How to I navigate this open-ended offer to expand my (entry level) job?
August 15, 2013 11:52 AM   Subscribe

How to I navigate this open-ended offer to expand my (entry level) job? And which tasks would be appropriate.

I’m an admin assistant on my second temporary contract in a small office which I like working in.

A few days after I started, a supervisor asked me to create a manual for the position and think of ways to expand it. Now I’m meeting with her next week to discuss.

What makes is a bit more complicated is that on my second day back here, the executive assistant quit (I asked this question). The outcome was that before I had the chance to speak to my supervisor about it, she herself came up to me and said “We want to give you more money. Do you mind managing CEO’s calendar. ” I was kind of on the fence about the EA job, as well as flustered by the offer, so I just said yes. So since then I’ve been performing that job as well (since it’s holiday time right now, it’s slower than it would normally be).

Now that it’s time to present to my supervisor my ideas about how to expand the original admin assistant job, I’m trying to figure out what to include. Would it be smarter to include proposals for things I want to do, or what I think they want me to do? As a note, I currently spend a lot of the day looking for things to do, because there are very few reception phone calls or visitors entering the office.

- I know they would appreciate me helping with data entry for accounting since I’ve been doing it already. I don’t mind this type of work, but I know that if I offer to do it there's a chance that I'll get overloaded with all the jobs that belong to other people but that they don't want to do.

- I myself would like to assist with communications since I’ve done it a bit already.

- I would like to propose helping train volunteers (they are only needed once a year though so I don’t know if help is needed).

- I don’t think I would have enough time to do all of the above things if I was also the executive assistant.

- at this point I would rather learn transferable skills and have less prestige, than have more prestige but not have to do much all day long. In my mind the executive assistant job seems more prestigious but it involves a lot of sitting and waiting for something to happen which I don’t enjoy.

- Should I propose that I be an administrative assistant who performs the new tasks outlined above, or ask to be the executive assistant. I have no idea whether they need to hire another one or whether they expect me to want the job and are considering me for it.

-Lastly any tips for overcoming my timidness. Most of the people I deal with here are serious professionals with successful careers and I feel like a fish out of water a lot of the time (although I do like working here).

I don’t feel like I’ve been here long enough to start demanding things, however, I don’t want to miss an opportunity to get the most out of my job and kick myself later.

I know this question is really specific to my situation, so I appreciate any help you can give.
posted by winterportage to Work & Money (4 answers total)
 
In my mind the executive assistant job seems more prestigious but it involves a lot of sitting and waiting for something to happen which I don’t enjoy.

Having worked as an executive assistant to many executives, I can assure you that this is almost definitely not the case.
posted by xingcat at 12:22 PM on August 15, 2013


Create a plan that has tasks you want in it, and talks about how great it will be for Them to have your help with those things. It sounds like you don't want to be the EA, but would be willing to continue to cover those tasks for awhile. Note that, and that you would really be of most good to them if you get to move into doing more on communications (etc).

Think about all the tasks - once you've gathered the things you want to do into one job description, what important tasks are left over? Would they all make sense for an EA, or should they be given to someone else? Note that for them, too.

Lastly, one of the important factors for overcoming timidness is to act as if you were one of the other people there, preferably the assertive and awesome person you admire. Pretend you're That person, selling the rest of the group on the awesome new job for winterportage. A lot of us are timid to start, but you're already being thoughtful about what you want, how you can help, and what they need - so now do your best to sell that to them as if you, too, are the professional with a successful career (as you are going to be).
posted by ldthomps at 12:26 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


- Should I propose that I be an administrative assistant who performs the new tasks outlined above, or ask to be the executive assistant

I'd go with the first option. It will give you the most flexibility to grow your role in the organization without being tethered to a specific executive. If you become an EA, you might find your boss is VERY reluctant to let you expand your skills and responsibilities outside his/her sphere of needs, and might actively discourage it. I've seen this happen with friends who became EA's, but who had aspirations to take on other tasks in the company, and got shut down by their boss.

Plus, if you get stuck with a stinker of a boss, your quality of life at work will tank. Your fortunes are too tied to their behavior.
posted by nacho fries at 12:29 PM on August 15, 2013


Unless you are comfortable proceeding in an admin/EA track - which can be very lucrative and get you to a cool place, if you like the work - take on tasks that are not administrative. Communications, managing and training volunteers, helping with accounting, event planning, research and writing briefs/memos, preparing slide decks, etc.
posted by amaire at 3:06 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


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