I used to be an advertising assistant with four VPs to look after. I wouldn’t brag and say I was a rock star, but I know I did a good job because I was promoted – and they saw the potential in me.
Now, in my new role in Digital and Social Media, I can’t help but think how I had the advantage in the first place. Being the assistant is like having a direct line to the top. You get to shoot the sh$@ with your boss. Your work is minimal. Expectations are basic. You get the coffee. You get the picture.
Adapt and use these rock star traits of an amazing assistant throughout your career:
You’re expected to figure it out. It’s your time to shine. Take the little direction given to you and impress them with your approach. De-clutter, reason, organize and tackle. Asking questions is okay, but it’s not rocket science.
Do what small tasks others ask of you. Bitching and moaning about doing someone’s photocopying or making the coffee will get you nowhere.
Dress the part. Assistants are the face of the company. They are the first to greet guests, new clients, old business partners, and they do it with a friendly smile. If you’re dressed for the role you want, people will treat you that way.
Expand your workload. Take on new tasks that are out of your scope. ask people what they’re doing and if they need help. They may say yes or no, but at least you’ve shown interest and you’re now on their radar.
You have two ears, two eyes, and one mouth. Listen, engage, and don’t be afraid to speak up when you feel it’s right.
Figure it out. My secret, after working for one of the smartest guys in the agency, was to figure ‘it’ out myself. After he’d request something, 18 questions would pop in my head, but I’d mull it over before each question slowly disappeared, and I’d just do the job as best I could.
Never never dis the big guy. So what if your boss’ boss praises someone else in front of you. Even if they offer another employee a porsche, their opinion of you will only get worse if you criticize their own decisions. Your turn will come.
How am I going to make people happy, do the work needed, and still find time to break through? All three go hand in hand. With one comes the others. Do the work, it will make people happy.
Follow me on Twitter @MelanieReiff