This should be an ad for a Business Manager for a Futurist.
A unique combination of an Executive Assistant with some Marketing skills.
Problem is I don’t have time to write the ad – as the future waits for no-one. So I now need someone like you working with me, freeing up time by taking care of administrative responsibilities... like writing this ad. Either full-time or part-time flexible hours. Working remotely from home with a weekly Auckland, NZ meet. So here’s the opportunity to create your own future. Don’t just send me your CV. Write the ideal ad you’d like to be responding to. The future is yours.
Ready? Let’s get going…
For more than a year I’ve been talking about getting a support person. So here we are at the start of 2019 and I can no longer afford to keep talking – I need to employ someone now. But the catch-22 is to find the right person, I need to write a high-impact ad and design an effective recruitment process, but I don’t have time as I’m too busy being a Futurist… so I need a great support person to write the ad and manage the recruitment process...
So this is your once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to recruit yourself.
Welcome to the future of recruitment...
As Blaise Pascal once said, if I had more time I would have written a shorter letter. So below this I’ve posted a long ramble, answering some of the questions you might have about the job. I might be adding to this over the next week or two (today’s Fri 8 Feb) so I’d recommend returning to this page and refreshing your browser.
Last updated: 9 Feb 2019
What does a Futurist do?
Great question. My answer is… how might you answer this question? (Hint: I’m not looking for the “right” answer, just your personal perspective).
What does a Business Manager for a Futurist do?
In short, it’s your job to make my working life easier and it’s my job to make your life even better.
I’d like to be a Futurist. Is this a good starting position for me?
Unfortunately not. The role of being a Business Manager basically involves doing everything a Futurist doesn’t. So while it’s a great role for the right person, an aspiring Futurist would quickly find it frustrating. Which would be obvious to the both of us. Your day as a Business Manager involves a lot of organising, booking, following-up, contacting people, documenting, researching, writing, editing. All interesting work for the right person. However it won’t involve creating and giving presentations, running workshops or delivering projects. Which are all critical parts of being a Futurist. So if that’s what you’d really rather be doing, this isn’t the right role to apply for.
I’ve been a General Manager before. Is this a good career step for me?
Probably not. This job is more comparable to the role of an Executive Assistant for one person rather than the General Manager of a larger team or division. However because that one person (me) also happens to be a business, the title of the role is Business Manager – as it involves managing important details of the business, not just supporting an individual.
I’m looking for a long-term career. Why should I apply for just a six month position?
The immediate opportunity is for a six month fixed-term contract position as this is a new role. So the work to be done for the first six months is to establish the role while refining and documenting all the existing processes, alongside providing day-to-day support. For the right person at the end of the six months we’ll then be able to establish a new permanent role based on the work to date and the future direction of both the business and yourself. This can be done well in advance so you know what to plan for. However if your life depends on absolute certainty and you want to be doing exactly the same job in six months that you start out with, being a Business Manager for a Futurist isn’t for you. However if you’re looking to create your own future and back your own abilities to do so when given the opportunity, this could be exactly what you’ve been waiting for.
Let’s cut to the chase. How much can I earn?
Your starting salary will be based on market rates for similar roles, taking into account your previous pay level. So broadly speaking this will be a salary in the range of $50,000–$75,000 or a pro-rata proportion of this if working less than full-time hours – as the hours can either be flexible or fixed anywhere between 10–40 hours a week. However there’s also significant potential to increase your earnings beyond this over time. For example we run Futuready training workshops so if you’re able to personally grow bookings for these your own income can also be increased. I also speak as a Futurist at conferences across New Zealand and internationally. So if you personally generate new bookings again your own income can be increased. On this basis over the longer term a salary of $100,000+ is possible.
Do you need me to also manage the financial accounts?
In the future this could form part of the role but it’s definitely not an immediate priority. We have a well-organised relatively automated financial system so other support activities are of a far higher priority, such as responding to enquiries from new clients, organising the set-up details of new projects, sharing new insights and trends by email and social media, organising bookings for workshops, booking travel and venues – basically all the things that go into helping generate finances before you have to worry about tracking them.
I like to be around other people and involved in a lot of meetings. Will I get to do a lot of this?
No. This is a great role for someone who likes their own company and the flexibility of being able to work from home on their own independently for most of their time. If you thrive on face-to-face contact with lots of other people you’ll quickly go stir crazy. Which I imagine will drive me crazy. Which in turn will drive you crazy... However along with organising, documenting, planning, researching and writing there will be contact with others on a daily basis via email, phone, social apps etc. Otherwise you won’t just go stir crazy... but crazy ;-)
How good do I need to be with computers?
