A Day in the Life
It is difficult to get a sense of what the day to day reality of a job might be from a job advert and interview. Phil is a Compliance Manager, with twelve years’ experience in an organisational setting and he has agreed to share with us some of his thoughts and experiences.
Tell us what you do Phil
As a Compliance Manager I provide a level of advice, knowledge and support to colleagues within the business unit and more widely in relation to Safety, Health and Environment to ensure that the company operates within legal requirements and to ensure that people go home safe and well. As Compliance has evolved, there is more focus on the people elements rather than an enforcement approach. So you are not simply just advising on the law you are playing a strategic role in helping the business balance its priorities and maintain its values.
tell us about your average day
I catch up on emails when I log onto my laptop first thing, it is often the case of simply having a scan through them to get up to speed with anything that may have developed overnight. Occasionally there will be something that crops up that requires immediate attention.
There is an element of the unknown – as much as you can have a plan in place about what you will do from one day to the next, there always has to be a default mind-set that other things might crop up and impact on the plan.
I find it important to have a plan, not to meticulously detail everything I am going to do for that day, but more of a guide that allows me to maintain focus and ensure productivity.
Can you tell us about an example of the sort of thing that might crop up?
It might be that there is an urgent piece of work that needs to be dealt with straight away, so everything else gets dropped. It might be an ongoing project, where information is required to continue, it could be an incident investigation, or it could be a request from one of the business units for assistance with meeting compliance standards.
What do you like most about your job?
The variety is good in terms of what needs to be done. You are also an advisor to the business which is a nice position in terms of supporting people. You are constantly learning and expanding your knowledge of the business and of the elements of compliance.
The sense of achievement and making a difference. When a piece of work is completed I get a real sense of success in that I have worked on something that has impact, it might not necessarily be that I have played a major role in a piece of work but knowing that you have done your best and it has added value to a project is very fulfilling. This also builds on experience, knowledge and confidence which, in my opinion, is vital when progressing through a career.
Also gaining an understanding of other people in the business and what their job entails, this allows me to be more empathetic when considering the impact my job has on others.
You recently completed your Masters in Occupational Health and Safety Management. How did you find the process of balancing work and study?
It was challenging because of the demands of work, life and study all at once – getting the balance was critical. There is always a sense that you are neglecting one area and trying to find a counterbalance to that. Having two small children added another layer of challenge in ensuring that they got what they need from me in amongst the work and study demands.
What advice would you give a student who is about to embark on their career?
It is important to have a sense of purpose about what you are doing. This then gives you the foundation to identify your priorities in work and outside of work. Be humble to the point that you are open to continue to learn. You are going into a significantly different environment and it is important to appreciate that there are different sources of knowledge and growth opportunities that will be available to you when you enter employment.
Be confident in yourself but not over confident. You have done a tremendous amount of work to achieve what you have already achieved so far, be proud of that. One thing I have repeated time and time again when I have spoken to new (and existing students) where I undertook my studies is this… I have a range of qualifications that enable me to carry out my work to the highest possible level but upon completing my studies I have always been mindful of the amount I do not know. This mantra keeps me grounded and has helped me to develop personally and professionally.