What can I do with efficiency?
September 14, 2010 10:05 AM   Subscribe

I am efficient to the point where I can market it. What do I do now?

I'm of those people who can list "detail-oriented" on an resume without lying. I'm really, really good at finding the most efficient way to do a complicated, multi-step task. Usually this involves computers -- setting up a series of applications and decisions to get a user from Step A to Step Z -- but it extends to other clerical and occasionally manual tasks as well. Anything from the most efficient way to check the accuracy of a document to using the mail machine.

I've often trained staff at work (I'm a Records Clerk who was a de facto Supervisor for a while, bumped back down to Clerk when they replaced the actual Supervisor) on matters of paperwork and my methods are still being used. There's been a substantial increase in speed and correctness of matters with which I am involved since I started here. However, I'm graduating soon (B.A. in English) and after three years here, I want to leave to greener pastures (plus I can't get full-time or benefits.)

I know this amounts to "hard worker" and "diligent" but what can I do specifically with this? How do I prove I have this skill? What sort of jobs should I look for/be qualified for?
posted by griphus to Work & Money (7 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
...setting up a series of applications and decisions to get a user from Step A to Step Z...

Well, maybe Information Architecture? Lord knows we don't have enough good IA's around here.
posted by functionequalsform at 10:37 AM on September 14, 2010

Sounds like relevant job titles would be Project Manager or Quality Assurance, although you'll need specialized knowledge in one field or another (like engineering, or medical services, or plastic molding, or computer networking, or just about anything) if you want to get very far with that.
posted by echo target at 11:06 AM on September 14, 2010

Actually, I've been in two places that wouldn't have been able to survive without an office manager.

They record finances, create and maintain organizational systems (sometimes on computers, sometimes physical), and do whatever else needs to be done that has more to do with "being a business" than the work of the business.
posted by jander03 at 12:12 PM on September 14, 2010

Go on craigslist, and offer three people your services as an efficiency consultant-- free, in exchange for letting you document your results with them (including audio and video interview). [Cost: $0]

Next, website, built around the case studies. [Cost: $0-200, depending on how you want to handle it.]

Next, press release touting benefit for individual. [Cost: Either 0 or about $100]

Next, offer 1 day free to some feel-good *or* somewhat controversial group, e.g., Save the Fuzzy Animals, Local Employment Agency, ACORN, etc. Make another press release out of this. [Cost: Either 0 or about $100]

Next, offer 1 day free to a grubby reporter at some local alternarag; anything to get some ink.

Between these three items, at least one of which should produce some web-ink that you can put on your website, you probably have enough to begin viably cold-calling local businesses as The Efficiency Guy. (You might also want to quickly write up an "efficiency checklist" you can offer as a giveaway.)
posted by darth_tedious at 12:33 PM on September 14, 2010

Find people who are your opposite by temperament and hit them up for work. Artists, cooks/caterers, musicians, basically any creative type. This involves a little selling (not sure how comfortable you are with that game). Note that this will basically involve you following around an elephant with a giant pooper-scooper, but hey, it's work. Plus, if you're good at it, you should offer it up.
posted by Gilbert at 1:19 PM on September 14, 2010

Look for job postings that mention process documentation and improvement. Many IT business analyst positions are exactly what you want.

Highly simplified description: it is usually project-based work, where you go in and document the existing process, find out what management wants to accomplish, detail the requirements, and hand them off to your developers. Depending on the project and the size of your team, you may also be in charge of testing, user documentation, application support, and initial training. People who are good at listening, clear business communication, establishing quick connections with different people, distilling meaning from unclear statements, logical analysis, and chasing down little details are good at this work. If you can cover all the bases (and asses) at the same time, maybe this is your kind of career.

If you want to find out more, you can look at the IIBA site.
posted by Sallyfur at 5:13 PM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Look into "Lean Office" and getting certified for training/consulting in that area. It's the application of lean manufacturing principles to the office environment and it sounds like you'd be awesome at it.
posted by Jacqueline at 4:42 AM on September 17, 2010

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