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Holding it all together

Every company has people that hold everything together - and get stuff done.

When I was an young Ensign in the Navy, their payroll system had a close to 100% failure rate - every time something changed - they would screw it up for months. I had just moved to Newport to go to school and was living out in town. My rent was high, even in the off season, even with a roommate. My pay was screwed up for weeks - I soon depleted my savings and had the humiliating task of asking my parents for help until my back pay kicked in.

To get things fixed, I had to go to the "Personnel Support Detachment," which was like the DMV, only with less customer service skills. They were closed at lunchtime, and often closed for entire business days so their people could train, do their physical fitness test, office party or whatever excuse they could come up with to not work with the personnel they supported.

There were probably a dozen Navy and civilians working in the office. I remember there was one guy, Pete, a civilian, who always had a line in front of him. The rest of the lines were devoid of customers. Being a wet-behind-the ears Ensign, it took me a while to figure out why Pete's line was always so long. He was the fixer. The guy who knew how to get things done and fixed and the rent to get paid. It took him a while, but when Pete saw me walk in, he'd wave me over and give me an update. In the end, I was paid correctly, and was able to pay my debts to may parents back.

As I continued my career in the Navy, I learned that there were "Petes" all over - the people who cared about their job, worked hard, found the answers, and took care of their customers. There was that Chief in Supply who could magically find parts we needed somewhere in the world and the bartender at the club that made sure the seagoing sailors felt at home.

Most companies and organizations have these people - I call them rivets - sprinkled throughout their organizational chart. It could be Maggie in Marketing who has built relationships with people across departments. Perhaps Steve in facilities that makes sure the sidewalks are clear of snow before any employees could possibly show up. Maybe it's Catherine in Operations who personally sent cards to all the employee's kids on their birthday.

I started The Rivet Group to help companies find the right people, those people that hold their company together. We also know that to be a rivet, you need to find the right job for you. We do that too.

I hope if you are reading this you find yourself in a place where you know what I'm talking about. If not, we'd love to talk to you.

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