I’m happy to bring you Day Eight of this year’s edition of 12 Days of Real Careers.
If you’ve just now come across this annual celebration of insights and fellow assistants, have a look at this post to learn more. You’ll also find links at the base of this article to all interviews featured to date within this year’s 12 Days.
Think of these 12 Days as gifts of experience and wisdom that we can all incorporate. To read the full interview from any of these individuals, just click on her or his name.
Do not passively wait to be told something
Carla Stefanut, Italy: ” I watch the news because it is my opinion that an EA, no matter her/his role or position, should be constantly informed – and not only about one’s industry, but also on what happens around the world. In a global economy, nothing exists in isolation any more … Read about your industry to develop an understanding about the business. And accept new challenges; never stop learning and improving one’s self.
… I believe in the importance of being social, not only for personal purposes. EAs/PAs are a fifth of the world’s working population and, if we make ourselves visible, we become not only brand ambassadors for ourselves or for our company, but for our profession, too.”
Contribute to your profession; don’t stand on the sidelines
Margo Baptista, Canada: “Keep your mind open to all possibilities. Show up, give your best effort, ask lots of questions, and … Learn everything you can about the field. Be willing to put in the time and energy that is needed to learn and progress. Be flexible. Find ways to continuously improve – e.g., business processes, documents, etc.
Contribute to your profession – don’t stand on the sidelines. Take risks – often the best learning experiences are the ones that scared you the most when they first came to your attention. Listen – be attentive to the person you are with and hear what s/he is saying before offering your own opinion. Find your passion, work at something that inspires and fulfills you. Create your own destiny by developing a passion for learning in all aspects of your life.”
Being positive about life can get you through anything
Melanie Sheehy, England: “A lot of it is up to you as an individual, though, and how much you want succeed in life and make your job your own … take on more work that is outside your remit. Also, it’s all about the little things! Get them right and you will go far.
For me, just being a working mum and seeing that I am achieving my goals at work but also seeing that my boys are happy is an accomplishment. The other accomplishment is seeing how far the Manchester PA Network has come in five years – and to finally say we can recognise PAs in Manchester with the Manchester PA of the Year awards.”
You want to be constantly learning and adapting
Carolina Siqueira Silva, Brazil: “I strongly believe that professional development is achieved though continued learning. I attended Executive Secretary Live in London this year and self-funded this, because I look at it as an investment in myself and my career. I look forward to enrolling in a post-graduate course or master’s degree next year.
I’m also doing a Project Management course online, which has helped me to improve execution of a lot of my current office tasks. Education and professional development do not only imply attending conferences, workshops, webinars and enrolling in degree studies; it also means taking advantage of experienced and knowledgeable professionals around you as mentors.”
Write a “business plan” for what you would like to achieve and how you would like to achieve it
Alison Boler, England: ” I think AI is still a few years off becoming the norm. I work in the legal side of entertainment, so we still have to have the human ability to see problems before they arise, consider the legal consequences of every email and document that is sent and stored.
… I met Victoria (Darragh) in 2012 and she helped me so much when I was taking on public speaking for the first time. Her work founding and running EPAA is outstanding and she is dedicated to supporting and promoting our profession … When I was asked to make a speech to PAs for the first time five years ago, I felt terrified. But pushing myself through that comfort zone actually changed my life and I am now more confident and I will never be scared again to push myself.”
I want to do my very best for my executive and I can only do that if we’re on the same page
Tonya Beattie, USA (watch for Tonya’s interview on February 6/19): “I’m the Branch Director for the IAAP (International Association of Administrative Professionals) Pacific Northwest Region – South Sound Branch.
I’m very excited about this opportunity for several reasons. First, IAAP isn’t well known on the west coast yet and I’m thrilled to share it with admins in my area. IAAP has so much to offer and I want my colleagues to have the opportunities that I do. Also, being in this leadership role is a little out of my comfort zone and I know that’s what I need. I need to keep adding these little pushes at myself even, and especially, when I’m uncomfortable so that I keep growing and moving forward. Nothing I achieve will ever be handed to me, I’ve got to push forward, step out and grab for it.”
I made a commitment to invest in me
Melissa Francis, England: “ Be brave when looking at job opportunities, and put yourself forward for as much training and development as you can comfortably take on.
Treat every day as a learning opportunity and be kind / respectful on your way up the promotion ladder; this in turn is usually reciprocated. Networking is incredibly important and can really help to build your personal brand.”
Look for stretch opportunities, and take the initiative
Lisa Olsen, USA: “I think if I were to choose one (role model or mentor), it would be my mother. She was the EA to the Ambassador at the Embassy of Iraq in the 70s. I spent summers working there and observed her grace, poise, confidence and ability to maintain composure in any situation. She also treated everyone with respect. People gravitated to her. I have kept those lessons close to my heart throughout my life.
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!”
Click any name below for the full interview from any of the Real Careers alumni featured in 2018’s 12 Days of Real Careers
- Day One: Susan Engelbrecht, Erin Floss, Priscilia Gough, Amanda Hargreaves, Else-Britt Lundgren, Paula Moio, Jennifer Robson, Debbi Shaffer, John D. Shaw
- Day Two: Craig Bryson, Bonnie Cookson, Florence Katono, Kelly McAulay, Nora Onishi, Jannie Oosterhoff, Angela Parker, Carys Stacey, Catherine Thomas
- Day Three: Rebeka Adamson, Jane Brazzill, Lorna Cowan, Angela Downey, MistiLynn Lokken, Christabell Pinchin, James Sobczak, Julia Schmidt, Catherine Williamson
- Day Four: Bianca Constance, Debs Eden, Debbie Grimshaw, Sofie Koark, Maria Marsh, Catherine Marshall Penasa, Eleni Rizikianou, Emily Walker, Matthew Want
- Day Five: Paula Harding, Cathy Harris, Amy Marsden, Barbara J. (BJ) Parrish, Helen Rees, Marcela Silva da Conceição Brito, Laura Swallows
- Day Six: Stacey Brewer (interview to follow Jan23/19), Lesley Dexter, Kerry Dawson, Susan Henderson, Stacey King, Solveig Kristensen, Karen Richmond, Katherine Vaillancourt, Louise Whitehead
- Day Seven: Megan Bishop, Kemetia Foley, Kim Glover, Craig Harris, Michela Luoni, Amanda Snowball Moscrop, Melanie Richardson, Breda Shanahan, Chantal Sneijkers
- Day Eight: Margo Baptista, Tonya Beattie (interview to follow Feb 6/19), Alison Boler, Melissa Francis, Lisa Olsen, Melanie Sheehy, Carolina Siqueira Silva, Carla Stefanut