Although I love being an assistant and you will find me often rave about how much I love what I do. It wouldn’t be right not to share some of the challenges assistants face on the regular. Whether you are a personal, executive or administrative assistant, no matter what industry, the assistant position is extremely demanding. For those who are not one, you might not know how hard we work, but don’t underestimate the grueling nature of our day-to-day or the amount of education that is needed to get there! And if you are one, you know all too well the struggles that come from this often-underappreciated job.
Assistants work with so many different people, and you will have to work with some people who you would have cursed out outside of your job in the quickness. The problematic person you must deal with is your boss. As an assistant your role is being able to deal with demanding, aggressive, awkward, self-important, micromanaging lunatics.
Devaluation of their Job
Being an assistant, everybody assumes you’re not qualified enough to get a “real job.” Every conversation I have people right away changes their tone and makes faces when I mention my position. That’s mostly because they have no idea what my job actually entails. No one multitasks or juggles better. But most assistants like me are too humble to correct you or even feel the need to explain it.
You’re Always on Call
Even though assistants have little authority, they are expected to know almost everything, and they can be blamed for nearly everything that happens to go wrong. And they are supposed to be available whenever anybody needs them.
As an assistant, we aim to please and always trying to carry out a boss’s wishes and anticipate his or her needs. But so often bosses keep moving the goalposts and changing the rules. It can be enormously frustrating to keep up.
Often as an administrative or executive assistant, I found myself put in the awkward position where I am asked to do something that isn’t in my requirements. I mean, it’s bad enough having to babysit your boss and your colleagues. I was once asked actually to babysit my bosses’ kids. Or one day what I was asked to get someone’s dog at the doggie barber (someone you don’t even report to) or run another ridiculous errand.
Shooting the Messenger
Even if you didn’t screw up, you’re the one who usually gets yelled at—by everyone. Assistants are constantly in the direct line of fire. It will always be your fault.
No Time to Do It All
I can’t remember a time where I can say I have nothing to do. As an assistant, your list of tasks and the stack of papers on your desk is never-ending. You can make every deadline on time just fine, but the to-do list never seems to shrink.
The biggest injustice done to assistants is the lack of compensation. I know too many people who are assistants like me who don’t get the salary they deserve. And don’t ever expect a thank you. Of all the things you’ll hear said or shouted at you, “thank you” isn’t one of them. Even when you were the one who saved the day.
You are probably reading this like wow why would I ever want to be an assistant. How do you even still work in that position? Well click here and read my first eBook where I share how to deal with these challenges.