May you live in interesting times
Are you familiar with this phrase? Some call it a curse, but I call it a fact of life.
Think of the changes in office environments in recent months and years. A number of institutions have been divesting themselves of bricks and mortar investments, as well as human capital. In Scotland, on the heels of thousands of job cuts and the closure of 25% of its branches, a major financial institution has introduced an avatar on a trial basis. Not all forms of AI are assigned female names, but the majority are – and that’s what the bank has done with Cora, which is designed to answer simple banking questions.
Elsewhere, other forms of artificial intelligence (AI) are being incorporated for scheduling purposes.
As Baby Boomer executives exit the C-Suite, who will replace them? Younger people, who are generally more self-sufficient when it comes to technology. Whatever the demographics and technical skills of C-Suite execs, some see appointing one Executive Assistant (EA) per executive as an unnecessary luxury.
I’m in regular touch with a number of my readers, and know of more than a handful on different continents whose roles have been deemed redundant in the last couple of years. Some were presented opportunities to accept buyout packages, while – in the case of one senior EA – the decision was made for (rather than by) the individual. The situation may intensify in some geographic locales; just two days ago, the New York Times’ front page featured the headlines, “Britain’s Big Squeeze” and, “In Britain, Austerity is Changing Everything”.
It’s not all bad news
While in some instances it’s taken these readers more than a few months to land on their respective feet in new jobs, the outcomes have generally been happy. For the most part, these individuals found new positions of comparable or higher levels of responsibility and compensation.
Some assistants reading this may be shaking your heads in sympathy with those who’ve found themselves in such situations. You may enjoy a high degree of stability and security in your workplace. That’s typical of many readers whose careers are humming along very nicely, and who enjoy the good fortune of working with terrific colleagues.
What makes for a good boss?
This has me thinking about what constitutes a good working environment. People naturally desire an attractive compensation package. Many want to feel connected with good colleagues and to feel engaged in a positive workplace culture, and I’ll turn to these factors in upcoming Polls.
Another factor that can’t be overstated is the importance of a good rapport with your principal or boss. I’ve written before about how the relationship between you and your principal is paramount to career satisfaction and success.
You can find plenty of articles about what employers should look for when selecting a new employee, but what qualities do you seek in your principal or boss? In an interview situation, it’s not only the employer assessing the candidates; any assistant worth her or his salt will also be assessing the prospects of a positive working relationship. What factors are high on your list of must haves to join or stay working with a given individual or team of bosses?
All this, of course, leads to the topic of my latest Weekend Poll:
What qualities do you look for in a boss?
Please take a couple of minutes to complete the poll below. As always, I look forward to hearing what you have to say and will publish results early next week. In the questions with rating scales, a “1” implies nice to have, but not a priority – while a “5” implies that it’s critical.