I was astonished to hear that our profession has over 150 variations of job titles! It’s no wonder that people don’t know what we really do. That EA differs from PA. That a private PA has different tasks than a secretary. That an office manager has overlapping qualities with an estate manager. That butlers are wrongly placed in a specific service corner while fulfilling the role of an EA, a PA and a house manager combined.
And let’s not forget that we too suffer from this fussiness! The title is supposed to represent us and most of us hold our title very dear. Some even claim that their title defines their worth as a professional. Now that’s a good reason to fight for your title to be worthy. None of the 150 options seem to be enough though. And they keep on coming … The latest inventions are the C-level assistants and I personally love the newcomer with a ‘360-PA’ title. But no matter what your title is – you have some exciting reasons to be proud of what you do!
To unite us all together let me use the description of an Assisting Professional (or am I adding yet another variation to the bunch?!). At the heart of our duties – we all do the same thing. We enable others to be the best they can be. We provide peace of mind and bulletproof certainty that nitty-gritty details are taken care of. In spite of everything that is challenging, tough, undoable, uncomfortable and unpleasant we all love what we do. It’s the nature and the core of our profession – to be of service and support!
The following collection represents my personal ‘cherries on the cake’ that I hold high and value the most. These 7 heroes keep me focused, motivated, on track and in top shape while running around 100 miles an hour and being the best assistant I can be:
THE ACT OF COMPLETION
Maybe not the most obvious one to start with, but I love getting things done! Crossing off my list even the smallest of things can bring me great satisfaction on a day where nothing seems to go my way. It’s a well-known motivational element – we just don’t use it enough to benefit from its boosting powers.
‘YOU MATTER’ MEDAL OF HONOR
It only matters if YOU think you matter. Often, we rely on external compliments and expect others to acknowledge us. But the main acknowledgement has to come from within. You know exactly what you do and how your job contributes to the lives of others. Usually, others don’t even know all the details of our hard work so they don’t have any fertile ground to compliment us accordingly. Look within and know you matter!
UNIVERSE OF OPPORTUNITIES
Most assistants have a certain degree of freedom where they can pursue certain areas, dig into some exciting stuff, learn amazing new things, be a part of ground breaking developments, get to know extraordinary facts, meet interesting and disclosed personalities etc. Our opportunities are endless – we need to pay attention to the things around us more and acknowledge our supreme position.
I cannot think of any other profession that can be applied in so many different variations. The paradox of many job titles reveals its magnitude. And I’m not only talking about the tasks and technical descriptions. Assistants are needed in every business, every industry, and every country, religion and professional structure. An assistant is capable, flexible and becomes skilled in whatever that is required. We are chameleons in full force, we adapt. And at every step of our way we have opportunities to grow, recognition to aspire and freedom to act. That cannot be said about any other profession.
The great thing about being an assistant is that we experience leadership from different angles. The main one is by being the support powerhouse to the leaders of today’s world and being close to the master minds of tomorrow. Something magical happens when you are in a proximity of a leader – you just feel and sense their presence. At some point, we adjust to their ‘waves’ and experience first-hand what it’s all about. It’s our ability to really ‘get’ them that makes us invaluable. It’s our capacity to ‘just know’ what is needed and get it done.
The other aspect of leadership is that YOU are in a position to be a leader. Your army might not be as big or as powerful, but you will certainly dictate the course, control the quality standards, steer to the required results and define the appearances. Top assistants are defined by their leadership skills. Call it the manager, the go-to person or the fixer – it’s the leader within the assistant that makes it all happen.
Assistants are social creatures, we have to be! We know we cannot do it all by ourselves (scratch that – we know we can, we just prefer to have a huge network to make it happen faster). Our social network is our secret weapon. Our social skills are of a very special breed. I enjoy the social aspect of our profession and mostly the building process of trust. And the times I managed to get something done thanks to a third level connection of somebody I briefly met while running for a simple errand… are countless!
My philosophy is this: I can only live my life once and live it my way. That is limiting. But I can make my world bigger by being a part of others’ journeys as well. They say we are all interconnected – I do believe that we are.
YOUR OWN KINGDOM
The best part of being an assistant is the fact that we are all unique! No assistant is the same, the infamous ‘click’ with an executive is based on that very uniqueness. The way we do things is ever slightly customized and every assistant has own unique super powers. We, the people behind the profession, make this title so special, complicated and different. We create our own kingdoms within the frame of any job that we get to do. I love this part – it’s exciting, motivating and challenging all at the same time!
There is never a dull moment – and every Assisting Professional has an own unique way of making every moment count!
Share with us your flagship reasons for being a proud assistant…
What keeps you going and what fuels up your reservoirs?
Check out our W.A.N.T.E.D. ‘Positioning’ Event 2015 on September 26th and JOIN US in our efforts to elevate and excel our ASSISTANT ‘STATE OF MIND’!