13 Years of Office Depot – Interview with Bogdan Buta
I am currently a Team Manager for the Cash Application team (Accounts Receivable). My main responsibilities are somehow split into 2 focus areas: people management and process management. I’ve always liked working with people, even though on many occasions the challenges are much higher than the one would encounter in managing processes. However, once you can put together a functional team, not just from a process perspective, it’s much easier to approach difficult tasks and have good results.
These days, looking at the worldwide situation, it is even more challenging to manage both people and processes. It isn’t easy to keep the team motivated in a continuous shifting environment, having many limitations due to not being able to have the entire team in the office, and coping with changing and dynamic targets. Therefore, team motivation and performance are the ones I’m trying to focus on. Looking at the processes, the main areas I’m addressing now are monitoring performance, process improvement, and innovation.
Office Depot journey
My journey with Office Depot started on the 1st of February 2008. I have started to work as a Process Assistant in the UK&IE Premier Credit & Collection team. One year later I moved to a Process Specialist role within the same team and after just 9 other months I have been given the opportunity to go to the UK and transition the Credit Authorisation process. In the 6 weeks that I’ve spent there, I have learned a lot about people, processes, and myself, as I’ve pushed myself over the limit and managed to put up together a successful transition alongside my 2 other colleagues.
In February 2011 I had the opportunity to move to a Project Manager role and in September, the same year, I had the opportunity to move away from OD and help build a Service Centre for another company. I remember clearly that I didn’t want to go away but my first direct manager explained that it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I would have lots of things to learn from this experience. As always, she was right, and I’ve spent a little over 3 years outside OD only to return at the beginning of 2015 and continue to grow to this day in Office Depot.
Since 2015 I’ve been managing the European Reporting Team, the UK&IE Credit Authorization Team, and now the Contract Oracle Cash Application Team. I believe that each of these roles contributed to my development, having ups and downs as each of us would normally have, but the important thing if to keep going, keep learning, keep trying and give your very best day by day.
First day at Office Depot
I remember clearly the first day I went for the interview at the old OD location. The position I’ve initially applied for was for a “back office” team for UK&IE, but during the interview, the interviewers realized that my communication skills would be more useful somewhere else. At the end of the interview, I have been asked to stay and have a second interview with another manager. After a second interview with Ioana Cecalacean and the HR Manager, I found myself starting a Process Assistant role in the UK&IE Premier Credit & Collection team instead of the Cash App Assistant role for which I have initially applied. I am grateful to Ioana to this day for trusting me to give me this role, as I loved what I was doing as a collector and I had a lot to learn from her as well as from my colleagues.
Why Office Depot?
Loyalty is one of the principles I strongly believe in, although some may say that being loyal is not necessarily a quality. However, in Office Depot, I found it very easy to be and stay loyal due to the 2 main ingredients: the people – the colleagues were great, we were working hard and growing stronger together, having a good time outside office hours as well when we had the chance to spend time together; the company – it offered me the possibility to grow, learn, move to different, more complex and diverse roles
The people of Office Depot are…
For me, people are the key to almost any successful outcome. I have always tried to consider the following principle: let me put together a great team and we’ll happily and successfully deal with anything one would have us do! Being for so long with OD, I can say that I’ve been witnessing a couple of generation changes. The first few years starting with 2008 have set a high standard in people’s interaction. These times were tough, and this made us bond and build strong relationships that are still lasting after such a long time. Up until 2018-2019, I’ve seen many new faces, the younger generations taking over and wanting everything to be done on fast forward. Moving towards the present time I have the feeling that a part of the old feeling I had related to colleagues I’m working with has returned, again having tough times as we all do nowadays and having to be a part of a strong team in order to deal with the challenges.
For me growing inside the company was not a clear set goal. Most of what I’ve done to get here was to do my job the best I could, listen, and help as much and as many colleagues as possible, and doing my best to be there for someone when needed. By working hard, investing more than it was in the job description, and adding my “secret ingredient” (caring for the ones around me) I’ve been offered the opportunity to grow and take onboard new tasks, new challenges.
Advice to a person who wants to join Office Depot
Go for it! If you are fair and honest to yourself and with the ones around you, it could only be a win-win deal both for yourself and for Office Depot! This is a place full of amazing people and lots of development opportunities just waiting for the right person to fill in the available seat!
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