I’m happy to bring you Day 10 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.
See the big picture and help out, even if it’s not in your job description
Stephanie Bergsieker, USA: “I try to be aware of what’s going on in our industry and community in order to benefit my company.
See the big picture and help out, even if it’s not in your job description.
Stay up with and on top of technology. I feel like there will always be a need for assistants, but we will need to be able to use and manipulate technology.”
Continually strive to better yourself and to grasp every training opportunity
Liza Young, Scotland: ” Don’t be afraid to ask – whether that be for time off for appointments, for training, for advice, for promotion. The worst scenario is that the answer will be ‘no’, but much can be learned even from that on communication and negotiation skills, and how to manage or be managed.
… Continually strive to better yourself and to grasp every training opportunity. Budgets are tight in the education sector, but it doesn’t have to cost: shadow somebody, be mentored by somebody, look out for in-house training courses. And be prepared to self-learn … This includes keeping up with changing technologies …”
Keep an eye on the end game and longer-term goals
Suzanne Benderski, USA: “When I was in my early twenties, I was very focused on the immediate tasks and situations.
Now, I would tell my younger self to keep more of an eye on the end game and longer-term goals, and not to be so short-sighted – especially in somEe of my decision-making.
There are things to be learned even from bad situations; accept the lessons.”
Learn, learn, learn, and talk to your executive about what you’re learning
Juliana Carneiro, The Netherlands, and originally from Brazil: “In Brazil, all the assistants need to have a university degree in Secretarial Education so, yes, education was highly important and a key thing for my career. When I say that I have a Bachelor’s degree in Secretarial Education, it opens a lot of doors.
… Learn, learn, learn, and talk to your executive about what you’re learning. If you find training you are interested in, ask for it. If the first answer is no, ask again in six months. If you don’t give up, your executive will understand that you mean business.”
Be upfront, honest and clear – but most of all, be confident in your abilities
Jacqui Quigley, Republic of Ireland: ” Ask questions, don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself, and most definitely be yourself. As a PA starting out, it was all very new and terrifying – especially in the big corporate world. Having that someone to direct your questions to is very important; find someone you connect with and build a rapport.
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.”
Research how AI could help you in your role both currently and in the future
Dawn Becker, Canada: “…I can and do say no. If what is being requested of me does not support my primary responsibilities to the Boards, the CIO and CEO, I will quite often say no
… research how AI could help you in your role both currently and in the future. Be on the front of AI – not behind it … By moving some routine aspects of the role to technology, those in this profession will have the opportunity to specialize in areas and demonstrate the value this profession brings to business. “
You don’t have to be friends with everyone
Anel Martin, recently of Dubai and now back in South Africa: “Learn to say no as quickly as you can because if you don’t this career will chew you up. Manage your stress!”
It is fine to have only a professional relationship with some individuals. Needing approval is an illness. Learn to respect yourself and what you do, stop looking for reassurance outside yourself.”
… Be consistent in your appearance, personality and quality of your work. Learn to speak up for yourself and build a powerful personal brand. Work hard!”
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
- Day Nine: Giulietta Driver, Sarah Duncan, Sherri Eckworth, Chantalle Freeborough, Juanita Mort, Debra Peltz, Shirwyn Weber, Megan Williamson
- Day 10: Dawn Becker, Suzanne Benderski, Stephanie Bergsieker, Juliana Carneiro, Anel Martin, Jacqui Quigley, Liza Young