Day 10: 12 Days of Real Careers

It’s Day 10 of this series, in which I’m bringing you excerpts from some more of my Real Careers interviews.

If you’re wanting to put this year to rest with some thoughtful perspectives on the career, check out all 12 articles.

Today, we’re looking at more Real Careers interview excerpts from around the globe. Here we go!


Have a business case to reinforce your ask; keep a running log of your successes and wins

Leeanne Adu was born in West Berlin and lives in London, England. I asked Leeanne for her thoughts on promotions and career growth. “ If you don’t ask, you don’t get … but before you ask, make sure you have all your ducks in a row.  Write down all your achievements and your goals. Show your evidence and have the facts on hand.”

She added, “When you approach your employer, don’t give them any room to doubt why they should give you the promotion. If you have it all written down in a factual and logical way, then it will be much harder to ignore. Of course we all want to feel valued and hope our bosses see it without our input, but unfortunately this is not always the case. Business cases are important for you to remember your value and also to help your employer remember. Keep a running log of all your successes and wins, and you can’t go wrong.”


Relationships … are important to ensure I can do a good job, but they are also important to me personally

Joanna Campbell comes from New Zealand, and lives in Kelowna, Canada. In considering insights that would have been helpful in the early stages of her career, Joanna identified three. “Stay organised. Don’t take things personally. Stand up for yourself in a polite, firm way.”

Joanna stressed the importance of trust between an assistant and executive, and spoke about working relationships in general. “I am proud of the relationships I have built and maintained. I think they are important to ensure I can do a good job, but they are also important to me personally.”


The most important thing for me is the personality fit with my executive(s)

Cindy Moeser lives in Ajax, Ontario. I asked Cindy to discuss career growth and promotion. She commented, “In my career, I have found that the most important thing for me is the personality fit with my executive(s). A bad fit can be very challenging and often demotivating. The biggest piece of advice I can offer is to go with your gut when moving from one role to the next, and keep an eye out for red flags during the hiring process – if something does not feel right, there is a reason. I once ignored my gut to get out of a job that I was not enjoying and it landed me in an even worse situation. For career growth, I would recommend that you network with other EAs and attend as many events as you can to understand the dynamics of this ever-changing role.”


Look for stretch opportunities, and take the initiative

Lisa Olsen was born in Washington, DC and lives in Sacramento, California. Some of her recommendations included a focus on professionalism. “Value yourself enough to be committed to your role – no matter what capacity or level. Look for stretch opportunities and take appropriate initiative. Always have a professional attitude and carry yourself well. Maintain your credibility at all costs. Don’t get caught up in office gossip, and never speak negatively about your boss. Read. Find a mentor or coach. Practice being the assistant you aspire to be!”


Perfection is the enemy of good enough; sometimes, “good enough” is, indeed, good enough

Christabell Pinchin lives in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. In her interview, we discussed time management. Christabell’s thoughts? “Two things: Perfection is the enemy of ‘good enough’. My biggest time management issue was that I felt everything needed to be perfect the first go ’round. I have learned to remind myself often that sometimes ‘good enough’ is indeed good enough. Break a project into pieces and check in often with those around you as you finish each ‘piece’”. It’s easier and much more efficient to correct a path you are on mid-way through rather than starting over from scratch.”


Ask questions, don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself, and be yourself

Jacqui Quigley was born in County Monaghan in the Republic of Ireland, and lives in Dublin.  Jacqui reflected on the importance of networking: “I think that, if I had networked earlier in my career, I might be in a very different place now. Networking increases your opportunities, assists with meeting new people and improves your confidence.”

Do you like your position, but want to contribute more significantly? Jacqui offered these ideas. “If you plan to stay in your role but want to develop the role further, this is how I progressed in my role at PwC: I would suggest sitting down with your boss and discussing where you would like your role to go, what new tasks you would like to take on and how it could help the business. S/he might also suggest an area of development. Be upfront, honest and clear but, most of all, be confident in your abilities.”


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