The Hamster World: Be Your Own Admin
The role of an admin in the Hamster World is not to keep you organized. That luxury exists solely for the big boss. In many offices, it doesn’t exist at all. (I’ve had at least two jobs where there was no receptionist, and whoever was closest to the door or phone had to handle the situation. Woe to the person sitting closest to the door.)
The notion of everyone having a secretary, a la Mad Men, cracks me up. In the Hamster World, your administrator is named Microsoft Outlook, not Joan Holloway. Though you can probably create a curvaceous avatar to accompany your meeting reminders if you are so inclined.
People similar to the ones Arnold described do indeed exist. Here are the Hamster World counterparts to the Grad World Admins:
The Grad Administrator: That’s HR, master of “arcane rules.” You need these people because they make sure you have health insurance. Sometimes you need to vet your HR person and nag them to do important things. I worked with one person in HR who flat-out forgot to send in my health insurance form. But I’ve also worked with others who were amazing and genuinely concerned about the well-being of employees. Mileage may vary. Be nice to them, and don’t scream at them. Sometimes they are just the messenger when the bigwigs in the company decide to change health insurance or pet insurance or lay you off or whatever.
More after the jump! Image of man at work by Eugen Nosko from Deutsche Fotothek, on Wikimedia Commons under a Creative Commons license.
The Dept Manager: The team manager, the managing editor, the producer, whoever is in charge of giving you a task and telling you when to get it done. They will also nag you to get it done and check on your progress. If you are used to working independently, you will find this annoying, but it is a fact of life in the Hamster World. Embrace it because they are the ones who keep you focused. Be nice to them, and don’t scream at them. Sometimes they are just the messenger when a VP makes a mistake or someone higher up the food chain overpromises.
The Money Person: You will never see this person in the Hamster World. I suspect this person resembles the cartoon on the top of a “Monopoly” game box. This person uses HR to communicate with you. This person knows you will want to yell at him or her, which is why they hide behind HR. Yet another reason not to scream at HR.
The Teaching Office: See “The Dept Manager” above.
Do you sense a pattern here? Arnold is right when he warns you against being a prima donna. You may see higher-ups acting like prima donnas, but usually they made a lot of money or they own the company so they can get away with that crap. You, dear future Hamster, cannot. The same rules of etiquette apply in the Hamster World as they do in the Grad World: Be nice, and people will want to help you when you are really in a jam.