Other duties as assigned

You know that line in a job description — Other duties as assigned — I truly know what that means. As office manager for a busy communications firm, the best part about my job is that every day is different from the last. Some days, though, the things that happen surprise even me.

Usually, the other duties require just a simple fix, like pushing in the outlet circuit button to get the appliances running again or troubleshooting minor computer issues. Then there are toilets that overflow or ceilings that leak. (We’re in a historic building — things happen.)

When our office moved into this space about a year ago, my skills were really put to the test. I now know I can put together storage cabinets, map phone and data lines, monitor the Ecessa load balancer device (I had no idea what that one was) and coordinate eight thermostats, so the office is never too hot or cold.

Working with our provider to install our technology system, my knack for figuring things out impressed the IT team — they even tried to recruit me.

I try to anticipate what issues might come up in the other duties category, which sometimes makes this job a 24/7 proposition. I got a call on a recent day off that water was pouring into the office through one of the light fixtures; on a trip to Ireland last year I managed to squeeze in some IT coordination. It’s the unexpected that keeps life as an office manager exciting.

My family isn’t surprised about my career trajectory — I was always fixing and putting things together around the house (like connecting the cable for the TVs). I'm still their go-to for any technical issues, and I might have the nickname I.S. (Information System).

Nicknames aside, I am now fortunate to put these skills I have learned over the years to the test every day at Branigan — Other duties as assigned just might be my favorite part of the job.

— Julie Dohearty, office manager