Career Spotlight

Share |

If you have a can-do attitude, relish multiple projects, possess a diverse repertoire of talents and skills, and want more than what is considered a ‘typical’ desk job, keep your eyes open for an Operations Assistant opportunity. It’s difficult to pigeonhole what an Operations Assistant does, which is why it appeals to those who have multiple talents and a taste for spontaneity and adventure. One such individual is Kristen H., who is currently having the time of her life as an Operations Assistant at an airpark (a small airport typically located near a business area or industrial park) just north of Los Angeles, California. To give you an up-close look at what an Operations Assistant position entails, we joined Kristen for a typical day on the job.

All's Clear

Just over a month ago, Kristen was job-hunting. Now, she has established a work routine that starts at 8:30 a.m., and ends at 5:30 p.m. While her hours appear ordinary, her workdays are rarely predictable - one of the many reasons why Kristen loves her job so much.

The first order of the day is to check the airpark’s runway for any debris that might get in the way of the small planes that land and take off from the facility. Next, Kristen goes indoors and takes care of office correspondence, and then she’s set for the rest of the day, which she knows will be filled with a diverse assortment of matters that require her attention. Smaller day-to-day tasks include basic bookkeeping for the company, overseeing the maintenance of the facility, taking calls and responding to e-mails, booking video shoots (the site is a popular film location, and is credited in dozens of movies and TV shows including Fight Club, Blade II, Roswell, ER, and most recently, Fear Factor), and even radioing landing directions to pilots who wish to land at the airpark. All these fit neatly between bigger projects which Kristen and the rest of the small company are undertaking with tireless enthusiasm.

A Pilot’s Paradise

“If I were to invent my dream job, it would be very similar to this,” says Kristen. After taking in the laid-back yet dynamic feel of the place, as well as the scenic views, one has to agree. Currently, the vast facility boasts of a beautiful pilot’s lounge, a new taxiway and runway, and lush, park-like surroundings. Her employer, the airpark’s owner and developer, has major plans for expansion, including the construction of a community of homes, a recreation center complete with a pool and, yes, a restaurant. Needless to say, Kristen is in her element spearheading this last venture. Most of her time is now spent handling the logistics of redesigning the site and ordering tables, chairs, partnering with food and beverage suppliers, and securing licenses to serve these. Kirsten is looking forward to being in charge of the restaurant when it opens in early 2003.

On top of this pet project, Kristen’s culinary skills also come into play during weekly barbecues. She helps with the cooking and co-hosts the event, which caters to the pilots of the small private aircraft that fly into the airpark for a fuel, rest stop or even a few days in L.A., with her boss. On top of the good food, pilots and their families are also treated by Kristen and her boss, who is also a pilot, to a ‘nickel tour.’ “We want everyone to learn about the exciting plans we have for the place. Very soon, it will be a true airpark where people can do so much more than fly in and park their planes - this is going to be one really fun place to be!” says Kristen.

Judging from Kristen’s enthusiasm for her job, though, the place is already a really fun place to be. In fact, as far as Kristen is concerned, she’s having the time of her life. What other job combines the thrill of project development, the challenges of troubleshooting, the creativity of marketing and the steadiness of attending to some Administrative tasks? For Kristen, being paid for these rewarding experiences is almost like a bonus.

A Big, Brave Step

Kristen has literally gone a long way to get to where she is now. Before launching her Operations Assistant career, she owned a restaurant in Massachusetts, did catering for an institutional food service, and worked as a food broker. Deciding she wanted to broaden her horizons, she left the food business and attended a technical school and took computer classes. This led to an internship as a bookkeeper, and then to a full-time Administrative stint at a dealership that bought and sold aircraft. It was here that Kristen learned about airplanes - not only from her work, but also the aviation aficionados that were the dealership’s clients. A people person, Kristen really enjoyed the customer relations part of her job, which let her interact with others the way she did when she was a restauranteur. Despite her flourishing professional life, Kristen felt she wanted something more. After thinking long and hard, she sold her home, bid all her peers and friends in Massachusetts farewell, and accepted her family’s long-standing invitation to join them in California.

Successful Searching

In Los Angeles, Kristen’s next move was to find a new job in a new city. After casually perusing newspaper ads and attending a job fair, Kristen decided to look for a staffing agency. Her logic was that good companies are likely to make this investment to ensure quality candidates. Kristen found AppleOne online, and not only that - AppleOne had an ad for a food industry purchasing agent position near where she lives! Kirsten acted quickly, but unfortunately, the position had just been filled. Still, said Account Executive Jennifer Engstrom, why not come in for an interview? Two weeks after they met, Jennifer called saying she had found the perfect job for Kristen - and the potential employer was quite impressed with Kirsten’s resume and wanted to interview her for an Operations Assistant position, ASAP! Unable to resist Jennifer’s enthusiasm, Kristen agreed to go. And things, as pilots love to say, just took off from there.

Share |