Personal Growth Is Your Responsibility

<Guest Blog Post by Judi Moreo>

One of the biggest assets any Administrative Assistant can have is the understanding that her personal growth is her responsibility.  This may mean attending training programs to increase your skills.  Very often your companies will pay for these courses if your employer sees the benefit to the company for you to have the training. It is your responsibility to source the training you need and bring it to the attention of your employer.  Yet, personal development can also mean that you increase your knowledge and skills by taking the initiative to read books, listen to audio tapes, read trade magazines, and be constantly observant of your surroundings.

Having a mentor will help an assistant develop skills.  Mentors are people who possess skills, knowledge, and attributes that you would like to also possess. They are people you know personally who are willing to give you advice and feedback on your performance.  In every organization, there is a person in a powerful position who would be honored to share knowledge with you, if only he or she knew you were interested.


You can grow a great deal as well by networking.  This means making regular contact with people who have similar interests.  They could be people who work in your organization or people you meet by attending meetings of professional organizations. After meeting the person, keep in touch by dropping a note or making a call.  This will help you build your network.  Through networking contacts, you will often be able to obtain valuable information or discover pitfalls which you will want to avoid.


If you don’t already have one, put together a plan for your own personal development.  In this way, you’ll be able to focus on definite objectives as well as track and measure your progress.  When you take responsibility for your own development, it shows others that you are serious about your growth and your career.

You have taken ownership of your career and professional development by taking the time to read and participate in this blog-a-thon. What’s one additional thing you can do in the future for your personal growth?

About our guest blogger:

Judi Moreo is one of America’s foremost Personal Growth experts and the author of You Are More Than Enough:  Every Woman’s Guide to Purpose, Passion, and Power.

See Judi at the 22nd Annual Conference for Administrative Excellence [The Resilient Assistant].


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49 thoughts on “Personal Growth Is Your Responsibility”

  1. I have been ‘just’ a secretary at my current company for twelve and a half years. With a total of about 25 years of being ‘just’ a secretary with major responsibilities to keep the offices running. I’ve never done payroll or hiring/firing.

    Anyway, I have started looking at myself and my position differently. I am starting to realize how competent I truly am.

    But, I am wondering if at the age of fifty-four it’s too late.

    Am I too old to to consider working toward certification?

    1. Wendy,
      Get Peggy Vasquez’s book, “NOT, Just an Admin” You will love it …and it will give you some powerful information. Peggy is speaking at Office Dynamics upcoming event in October. Be sure to catch up with her!

  2. I couldn’t agree more! I have more than once given this advice to administrative professionals. “You own your own development!” Other development opportunities include volunteering to lead a project and, if applicable, join a team in your organization that is outside of your department. We have business resource groups that are always looking for volunteers to work on various projects, events, or communications. These are great ways to develop yourself outside of your comfort zone.

  3. I believe that getting continuing education is an investment in me. While my company does not always pay for the training, I quite often will pay out of my own pocket to get the training I need and/or want.

  4. All of the staff at my organization has to submit an annual P3 (Personalized Performance Plan), and include personal and professional goals. Sometimes as an EA, it’s hard to make professional goals that don’t include things like “try not to cry from being overwhelmed everyday”. This year, I added the possibility of certification, but with the budget the way it is here, we can’t really afford to send me to training classes, etc. These Monday Motivators and the Blog-a-thon are quite helpful and I’m using them as a new step in my growth as well. I would still like to look into some further opportunities, but for now, these have been interesting and I feel like I’m taking something away from them. The webinars are fabulous also – can’t wait for tomorrow’s!

  5. i strongly believe in personal and career development. none of us are too at the top of our game to not need or want more growth and to learn new ideas and concepts. i’m lucky in that i haven’t met a manager yet who has not encouraged me to continue to grow and learn in my career and i’m very grateful for that.

    1. Isn’t it great, Debra, to work for and with people who encourage you growth? Not everyone is so lucky to have those great managers you have managed to have in your professional life.

  6. I absolutely love Personal Development and I am grateful at my place of work they encourage it. They have a separate division just for personal development. I think it is really important that even if you don’t have one that you should go out and do as much as possible on your own. We owe it to ourselves to make ourselves valuable and I truly believe that if we stop learning, we stop living. I am grateful for the network I have and how it keeps growing. I am always learning from every admin or anyone in the office. I am extremely grateful that the admins on the team where I work get together and discuss challenges, improvements, ideas, etc…we are definitely stronger together than as just one.

    1. Kim, Having the support of other admins is a real blessing. I wish more workplaces would encourage the admins to meet, share, and support one another. Work is so much more pleasurable when we have a team!

