24 November 2018

Knowing when it's time to move on

Someone contacted me a year or so ago very fed up with her admin position.  She was wondering how she could make her job more interesting.  She was also having relationship problems with her colleagues.  I could feel her frustration.

I found her email the other day so thought I would contact her just to see how she was faring and things have not gotten any better.

My red flag to go is when the joy is gone.  I like to have a job where I have fun and can feel satisfied when I've done a good job.  I also want to feel challenged and have a sense of accomplishment when I have figured something out.  When I stop having that, I just go through the motions and that is never good.

There is always economics though and the need to earn a living so that has to be taken into consideration.  Can I afford to move on?

Sometimes there are opportunities in your own back yard that you can try.  A new boss, a new set of tasks and new work colleagues.  I used to work for a law firm and I recall a move I made to another law firm just across the street.  Nothing had really changed, except for the fact that I had a new boss, the area of law was different than I had done before and my desk faced a different direction.  Where I was located had more sunlight because I sat near a corner office.  Perhaps a change in direction will do the trick. 

I was working with a young admin assistant.  She was a good admin, but her passion was in graphics.  She was pleased when she did a good job in her admin role, but when she had a chance to create something, you could see her come alive.  She ended up staying for a short time and then signed up for a graphics course at the local college to pursue that dream.  I wished her well.  It is always nice to do something you are passionate about.

But sometimes, it is just time to move on.  If you do decide to go, do your homework first.  Check out the local job market, send your resume out to test the waters and look for something that gets your heart racing a bit.  It might seem scary at first because it is a new challenge.  If you read my previous article you will see I did that when I took the minute-taking job, but when I finally did it, I loved it and never looked back.  That job too eventually became routine and I moved on to something else.

The main thing is to have joy in whatever you are doing.

20 November 2018

Minute-Taking Coach

I am one of those rare birds who actually enjoys taking minutes, although I avoided taking them for years.  I wouldn't apply for a job if I saw that minute taking was a requirement and if an employer ever suggested it, I threatened I would quit.  However, when I finally decided to try it, I found I really liked it.  I enjoy the preparation leading up to the meeting, the actual taking of the minutes and the follow up afterwards.  I particularly like senior executive meetings.

So how did I get into it?  In 2007, I started this blog and wrote articles on various subjects of interest to an administrative assistant.  I had never written on minute taking though and knew that was probably something people would want to hear about.  So I bugged and bugged a friend of mine who was a Senior Executive Assistant and experienced minute taker to explain it all to me.  After listening to her, I realized that once I knew the purpose for being there and what I needed to listen for and take down, I really thought I could do it.  I'm not one to do things in half-measure so when a job came up for an Executive Assistant and Corporate Secretary to the Board of Directors, I thought, "Why not!" and plunged right in and went for the interview and was hired.

The CEO was taking a chance.  He knew I had years of administrative experience, but he also knew I had never taken minutes before, except for a short time right after high school.  The next Board of Directors meeting was in three months and nothing had been done to prepare for it so I plunged right in.  Under the CEO's tutelage, and with what my friend had taught me, I organized the next Board of Directors' meeting and all its Committees.

What changed things for me was having the CEO on my side helping me along the way.  I also had my friend I could call if I had any questions.  What a help that was to me in those early days.  When I finally did take the Board minutes, nobody at that table knew I was anything but a very professional and competent minute taker.  Having people on your side can make the difference.

From all my years of giving minute-taking webinars and speaking to groups of admins, I found that the fear of taking minutes is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome.  That is why at Boomerang Virtual Assistants, I wanted to offer clients my services as a minute-taking coach.  I know from experience that it can make all the difference.
Having a coach by your side providing encouragement, being available to answer any questions, reviewing the minutes, making suggestions and helping along the way can be a game changer.  And yes, my friend who helped me all those years ago is also on my team and part of the baby boomer team who make up Boomerang Virtual Assistants.
If you want to invest in your assistant, or are an assistant who wants help with minute taking, please contact me at patricia@boomerangvirtualassistants.com or visit my website at www.boomerangvirtualassistants.com and fill out the enquiry form and let's talk minutes!

10 November 2018

Working with an Assistant

I was speaking with a senior Executive at my office today and she said one of the most valuable things that she has learnt over the years was how to work with an assistant.  I think when we are first in the workforce we are going to the office expecting our boss will tell us what to do and we will endeavour to do it according to our skill set.  However, there comes a time as we gain experience, that we will want to show our bosses what we can do and how we can help them.  Here is a good article on that subject.  Knowing how to work with your assistant is critical to your success and theirs: http://executivesecretary.com/training-an-executive-new-to-working-with-an-assistant/

I also wrote another article on this subject, which I thought would be useful for this discussion: https://secretaryhelpline.blogspot.com/2008/04/teaching-your-boss-to-be-boss.html