Meet… #3 Michelle Wanten

In ‘Meet…’ the employees of GROUP A respond to a number of spicy statements about their work. This time it is office manager Michelle Wanten’s turn. Since February 2011 she has been working as an office manager for GROUP A. She studied viola at the conservatory in The Hague, but decided not to continue in music due to a persistent injury. Her love for architecture arose during her first job at an architectural firm. Michelle: “Over the years I have started to look at this very differently. What materials are used, is it beautifully finished? An interesting process to follow, and I’m still learning!” Michelle was born and raised in Rotterdam and lives in Blijdorp with her husband Frank and their cat. She spends her free time meeting up with friends, cooking and exercising. Of course there is always music on in the house.

In terms of work, my preference is:
– the work in the foreground; such as receiving visitors and supervising the move
– the work in the background; such as archiving and digitizing documents and managing personnel matters

Michelle is very firm about this: “I prefer to work in the foreground,” she says. She explains: “I am definitely a ‘social animal’.”

An average day for me goes by
– reasonably according to the same pattern every day
– different every day

It was somewhat expected for such a dynamic organization. It turns out that every day is very different when you work as an office manager for GROUP A. Michelle says: “And the fact that every day is different makes my work so much fun!”

The biggest challenge for an office manager lies in the role of
– ‘spider in the web’, being integrated into the organization
– process monitor

Michelle answers this statement with some doubt. Ultimately, she states that both are important aspects of her position, but that the role of ‘spider in the web’ is slightly more important as far as she is concerned. Michelle: “If you don’t know what’s going on, you can’t anticipate properly.”

The most important quality you need to work as an office manager for GROUP A is
– content: interest in architecture and the living environment of the architects working for GROUP A
– practical: being able to work in an orderly and systematic manner

There is no doubt about this: although it is necessary to also be practical, more attention is paid to the substantive aspects. Michelle: “As an office manager you must be able to sense what is needed, and also for whom.”

My colleagues describe me as
– a serious person
– someone who is up for a joke

Michelle is certainly someone who is up for a joke: “I really like to prank people!”

On a free Saturday afternoon
– I do fun things with friends and family
– I am still busy with work (in my mind).

Michelle: “On a free Saturday afternoon I do fun things with friends and family, but sometimes I am also busy with work. From making ‘mental notes’ (‘don’t forget this’) to quickly doing something or sending an email. In recent months I have also spent a few Saturdays doing odd jobs in our new building. But that didn’t feel like work, it was fun to help build the place where we are now and of which we are so proud!”

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