Weekend Poll Results: An Unintended Career

… for many of you! With thanks to all who participated, here are the results to last Thursday’s Weekend Poll, in which I asked … Did you envision a career as an assistant?

Only one in four envisioned this career

The other 75% of respondents reported that you didn’t envision an assistant career when you were in school. Does this surprise you, or is it consistent with your own experience?

When did you begin your career?

For 32% of you, being an assistant was your first full time role. It’s unsurprising, then, that 32% of respondents reported that you first became an assistant when you were 20 or younger.

More than two thirds of you entered the career by the time you were 25, and a full 83% have been assistants since the age of 30 or younger. Two percent of respondents started in the career after the age of 40, and the remaining 15% started some time between the ages of 31 and 40.

You may not have planned this career, but …

A full 50% of respondents have been in the career for 21 years or longer, and that includes 10% of you who’ve been at this for 36 years or more.

At the other end of spectrum, 7% are in your first five years as an assistant. Just over one in every 10 have been providing administrative support for somewhere between six and 10 years, and almost another third of you are in the second decade of an assistant career.

Of those who did plan a career as an assistant, 64% secured related credentials. Twenty-six percent have a related diploma, and another 17% earned relevant diplomas. Just over one in five of you who planned the career have either a related undergrad (15%) or graduate (6%) degree.

A career of choice?

Eighty percent of respondents reported that this was your career of choice when you secured your current jobs. Another 8% said that wasn’t the case, and the remaining 12% didn’t have firm career preferences in mind at that point in time.

I asked readers if you’re satisfied with your choice to become an assistant, and 64% of respondents replied in the affirmative. Having spent well over two decades in the career, and knowing that it has its ups and downs, I wasn’t surprised that 34% of respondents selected the most of the time response. That leaves us with 2% who aren’t satisfied with this as their choice of career, which may well be a low percentage compared with other careers.

Are you in it for the long haul?

I closed this Weekend Poll asking readers if you envision being an assistant for the balance of your career. Fifteen percent of respondents think not, while another 14% aren’t sure. For 71% of respondents, though, this is it. Read on for full details.


graduate - femaleNote: Information below reflects the percentages of respondents who selected specific responses from multiple choice options.

1. When you were a student, did you envision becoming an assistant?

  • No: 75% of respondents
  • Yes: 25% of respondents

2.  Was an assistant role your first full time job?

  • No: 68% of respondents
  • Yes: 32% of respondents

3. What was your age when you first became an assistant?

  • 20 or younger: 32% of respondents
  • 21-25: 35% of respondents
  • 26-30: 16%  of respondents
  • 31-35: 11% of respondents
  • 36-40:  4% of respondents
  • 41-45:  1% of respondents
  • 46-50: 1%  of respondents

4.  If you envisioned becoming an assistant, did you secure a post-secondary credential specific to the career?

  •  No: 36% of respondents
  • Yes; a certificate: 26% of respondents
  • Yes; a diploma: 17% of respondents
  • Yes; an undergrad degree: 15% of respondents
  • Yes; a graduate degree: 6% of respondents

5. How many years have you been an assistant?

  • 1 year or less: 1% of respondents
  • 2-5 years: 6% of respondents
  • 6-10 years:  11% of respondents
  • 11-15 years: 16% of respondents
  • 16-20 years: 16% of respondents
  • 21-25 years: 14% of respondents
  • 26-30 years: 12% of respondents
  • 31-35 years: 14% of respondents
  • 36-40 years: 6% of respondents
  • 41-45 years: 3% of respondents
  • 46-50 years: 1% of respondents

6. Was being an assistant your career of choice when you secured your current job?

  • Yes: 80% of respondents
  • No:  8% of respondents
  • I didn’t have a firm career preference: 12% of respondents

7. Are you satisfied with your choice to become an assistant?

  • Yes: 64% of respondents
  • Most of the time: 34% of respondents
  • No: 2% of respondents

8. Do you envision being an assistant for the balance of your career?

  • Yes: 71% of respondents
  • I’m not sure: 14% of respondents
  • No: 15% of respondents

2 Comments on “Weekend Poll Results: An Unintended Career

  1. Nice job, Shelagh! Interesting to find I’m in the majority!

    • Thank you, Nancy! It’s always good to check external landscapes, and helpful to see how our own experiences align or differ.

      Have a great week.

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