Posted 11.11.15 by prhcareers
“There’s more of a culture of asking forgiveness rather than permission.”
Who better to show you what life is like at Penguin Random House than the people who work here? We are going to be featuring a series of blogs from colleagues across the business so you can hear first-hand what day-to-day life is like.
What do people like best? What are the challenges? And what’s it like to do their job at Penguin Random House?
First-up meet Claire – Business Partnership Manager in our Technology Team.
Hello Claire – so you’re a Business Partnership Manager – what does that mean?
As a Business Partnership Manager, I’m technically part of Technology. I spend most of my time working very closely with certain areas of the business, primarily for me, Consumer and Digital Development and HR. I work with my contacts in the business to ensure they’re getting what they need from Technology, whilst learning about their future plans to feed into the Technology strategic development roadmap.
Where were you before Penguin Random House?
Directly before Penguin Random House, I worked at Oxford Dictionaries to set up a programme licencing dictionary content to some of the world’s leading global tech companies. I also worked as Analyst on oxforddictionaries.com, which receives 11 million unique visitors each month. Prior to that, I was an ELT editor for 5 years, and before that, I worked in France, Germany, Spain and Switzerland.
What’s it like to do your job at Penguin Random House?
Compared to my experience at other companies, there’s a lot more freedom at Penguin Random House to take ownership of projects and just get things done. There’s more of a culture of asking forgiveness rather than permission. It took me a long time to get used to this but it does mean there are opportunities for people who are willing to own that responsibility.
What’s the culture like in your team?
I’m lucky enough to work with many different teams, and they each have different characteristics. Some patterns that I’ve noticed throughout the company are that everyone works incredibly hard, is dedicated to getting results and is proud of our brand.
What’s the most exciting thing that’s happened to you at work this week?
I’m part of a working group to organize a Technology away day in early December. There’s a great atmosphere on the team, meeting with them is always productive and fun. I look forward to any meetings I have with that group.
Best thing about your job?
Variety – no two days are the same, and I’m involved in lots of different projects which all move at different speeds; I’m never bored. I also really enjoy helping people move their projects forward and getting the appropriate levels of buy-in from within Technology or the wider business. I’m particularly interested in working out the composition of teams to ensure projects are optimized and to ensure (wherever possible) a harmonious, fun working environment.
Biggest challenge to your job?
Technology is a very new team (remember, 2 years ago, this team didn’t even exist and is now 150 people). Scaling fast with a backdrop of legacy systems presents significant challenges. Prioritization is a challenge – it’s not nice having to tell anyone that there isn’t capacity to take on their projects, especially when they’re great ideas, but we have to be incredibly pragmatic. Workload is an ongoing challenge.
All-time favourite book/story?
Too many to mention. I love Phillip Pullman’s ‘His Dark Materials’, Steven Covey’s ‘Seven Habits of Highly Successful People’ and Susan Cain’s ‘Quiet’.