I’m in the midst of preparations to deliver an onboarding session for some newcomers next week, and the process has made me reflect on orientations I’ve received as the new kid on the office block.
My experience has been that, the more senior the administrative role I’ve assumed, the higher the expectation that I’ll step into the role ready to perform with minimal hand holding and orientation.
In my first admin. role, as Executive Secretary to the Treasurer of a private company, I had the benefit of a week with the incumbent Mo before she departed for maternity leave. When I was offered the opportunity to work with one of the same company’s VPs, I established my own systems and routines, as both the VP’s position and mine were newly established. Still with the same company, I moved along with the VP when he was promoted to COO and … you guessed it. There was zero overlap between the outgoing President’s Executive Secretary Lois and yours truly.
Fast forward to having children, and deciding once they were in school that I’d return to a (theoretically) nine to five administrative role. I joined the public sector, and the pattern repeated.
Hired as Executive Secretary to an academic Dean, I think I had at least a solid week of orientation and transition time with Bobbi, who was heading off to retirement. My next role in the same organisation was (you guessed it) an entirely new role, working with a newly minted VP in a pair of recently created positions. I loved the opportunity to define and establish our office systems.
Expectations of job preparedness increase with the level of responsibility
Less than a couple of years later, with a wonderful colleague heading off onto maternity leave, recruitment began in early December. Shortlisting happened in January, and I was interviewed on a Tuesday or Wednesday. Later the same week, I was hired to step in as EA to the President and CEO. I started in the role the following Monday. That’s right; I began on the very date Joanna had long before identified as the commencement of her leave. No matter how carefully people plan, and despite the best of intentions, that can be the way the cookie crumbles.
I relocated in order to accept the position I now hold, and that was one of the factors in my receiving a one and a half day orientation with the lovely Margaret, who was retiring despite being anything but a retiring personality.
This leads to the focus of this weekend’s poll …
How extensive an orientation did you receive when commencing your current role?