I admire a high-level executive assistant who said to her peers in a class I was teaching, “At our company, we insulate ourselves. We think we are the best executive assistants alive, but we are not. We have much to learn.” This executive assistant is a seasoned professional with 25+ years of experience in the administrative profession. Her statement came after she had attended the Office Dynamics 18th Annual Conference for Administrative Excellence where she interacted with 238 executive and administrative assistants from around the globe. It took courage for her to admit that which shows that she is a mature individual.
The good news about working in an organization for 15+ years is that you really know your organization. You have history, experience, industry knowledge; you know where to find information and how to utilize your resources; you are comfortable. The downside is that a person begins to believe that this is the only way the world works. And so you can have a group of executive assistants who believe they operate at the very highest level, yet they have not exposed themselves to assistants outside of their realm.
Are you insulated? How many external networks do you have? How many administrative conferences have you attended in the past 5 years? What is the number of external executive assistants you have met outside your city and/or state? Are you uncomfortable around assistants who don’t think exactly like you do? Are you open to hearing new ideas? Do you believe that you have more room to grow and excel? Whatever your belief is, that is what you are living.
I remember when I first moved away from Cleveland, Ohio after living there for 24 years, I believed every other city in the USA was like where I grew up. I traveled with my parents to nice places for vacations and I attended administrative conferences outside of Cleveland and considered myself fairly worldly. But when I started moving around to different states because of my husband’s great career in outdoor advertising, I learned that wasn’t so. I’ve lived in 8 states in 25 years ranging from North Carolina to Virginia, Tennessee, Michigan to Nevada and more. I learned a great deal from every place we lived, the people I met, and by opening my eyes. I am thankful that my husband, Dave, urged me to leave Cleveland, OH and go on an exciting adventure with him. I have hundreds of people to thank for enriching my life.