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From EA to Business Partner: Developing the industry to have ...

I ran a Twitter poll recently asking you all if you felt there was a difference between the role of a Personal Assistant and an Executive Assistant. Hands down, you all agreed that there definitely is a difference, or at least there should be. As assistants, we all understand the difference between the two roles, yet time and time again I see position description after position description posted online for Personal Assistant roles that essentially are identical to that of an EA. This leaves me questioning, unsurprisingly, whether others, outside of the administration and assistant profession, actually understand the difference between the two roles, or any of the other assistant roles for the matter. It’s no secret that collectively as an industry our roles are misunderstood. With stereotypes and misconceptions attached around the purpose we serve and the value we actually add, it wouldn’t matter what type of assistant role you actually perform, to most, we are all just seen as ‘secretaries’, lumped into one large group of general support roles that are nothing but subservient, and dare I say it, submissive. Now from what I understand, in America and even in the ...
AdviceCareer DevelopmentInterviewing & On-job training

Behavioural Interviews: Prepare to shine like a STAR

As a senior EA, it forms part of my role to have to conduct, or sit in on, interviews for other assistant and administration roles and as such last week I spent in day training on behavioural interview techniques, which actually turned out to be quite an eye opener. Having attended many interviews as the interviewee and conducted just as many as the interviewer, it was interesting to learn the proper techniques required when interviewing candidates. But I must say, after 8 hours of interview training, I surfaced feeling rather ‘brainwashed’ after having the importance of candidate equality drummed into me and any unconscious bias I may have once had, eliminated from me forever. Political correctness gone mad I say, but apparently what gets asked of one candidate, must be asked of all! Although I had good prior knowledge of the types of questions required to be asked in interviews, it was interesting to learn the specific formula to apply when asking questions and selecting candidates. More than anything though, as I sat there learning as a future interviewer, I couldn’t help but think of all the gold nuggets that I could share ...
AdviceCareer DevelopmentChallenges & SolutionsUncategorized

Just what now? Juggling your place in the organisational structure

  How do you usually get introduced in the workplace? Can it sometimes be a bit vague, like the person introducing you doesn’t really know what it is that you do? Or are the words that are used to describe your title often preceded with the word ‘just‘? “Oh she’s just the assistant” or “she’s just our office manager”. Meanwhile you’re standing there and thinking to yourself, ‘there is nothing just about what I do!’ How do you think they would react, for example,  if you retaliated back and introduced them as “just our Head of Finance” or “he’s just our General Manager”? Because when we all sit on the same leadership team, there really shouldn’t be any discrepancies in hierarchies. We all should sit on the same level and have the same respect for one another, right? Well, unfortunately sometimes we all know that’s not always the case.  I cannot tell you how many times in my career I’ve been introduced as just the assistant. In fact, worse than that, I recently was introduced by a fellow colleague, as what I would describe, as nothing more than my boss’ ...
AdviceChallenges & SolutionsEA Network & Community

EA etiquette: Eliminating our insecurities to strengthen our community

I know I’ve written quite a bit about EA etiquette in the past and perhaps you’re thinking, ‘not another blog on etiquette!’ but unfortunately I feel the need to revisit the topic once again and open our eyes up to some behaviors that just should not be tolerated. In a profession that is tough enough as it is – with the negative stereotypes that have attached themselves to our roles; the lack of respect we can encounter from those around us; and the skewed perception of what we do and the value we add – it often surprises me when I see EAs isolating themselves from their respective EA communities and facing off against each other, rather than encouraging, supporting and building each other up, as a strong and connected EA team should. I literally find myself gob-smacked at some of the stories I hear and instances I witness of assistants going out of their way to attack and bring each other down in the workplace, rather than helping and encouraging each other as a united team and community. When ...
#demolishnegativeEAPAstereotypesforgoodAdviceJoin the movementMyth bustersPerceptions & Presence

The misconceptions of diary management: Not as easy as it ...

Let me set the scene……you wake to your alarm going off and you slowly peel your eyelids open, smashing around the bedside table trying to find your phone. Hitting snooze on the alarm, you open your inbox, as you do every morning, only to see the repeated name of your manager, over and over and over again, with each email detailing a different task for you to action. Another night of ‘clearing their inbox’ has occurred and subsequently whilst their inbox is now empty, yours is now full. But with not much time and too many emails to actually delve into the detail, you just open each one quickly and scan the contents, looking for anything requiring your immediate attention. Every morning this forms part of your routine so that you know what to deal with first when you arrive at work and to ensure you’re not walking in to work blind. But on your arrival to work you’re greeted by your manager, not with a “Hi, how are you today?” but  instead, “Did you manage to change my flight yet? ……and did you tell Client X that I won’t make ...
#demolishnegativeEAPAstereotypesforgoodAdviceInterviewing & On-job trainingMyth bustersPerceptions & Presence

Dealing with rejection: When you don’t get the role you ...

Going through the interview process can be tough, especially when you’re genuinely in need of another role. The process can be draining – from customising every application, to selling yourself and having to be at your sharpest at every interview – unfortunately they’re all necessary steps if you’re going to land the role you want. But when you are going through the interview process and you’re faced with rejection at some point in the pipeline, it can literally knock you off your feet. Yes its devastating when you’re down to one-of-two candidates, only to find out that the other candidate has been chosen. But what’s even more frustrating is when you’re faced with that rejection from the get go, when you’ve literally just applied for the role. When you know in your own self how experienced you are, how much you can deal with, and all the challenges you’ve faced that have made you the assistant that you are today, yet you find yourself literally being ‘judged’ by some inexperienced recruitment consultant who wouldn’t know jack about being assistant if it hit them in the face. To ...
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Join the movement: Myth Busters


Join the movement and get on board to bust all the myths and negative stereotypes still associated with the EA/PA role!

#demolishnegativeEAPAstereotypesforgood