I’m happy to bring you Day 11 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.
My target for the coming year is to continue to develop and to advance in digitization
Karin Hélène of Sweden (interview to follow Feb 6/19): “I have always had a long-term goal for my career path and short-term goals for development and training.
In the digitized age it is important not to get overwhelmed but to take one step at the time and try out the new tools available, if you do not like one tool try another.
Right now I am thinking thoroughly over what my next long-term goal should be in my career.”
Strive to be the best, but also support others as you go along
Marc Taylor-Allan, England: “Build a personal brand, and build that brand around who you work for. Strive to be the best, but also support others as you go along. I always think that promotion and career development come with being the master of your craft, so be a sponge and absorb everything.
Have a dynamic task list. Capture the tasks and activities you must do on a list and update it regularly during the day. Revisit this list frequently and add new items as soon as they appear. Make sure your list gives you a quick overview of everything that’s urgent and important, and remember to include strategic and relationship-building activities as well as operational tasks.”
There are several role models whom I respectfully follow or lean on
Nicole Blanchette, Canada: “Prioritise your day every morning or the night before you walk into the office, and work on one task at a time from start to finish. Multi-tasking does not work for me. I recognise that, in a busy office, we will encounter many interruptions and working on one task at a time may be difficult.
I always have an open journal/notebook on my desk and will jot down the interruptions so that I can follow up after I have completed the task at hand. Of course I also need to be flexible and willing to switch direction if needed. Once the diversion has been addressed, jump back on the task you were working on.”
Own your successes; it’s not bragging to share good news or good ideas
Beth Ann Howard, USA: “Plan ahead. I spend the last few minutes of the work day planning the next day’s schedule, and I block off time on my calendar for the must-do list. I have a master to-do list with deadlines for important projects, but I know the must-do list is the urgent one.
Don’t spend too much time trying to solve a problem on your own—certainly try, but don’t be afraid to ask for help. It makes you more efficient and it helps you build connections.
Own your successes. It’s not bragging to share good news or good ideas, especially when they can help others be more successful, too – and those ideas are the things that get you noticed and recognized by forces higher up in the organization.”
I treat every day as an important day in the workplace
Louise Cope, England: “Keep a manual to do list on a notebook small enough to carry around in your handbag. I add to mine all the time, in the most bizarre circumstances and at the most unsocial times!
(What I most enjoy about my career:) The people I work with and for, and how the firm has looked after me over my 35 years of service and provided me with plenty of challenges and rewards.”
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
Jean Coco, USA: “The administrative field is a career.
Early in my profession, I did not take the role as seriously as I do know. Professional development is very important in the administrative field, just as it is for any other role.
Find a mentor, whether it is another assistant or a manager. Find out all you can about the goals, mission and objectives of the business and department where you work.”
Your attitude will determine your altitude
Teri Wells, South Africa: “ALWAYS have a ‘can do’ attitude. I know it is an old cliché, but your attitude will determine your altitude.
It is only during the past few years that I have found role models and mentors, and cannot believe how I survived without them. I prefer to call them friends but they certainly challenge me, teach me, stretch me and provide a support base that was non-existent for many many years.”
Use your influence to introduce new ideas and systems
Jacqueline McCumber, USA: ” I tell my employees all the time, ‘If you’re not ever uncomfortable, you’re not challenging yourself.’ When I am faced with doing something outside my comfort zone, I focus my attention on the detail that is causing me the most anxiety – and redirect my energy into increasing my awareness of that detail, project or system.
… I started out as the Receptionist. As a young woman, I had to ensure that I continually relayed my willingness and ability to learn and take on more tasks – which meant asking senior management for more responsibility, standing my ground when necessary to highlight my maturity, and providing flexibility at times to show my understanding of what was required of me in times of crisis or chaos.”
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
- Day 11: Nicole Blanchette, Jean Coco, Louise Cope, Karin Hélène (interview to follow Feb 6/19), Beth Ann Howard, Jacqueline McCumber, Marc Taylor-Allan, Teri Wells