invest in your professional development

Administrative Assistants, How to Co-invest In Your Future

I can’t tell you the number of times people have told me they won’t attend a conference or training program if their employer will not pay for it. Additionally, many people will not even purchase a book or online program for themselves. I find this amazing as investing in your education is the best investment you can make. You will always get a great return on your investment (providing you are grasping the information and doing something with it.)

I was an employee for 20 years before I started my own business. I was in the administrative profession for all 20 years and I did not earn nearly what assistants earn today. Yes, I wanted my employers to pay for my education or training or to send me to a conference. And most often, they did. But I also spent my own hard-earned money to learn and become the best assistant I could. When I left the workforce as an employee and started my own business, I did not have much money and I did not have clients. However, I invested what funds I did have on learning and developing myself in my new career as a corporate trainer, business owner, and speaker. And have continued that for 28 years.

I understand you don’t want to spend your own money but that is a short-term view. Instead think of the long-term payoff when you invest in yourself, education and development.

There can be a happy medium. I am calling it co-investing. In other words, you invest in your education and your company invests in your education. So when your executive or management says no to you attending a conference, workshop or purchasing e-books or online training, tell them you will pay 40% or even 50%. This way they will see that you really want this education; that you are serious about your career and that you are willing to put some skin in the game. Your executive will be more inclined to go to bat for you and get the funds. Also, by co-investing, you are adding to your bag of skills which you will take with you the rest of your life.

Another way of co-investing that I’ve seen with assistants who have attended our annual conference for assistants or our World Class Assistant™ certification program is where the assistant paid for her accommodations and travel while the company paid for the registration costs. Or the assistant used vacation time and paid the registration while the company paid all travel expenses.

Be creative. You can create a win-win and secure your career in the future by investing in yourself. You might want to mull this over as you lounge by the pool or sit by the lake this summer. Open your mind to seeing yourself as someone worth investing in. This way you will be prepared when fall comes and you start looking at some educational opportunities for yourself.

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9 thoughts on “Administrative Assistants, How to Co-invest In Your Future”

  1. This year I’m going to try and invest in me and training. Won’t be able to afford Office Dynamics; however, I’m sure I can find others. Joan hopefully in two years I’ll save money and be able to attend one of your conferences in Las Vegas. Any suggestions on trainings in the El Paso, TX or Las Cruces, NM area would be great. Or any website suggestions. Thanks for inspiring me and others!

  2. OK Joan and Jasmine!! Because of THIS blog and yesterdays Facebook LIVE, I’m gonna present to my boss again about the conference, but with a split cost. I put in what I think my family can afford. And we will go from there!! Stay Tuned. #prayingforyes

  3. Great ideas listed here. However, I will add all managers attend conferences all the time and every department/group has a discretionary budget for travel per employee paid for by the company. If your manager says no to a conference, ask that the funds be allocated in the next year budget along with the all reasons why. It’s very difficult for me to spend my own money when I see tons of managers travelling to conferences, all expenses paid. What a slap in the face for diversity of assistants if they have to spend their own money.

    1. Thanks so much for these points, Nina. That is true that in many companies there is already a budget for it (and we just don’t ask so we don’t know it’s there). At least that was the case for me. I worked for a large company for years before I asked to attend a training event for the first time. It wasn’t until after I asked that I was made aware of it. The co-investment option is a great way for assistants who don’t have a budget for training in their companies. I definitely agree, we must lift this profession up. My hope is that one day assistants won’t have to fight for their training like they do today.

      Thanks for pointing out the divide. It’s something that needs to be addressed.

      1. We, as a start up, do not have a discretionary budget. I have a meeting with my CEO tomorrow. He’s been gone for a couple of weeks raising money for our company, so I have to be clear and effective in my communication (another skill I’m getting better at). I have it all laid out in an excel spreadsheet – with points about each session – he likes details like that.

    2. Nina, that is a good point. It is true that managers easily receive approval for training and conferences. And yes, it does not seem fair. But to be honest, things aren’t fair in like or the workplace. At that point, an individual has an option to hold back and not do things or move forward with their life. When we can’t change something, we can change ourselves and how we approach something. It has been my life mission to get companies to invest in their assistants’ professional development. I have been doing this for 25+ years. And we have made great progress. Yet, there is a long way to go. The only one who loses out is you, not the other person or company.

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