished.
A few months later as the office got settled in, I was ready to ask the co-founders for the next steps in my career. I wanted to offboard some of the mundane day-to-day office coordination items. I hoped to start working on bigger and more meaningful projects for the company and pick up some new skills. I made a list of my regular responsibilities and the time it consumed on a weekly average. I also made a list of other projects I wanted to tackle. I made a strong argument to my cofounders how I needed some part time administrative and facilities help to take my career to the next step. They said they understood, and how much they valued me and appreciated me and would let me know what they decide on.
As I anxiously waited for their decision, they neglected my needs for an entire month.
Finally, they got back to me and excitedly told me they would get me a virtual assistant (that I of course would have to research and choose on my own, and that wouldn’t solve my need for in-office help) and a small bump in pay. They were SO proud of themselves with the solution they had come up with. Little did they know they had shattered my self worth just a little bit more. At that point I realized no matter how hard I worked my efforts there weren't going to be appreciated.
So I left.
I started at a new company in August and I have never been happier. The difference was immediate and jaw-dropping. The manager and director both thank my efforts on a constant basis. They ask me almost weekly if there is anything new I would like to tackle, and provide suggestions for projects they think will interest me. They check in to see how comfortable I am with my workload on a regular basis. I feel appreciated and valued.
I wanted to share this story because you are not often told it’s okay to give up. As I kept insistently telling myself to “keep going” and to “suck it up”, my friends from OrgOrg reminded me to “listen to my gut”. I continued to put myself down day after day until I realized I was not giving up on myself, but I was giving up on them.
If you are giving 110% and if the company makes you feel like it's still not enough, they don't deserve you. If they cannot invest in your future, you cannot invest all of your effort into them. All the unsung heroes of OrgOrg work in a difficult profession where 100 wins go unnoticed, but one late lunch will be an outcry from the entire office. I hope you all remember to pride yourselves in the work you do and make sure your management does the same.