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Interpersonal Skills

Communication only becomes more critical as your career advances. Fine-tune those communications skills for phenomenal performance.

Organization

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Stress Management

Keeping a cool head in a crisis is one of the most oft-neglected essential skills of an assistant. Learn how to keep stress at bay so you can rise above.

Technology

There are innumerable programs, websites, and online tools to help make your job easier. We’ll review and recommend the best ones for assistants.

Tricks of the Trade

Take the shortcut to gaining years of experience by getting our Cliffs notes version of what we’ve learned from our 20 years in assistant positions.


What a top-level Assistant does…

The Wall Street Journal has a great article up today, titled “She Bosses the CEO”, about what it’s like to be an executive assistant to a top-level executive.

Their by-line states: “An Assistant knows her boss like few others. Why their partnership is imperiled.”

From our perspective we don’t believe that an assistant’s role or position is “imperiled” however we do recognize, as the article details, that the role is evolving due to technology. Because of this evolution, assistants are asked to take on more bosses and perform in a team environment versus a 1-on-1 position however at the C-Level, a 1-on-1 boss/assistant partnership is still the norm.

Also, the assistant position—even if it’s not labeled “assistant”—is still the bottom rung on the career path for 20-something recent college grads and we’d wager a pretty penny that such is NOT changing in the near OR distant future.

The ProAssisting Training Program is specifically geared toward this new, technologically advanced environment by providing tactics and strategies for using the computer, phone system, cell phone, instant messaging and other new technologies to streamline the job of being an assistant so you can be the right hand any boss is looking for and the person they are looking to promote when the time comes.


Disney Assistant BUSTED!

assistant arrestedFrom the assistant position, you’re privy to a lot of confidential information. Information that if you’re not careful with, could get you into a load of trouble.

Case in point: Disney assistant arrested for conspiring with her boyfriend to use her knowledge of Disney’s upcoming quarterly results to make a little extra coin.

Just a little insider trading… no one gets hurt, right?

Wrong.

Both her and her boyfriend are going to be arraigned shortly. Needless to say, they probably were a little freaked out when the FBI paid them a visit.

We’re going to expand on this topic in a future blog post that will detail all of the classified and confidential information you come across as an assistant but in the mean time, we wanted to point you to the above article as an example that even the little people can get bagged when they try to use such information for personal gain.

Now, if your boss is the one who wants you to look the other way when they are the ones who aren’t fully on the up-and-up, take our advice and have some “See ya!” money saved so you can blow the whistle and be the hero.

Flickr Creative Commons image by Crawford.l


8 Reasons Why You Should Work for a Tough Boss

swimming with sharksWhen we say work for a tough boss, we’re not necessarily saying someone like the Kevin Spacey character in “Swimming with Sharks” or the Meryl Streep character in “The Devil Wears Prada”—although if you can tough it out with someone like that, go for it—no, what we’re talking about are just normal, run-of-the-mill, tough people to work for, with and please.

This may sound counter-intuitive to you but working for a tough & demanding boss does a number of things that will HELP YOU when starting out on your career path.

1. Working for a tough boss teaches you to be at the top of your own game. If you’re not, don’t worry, they’ll surely let you know. By consistently working at a high level for a demanding boss, you’ll be stretching and able to perform at that level for longer and longer periods of time. Instead of being yelled at for a mistake every two days, it will turn into every two months or even less.

2. Inside the company, everyone who knows this “tough” boss knows that they are hard to work for… so if you CAN work for them and keep them happy, your stock within the company rises and opens up other opportunities for you down the road.

3. This demanding boss also gives you an “out” when asking for assistance in terms of performing your job. You get to blame the rush or circumstances of your requests to the IT department, the mail room or operations on your boss, thus getting what you (and by extension he or she) needs in the quickest time possible.

4. A tough boss also has a reputation within their industry outside of the company and that too can help you when interviewing at a competitor. Either the competitor knows that you “know the drill” given your current or previous tough boss OR they might want to poach you from your boss as “payback”... it does happen.

5. When a tough boss gives you positive feedback on a job well done, it’s like gold and you’ll feel like a million bucks.

6. You will develop a thick skin and be able to take criticism better than people who haven’t worked for a tough or demanding boss. The maturity and poise that you gain through these traits will shine through when compared to your peers.

7. The tough and demanding bosses are usually the ones who are extremely smart and know their business inside and out. If they didn’t, the company would have gotten rid of them a while ago because they are tough and demanding without the performance to back it up. Once you become trusted, these bosses can turn into mentors who will teach you what they know which then opens up career options for you down the road.

8. Lastly, if you can thrive when working for a tough and demanding boss, when it does come time to either move on or be promoted, usually that tough boss turns out to be your biggest supporter.

On the flip side, don’t be fooled by just a regular nasty person with no talent trying to disguise themselves as a tough, demanding and smart boss… these are the folks that you want to stay away from. You’ll be able to spot a boss like this if they change the rules constantly, don’t give honest feedback/advice and aren’t respected by their peers from inside or outside the company and industry. Advice: proceed with caution.

Lastly, in Hollywood, all bets are off.


Raise your hand if you like automated phone message systems…

angry callerI don’t know about you but whether I’m making calls for my boss or myself, I try as much as possible to bypass those pesky recorded messages that prompt you to input all sorts of information before it lets you speak with an actual living and breathing human being.

I know that they ask for this information—account numbers, PINS, last 4 digits of your social security number—so that the representative has your account or profile pulled up when they take your call but based on my experience 98% of the time, I have to repeat that information to them anyway… just ridiculous.

Anyway, here is a treat for you—one which we just added to our membership resource center but you can get here for free—to help avoid those recorded messages asking for information before passing you off to a real human being: GetHuman.com!

GetHuman.com is a website that lists thousands of companies along with their various customer service numbers WITH instructions on how to avoid those automated messages and get to a real human! Very easy to search and the instructions are easy to follow… and you can also rate your experience using that number or add your own with instructions if you have any that aren’t listed.

Just another use of technology to bypass a level of technology that drives me batty. Enjoy!

Flickr Creative Commons image by jcardinal18

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