Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Being the Manager

I had a new-hire start on my team this week, bringing my grand total of direct reports up to two. This, coinciding with an unusually busy period in our annual cycle of pricing work, has had me really busy during the days. Bringing the team up to three, however, has also provided an interesting opportunity to reflect on being a manager.

I added my first employee to the team six months ago, but a team of two people always has a slightly odd dynamic, especially when one is much more experience in the field than the other. It's not equal, but it also doesn't have the feel of being a team. Now, with two employees, things are starting to feel more team-like.

One of the experiences that I've often had as a parent is being in the middle of some interaction with the kids and suddenly having a flash of insight, "This is what my parents were going through that time." Words or actions which had one meaning when coming from those distant and all knowing creatures "the parents" look very different when you're one of the parents.

The last few days I've been having similar flashes of realization with regard to being a team manager, moments when to my chagrin I find myself doing things that I realize are the same as inexplicable or frustrating things that I recall past managers doing. And now I realize much of it simply stems from being short of time or short of information.


Jenny said...

So what's it like having to hire new workers? How do you find them and do you have the final say-so on who gets considered?

Darwin said...

I do have a great deal of say-so, which is good.

It's an interesting but somewhat daunting task. Despite the fact that any job listing seems to get a huge number of applicants, it's really hard to find anyone with relevant experience to what I do, so I end up having to try to evaluate how well someone will learn something that they don't quite do right now. And doing that, even a two or three round interview process starts seeming like not nearly enough information.

Jenny said...

I wondered if it is as much trouble on that side of the interview table as this side. It seems that if you have an *ahem* non-traditional resume, it will get you exactly nowhere. In these days of digital applications, failing to click the right box seems to insure that no human eye will ever see it.

Darwin said...

Personally, non-traditional resumes always catch my eye, especially if accompanied by a cover letter giving some sort of rationale for why the applicant is interested in this particular job. But then, very few people have much of a background in pricing, so to an extent I'm always trying to find someone teachable.

The automated system can be a big frustration in that regard. I eventually had to insist that my recruiter in HR just give me direct access to everything that was submitted and let me do the filtering myself.

bearing said...

Do you ever read the blog Ask a Manager? I'm absurdly addicted to it, considering that I don't have a real job. It's one of those blogs with an insanely great community of commenters, so it's always a pleasure to read.

Jenny said...

I suspect that non-traditional resumes catch *your* eye because you have one or, at least, did. :)

My BIL is an HR manager at a pretty large company. He had to hire an assistant and knew who he wanted in the position. The hoops through which he had to jump and the iterations of application tweaking on the part of the one applying to prompt the computer to even allow the application to be seen for a person whom he knew existed and wanted to hire is quite, quite disheartening.

When you know your application doesn't click all the boxes and that nobody is looking for you and that finding real-live contact information is all but impossible, well... I guess we will see in the end.

That site looks very interesting!