  7. This is the first year I will not have paid training classes so I have taken it upon myself to look for new and interesting online training classes and webinars through Office Dynamic, All Things Admin, etc… And if the city every budgets and upgrades our systems from Microsoft 2003 to 2013, I’ll teach myself the newer versions and become the go to person for over half our department

  8. Katherine Margard

    Nothing has contributed more to my professional development the past few years than the creation of a grass-roots administrative professionals network we have here at the university I work at. A few of us who are like-minded about professional development got together for our first meeting in 2010. There were 30 of us then and we now number more than 275 people across our university. We meet bimonthly and are planning our fourth annual day-long professional development conference. We’ve grown through word of mouth and have invited speakers on topics of interest to administrative professionals – both content experts from our university, as well as our colleagues to speak on best practices (and gaining leadership skills in the process). There is a core group of us who are passionate about this subject and keep the group going. Three of us were fortunate enough to attend one of the Office Dynamics annual conferences in the past. From there, we do a lot of research online about education topics that are pertinent to our jobs, using the great free resources from Office Dynamics and other sources. It all started with an email for us – just one person asking her peers if they wanted to join with her in pursuing professional excellence.

    1. Gina Van Dusen

      Katherine, I have attempted to get a group like this going at my university. I originally did it through IAAP but they have changed how they are doing things and no longer have the local group. I would love to talk to you about your group and how you got it started, how you got supervisors to support it, etc! I am new to Office Dynamics but am liking it a lot.

  9. An additional thing you can do in the future for your personal growth is to make time. “If it’s important to you, you’ll find a way. If not…you’ll find an excuse.” This past year, I integrated my health goals and accepted new challenges I never thought I could do, such as running a 10K and climbing 52 stories for fundraising. Making time meant waking up at 4:45 AM with a running buddy to keep me accountable.

  10. Thank you for the article, I truly believe in continuing education and personal growth. I served on a employee grievance committee where an employee had been terminated due to their inability to meet the standards set for success in their particular position. One of the committee members asked the employee who was responsible for their success in their job and the employee responded their manager. Once the committee was in conference that became a point of discussion. We all agreed that the employee was not being accountable for their own success and therefore their grievance had no foundation. We can’t depend on others in order to be successful, we have to be responsible and willing to take the necessary steps for our own success.

  11. I feel that any growth within any company is your responsibility. You need to communicate with your boss on a regular basis. Keep them in the know of what you would like to pursue to further your career/knowledge. More times than not they will assist in anyway they can.

  12. I work for a non-profit social services agency; so training for administrative staff is virtually non-existent in house. I’ve been greatly blessed to have had 4 managers who see the benefit of my belonging to IAAP, attending local conference events and having the ability to participate in webinars. My current boss and I are discussing the possibilities of me taking short-term courses over the next few months at the local community college to increase my knowledge and skill sets in specific areas.

    1. Robyn, It’s wonderful that you are receiving so much support from your company. Be sure to submit reports from your training and write thank you notes to managers. It’s important they know how much you appreciate their support.

  13. Great article! I’ve been a firm believer that we are the key drivers in our chosen career path. Yes, we need support from others, but without our own personal drive our career won’t move forward. It’s important to HAVE mentors and to BE mentors. Everyone benefits! When requesting support for continuing education, but sure and offer to share that information with other admins and support staff in your company. That’s an additional incentive for your employer to support you. Information is only good if it’s used and passed along.

  14. Excellent blog! Thank you! As a new Executive Assistant, I am looking for conferences near Madison WI also trade magazines!

  15. Great post! It’s so true that we each have to take responsibility for our own development. We can’t rely on our managers or others to do this for us. We should make that investment in ourselves and communicate that to our managers so it becomes a partnership for growth. I only started doing this myself recently and I have already noticed changes in my interactions with others.

  16. Debbie Pringle

    I have been an Assistant for 14 years, but just recently became a full time Executive Assistant.with an greatly expanded role and responsibilities. In addition to seeking out helpful books, classes and conferences, I have recently e-mailed all the Senior Admin Assistants where I work to see if they’d be interested in participating in a forum where we can all help each other

    . I don’t know if outside training will be approved, but I do know that we each have strengths and weaknesses and that we can help each other. So far, I have gotten a good response, and I hope to grow it ito something more structured and formal from which we can all benefit.

  17. So true! I get training wherever I can and take advantage of many networking opportunities. You never know where you will find that connection that can help you shine!

  18. One additional thing I can do in the future for personal growth would be to invest in my career. We are in a down cycle and so I am personally investing in a class to further my personal development. Learning is a lifelong process.

  19. Sometimes your push for personal growth also inspires the desire to learn in your coworkers and superiors (I’ve found this in my current position). I’ve been asked where I get my information for additional training and, of course, I’ve referred people to Office Dynamics.

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