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A Day in the Life of a People Person Balancing Care Between His Community and Himself: Meet Steve

Without the diverse, hardworking, intelligent, and kind people who make up our team, Shield wouldn’t be able to offer the level of service we do. At Shield, we love our team and know that our unique perspectives and backgrounds make us stronger while our common values connect us. That’s why each month, we love sharing our team’s stories through our A Day in the Life series, where we hope you can get to know our team a little better.

This month we’re profiling Steve, one of our Account Managers based in Craigavon, Northern Ireland. 

Meet Steve

Steve joined Shield in late 2020 after losing his previous job during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Because it was a fixed-term contract, I was kind of left with no job. And I was so worried about what my future was going to look like and how things were really going to pan out for me,” he says. 

“The coronavirus situation was very, very dire at that point. A lot of companies around that time were actually making people redundant. And I think that’s why I had no hope. People say your glass is either half empty or half full. Usually, mine’s half full. But at this point, it was half empty because I was like, ‘Oh surely, no one’s going to take me.'”

Spending time with his niece, Lucy

He started searching for remote jobs simply because he was already having to shelter in place due to nationwide lockdowns. 

“The only kind of work from home jobs that I was seeing all over the place was, you know, all of those multi-level marketing things,” he says. 

“So when I first looked at Shield, I was like this is too good to be true! International employment and work from home.”

In some ways, Steve’s path towards international HR and employment was also a journey of self-discovery. 

His first step out of school was to study psychology but ultimately stopped in favor of something more practical. 

“It’s a very interesting degree if you have the bandwidth for it, I think. At that time, I just didn’t. So I gave it up, and I went and took a job as a junior mental health support staff,” Steve says. 

“I loved it. My passion for people was already beginning to shine through there. But after doing that for three years, I learned something very interesting about myself. And that’s that I care too much. And I thought, right, I need to disconnect from this kind of work because I’m taking it home with me.”

So, while it was still very important to Steve to work closely with people in a support role, he wanted to look for something in a different field. 

“I thought, ‘stick yourself somewhere behind a computer where you’re not going to get a coffee around the head, where you’re maybe not going to get too emotionally attached.'”

Initially, he started working in recruitment and temporary staffing, where he thought he could still use his people skills but in a totally different setting. 

“I definitely learned a lot there. I loved the whole onboarding and vetting reference checking. I sat and referenced check phone calls, for sometimes two hours, talking about the temporary staff that were maybe coming on board. I loved it.”

But over time, he realized the role he was in was almost too detached. 

“I used to have a lady who ordered temporary staff from me for a local factory. And she was like, ‘I would like to order five temps,’ without even saying their names. And I thought, well, this is very odd,” Steve says. 

His last summer holiday in the Canary Islands before COVID hit

“I saw a big flaw in the relationship between the client and the agency. There was no personable approach to it.” 

In his attempt to have a job with less emotional attachment, he’d unintentionally gone to the other extreme. 

But it wasn’t a total waste. 

“I was made HR business partner in that company,” Steve says. “They took me out of the [recruiting] position. They were like, ‘you’re too outspoken for this, we need to put you in HR.'”

This transition was the beginning of his newfound passion for HR. He went on to study human resource management through the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), took on new roles in the industry, and even began his Masters of Employment Law and Practice.

“So I suppose you could say I fell into HR.”

But one thing is certain, throughout his journey, there was one very evident common thread: Steve’s love for people. 

A day in the life of Steve

5:30 am

Wake up, have some pre-workout drink then drive to the gym for personal training

6:30 am

Drive back from the gym, stopping at Starbucks for a flat white coffee

7:00 am

Back at home, make some oats with water and have some more coffee. I will then sit at my desk and prepare my agenda for the day, in order of urgent/not so urgent based on emails received during my bedtime.

10:00 am

Top-up my coffee and use my ab-roller

10:30 am

Back at my desk, actioning most important emails, SF notifications, etc.

12:00 pm

Stop, make some lunch (usually chicken & rice, as I am on a strict diet)

1:00 pm

Continue with work – check AM Daily Dashboard, Invoice Dashboard, Unpaid Summary Reports, Slack & Skype for any other priority work I need to action or administer

3:00 pm

ANOTHER coffee break – then back to desk

3:00 to 4:00 pm

Full review of case work, starting from urgent cases to low priority, administering and following up with local teams where needed to progress cases (and hopefully close a few)

5:00 pm

NETFLIX and more food. I am currently completing the series ‘The Good Doctor’.

6:30 pm

Final check on my email for anything that I must prioritize for the following day. I do this on my phone, so I do not have to load up my laptop again.

7:00 pm

I like to go for a drive – usually with no destination in mind just to see places (my navigation comes in very handy as I tend to get myself lost!)

9:00 pm

Cup of hot chocolate & more NETFLIX

11:00 pm

Bed & some light reading (or a podcast)

Transitioning into remote work life with Shield

Steve’s experience in HR, particularly around local UK employment law, has been a huge asset for Shield since he joined the team. 

And yet, he admits there was still a lot to learn about the international element of Shield’s service. 

“You could use your skills and your experience of people management to do a great job with Shield, and I think that’s kind of what I did,” he says. “But really your knowledge and your skills and your administrative abilities are learnt in that first six months.”

In the first six months, Shield Associates are trained in our internal processes with a Team Leader and then paired with an Account Manager to learn on the job, assisting with the service portion of the role. 

Petrol karting with friends for his birthday

“My Account Manager that I was going to be working with until the foreseeable future was Marilu. And I think me and Marilu just clicked and that’s what made that working relationship really, really good,” Steve says. 

Though he did have some flexibility in his previous role, this was Steve’s first real experience of working from home. Something he’s really fallen in love with over his time with Shield. 

“You hear ‘work from home’, and you think ‘, Wow, this is great!’ Especially in Northern Ireland, where it’s kind of a typical cliche nine to five workplace. Everyone’s commuting, you can’t get anywhere fast and first thing in the morning here,” Steve says. 

“I think that I’d looked into working from home before because I find that I’m very self-sufficient. I find myself most productive whenever I am sat working by myself — with Celine Dion on in the background, of course!” 

He finds the quieter space more conducive to deep work and loves being able to set his own schedule. 

“I love being able to kind of zone out and sit there, and I think through problems and figure it all out.” 

More recently, Steve’s been incorporating morning workouts into his routine, which he says have helped him feel more energized and productive. 

“I always get my inbox cleared, but some days I reach the end quicker, and I notice those days are actually the days that I exercise,” Steve says.

“So I come out all pumped doing all these barbell squats and all these crazy lunges and stuff that I’ve never even heard of in my life, and there’s a kind of momentum for the rest of the day.”

Setting his own schedule also means making time in his day to spend with his family, who live nearby, especially his sister, who he’s very close with. 

“She’s like my best friend; I couldn’t live without her!” 

This was especially important for Steve, as it’s meant he’s finally found a way to balance his love of people both in and out of his work. 

— Bree Caggiati

Want to know more about Steve? Read about him on Our Team page!

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