When I started working for one of Canada’s largest Privately-held companies as an administrative assistant, I did not know what to expect– which was fair, given the fact that I had never exactly been an “administrative” anything before.
So me, myself, and I, college degree in tow, decided to give it a try.
And at first, I hated it.
I never knew what was expected of me and I couldn’t prioritize my duties… but the most frustrating challenge was not knowing what to say when someone called and asked for extension such and such and to speak to so and so– but in French.
Now, six months later, I love my job.
I actually love it.
Now that’s not to say that I wouldn’t prefer to do something else, (like get paid to write shit like this for a living– wouldn’t that be grand?) but it’s certainly worth my time, at least for now, and it does pay the bills and put Woodford on the table as needed, so I guess I can’t complain.
What I’ve learned from this job (so far, anyway,) is that there isn’t a list of expectations I’m required to meet. What’s closer to the truth is that there is a wheel of expectations, and every morning, some lucky contestant will come along and spin the wheel. Everything the pointer touches on that spin is expected from me– but only for that day. I can see how that would sound bad, but in reality it keeps things interesting.
I’ve also learned that there is no need to prioritize my duties, not in the long term, anyway.
It’s actually far simpler (at least for me) to write a list of things and just do them, because (let’s face it,) no one else is going to do them. And really, but the time I get half of them done, I’ll have a bunch of new stuff to do that wasn’t even on the list to begin with but has now usurped all importance and requires my undivided attention until completed.
Lastly, I have learned how to say “One moment, please,” (or, “Un instant, si vous plait”) in French, so I’m not wildly transferring our French-speaking customers out to some other branch of the company, hoping that whoever answers the phone WILL be able to understand them. I’ve also learned that if you try hard enough, you can usually pick a name out from all those other words and get them where they need to go.
So if you want more details (can’t imagine that you would,)
this is what I think I do at work:
Because let’s face it: When you’re any kind of assistant, you have to stay on top of people like white on rice to get the information you need for whatever it is they’re asking you to accomplish. I feel like a constant nag, because I have to be. But my coworkers mostly love me for helping keep them on task, and I mostly love how they forget little things and are appreciative when I remind them of said things.
This is what people think I do at work:
And although I do pretty much consistently have a cup of coffee near my hand, a pair of glasses somewhere on my desk, and some seriously large black heels on, I do not have time to prop up said black heels and relax.
Even on my lunch break, I can’t help but answer a few quick emails from my phone so I don’t have so much to do when I finally get back to my desk. This is the life of an assistant: you only have as much free time as your boss. Which is almost always near the zero-minute mark.
And this is what I want to do at work:
The smoking and the red hair and the 50’s attire I’ve pretty much got down to a T.
The whole being a boss-ass-bitch thing… still working on that. I don’t think I’m necessarily doing a bad job, though. You might have to ask my coworkers about that one.
In reality, though, I love my coworkers; I’ve yet to come across a task I didn’t enjoy or at least learn from; and I know that what I’m doing does make a difference, because sometimes I am the glue that holds everything together. Sometimes I have no idea what is going on, but more often than that, I am the only person who knows exactly what is going on, with everyone.
That is really as close to a “job description” as I can get.