In honor of Administrative Professionals Day, I want to share my thoughts on being an executive or administrative assistant. When people tell me, “Anyone can do that job,” it bothers me. It tells me that person doesn’t really know what it takes to be a great assistant. Being in the administrative profession is a career of choice.
I hear it from both sides of the desk. I hear assistants talk about their job or the profession as if it is no big deal. I hear managers or Human Resources professionals say it doesn’t take any special skill to be an administrative assistant. These people are naïve, to say the least.
A true Executive Assistant must do 100 things well. A stellar Executive Assistant must think of every detail for every function such as calendar management, travel planning, meeting preparation and execution, and e-mail management. Those are just the fundamentals. Top-performing executive assistants or administrative assistants must also be:
- A leader
- A mind reader
- Technically proficient
- Director of office operations
- Manager of your executive’s work-life
- Stress reducer
- And more. I’m sure you get the picture.
Working in the administrative profession can be very rewarding if you choose to step outside of your comfort zone and take risks. Assistants can create the type of career they want today. They can choose to expand their job right where they are now. An assistant can strive to be a strategic business partner with his or her executive, but it takes work.
If you are considering being an executive assistant, keep in mind that the opportunities are limitless.
If you have been in the administrative profession for 25+ years, know that you can keep growing, expanding, and learning. In fact, you need to continually learn and grow.
If you have been in the administrative profession for around 10 years, think about what you can do to add more interest to your job. Also, be sure to set goals for where you want to be in 3 years and 5 years.