You’ll either need a strong natural ability or you’ll need to be a proven self-directed learner. Diving into new applications can’t faze you. If you know how to use some of the applications we use already that’s a bonus. But I’d far rather work with someone who might not use what we use but can pick up new software without needing assistance, than someone who has experience in a lot of what we use but needs extensive personal training to learn new applications. So what applications will you be working with? It’ll be a mix of the latest versions of Office applications on a Windows Surface laptop with various cloud applications e.g. Excel, PowerPoint, Word, OneNote, Evernote, Mailchimp, Airtable, ProWorkflow, Gmail, Slack, LinkedIn, etc. If this line-up fazes you this might not be the right role. However if you’re thinking I don’t use a lot of those but what a brilliant opportunity to expand my skillbase, then welcome to your future.
How well do I need to be able to write?
Well. Or if it’s not good grammar to say “well” then some other word like that. Not genius but also not average. You need to be an accurate prooof-reader (see what I did there ;-) with great spelling and grammar – or at least a very competent and reliable user of a spell-checker. Why? Because otherwise rather than reducing my workload unfortunately you’ll increase it. A core part of your day-to-day activities will involve the written word – whether it’s replying to client emails or proofing an article.
Will I have to sell?
Yes. And no. I’ve been working as a Futurist for more than ten years so have a well established base of clients. This includes working with organisations across New Zealand and also internationally such as Microsoft, Air New Zealand, Xero, The Salvation Army and NZ Trade & Enterprise. However key to creating our own future is to constantly reach out to create new possibilities. So a major part of your role will involve getting in touch with organisations across New Zealand, Australia and other parts of the world that we’ve never worked with before. However it’s about creating new connections, not about trying to sell people what they don’t need. So if they’d like some more information or to meet with me sometime you’ll organise this. But if they don’t, you won’t. Because it’s a big world out there and there’s a lot to be done!
What happens from here?
To help avoid my own unconscious biases and to find the right person, before any interviewing a short-list of applicants (which might be just one if you’re the only applicant :-) will be sent some work samples to complete. This is likely only to take a few short hours to complete but yes it means that you risk investing some of your own time for no return if you ultimately don’t get the job. If that’s not something you’re keen to do this isn’t the right job for you, as at times creating the future requires being comfortable with being uncomfortable = uncertain outcomes. What will the work samples involve? I’m not quite sure yet (feel free to make a suggestion ;-) but starting thoughts are 1) Proof-reading a draft blog post 2) Selecting a possible workshop venue in another city 3) Drafting a short client email ... that’s a short reply, not necessarily a short client... 4) Answering a question using online help for a computer application.
Then what next?
From there if it looks like the job might be a good fit, I’ll have a phone conversation with you for about 30 minutes. Finally we’ll then meet in person. At most I’m likely to be meeting with just two other people so will be able to make a final decision soon after.
When would I start?
In an ideal world you’d start next week. But I’d rather wait for the right person to be available than quickly employ the not-so-right-person. So there’s flexibility to work in with your availability. Ideally I’d like to have employed someone by the end of this month (Feb 2019) – so the soonest would be late this month with the latest likely to be by the end of next month (Mar 2019).
How many hours a week?
This where you truly get to design your own job. There’s a lot to be done but anything will be better than the zero hours of extra support I have at the moment. So if you’re looking for a full-time position it’s a guaranteed 40 hours a week. However if you’re looking for a shorter working week it could be as little as 10 hours a week. Either a fixed number of hours a week or a guaranteed base with the ability to flex when available.
Note: If you’re thinking this could be a great flexible job to fit in around all your other work commitments when time allows then do not apply. This job will need to be your main working priority. Delivering a great service to our clients demands predictability and reliability. So flexibility means being able to work a certain number of the same consistent hours every week, with some flexibility possible beyond this. Ideally this will mean being available for at least some time every day of the working week Mon–Fri during standard working hours. This is so our clients can be certain of a reply within 24 hours at the latest.
Where do I work?
You’ll work from your own home using a laptop we provide. Almost every day we’ll be in contact, using different channels depending on where I am and the work I’m doing. So it might be a phone call while I’m driving, a quick email before starting a workshop, social media posts between meetings, or a video meet if I’m in my home office, which is in Long Bay, Auckland, NZ.
How often do I have to travel?
Typically once a week you’ll need to travel into Central Auckland or the North Shore for an in-person team meeting for a couple of hours (and yes team means you and me). This might end up being fortnightly with video meets between – however if you’re not able to meet in person weekly this won’t be the right job for you. There’s some flexibility in the timing of these to work in with your other commitments, however it will also be dictated by my schedule. The role will also at times involve helping set-up for workshops which will be an early morning start in Central Auckland about once a month.