How to Survive Your Job as an Executive Assistant

Has anyone written this book for Executive Assistants yet? If not, I’m all over it. It’s essential that the grunt bearers have something to turn to when things go hay wire and their name is written all over it. For now, though, I’ll start writing about it right here. Executive Assistants, this is for you:

Ten Important Things for Executive Assistants to Remember:

1. Even if you didn’t do it, if they say you did it, you did it.

2. There are no excuses for Executive Assistants being late. Your boss’ dry cleaning should’ve been picked up an hour earlier so you would’ve had time to finish the budget, balance the petty cash, and distribute the company-wide newsletter all by 10am.

3. You are the first line of defense for Anthrax. When a letter comes in, you open it before it goes anywhere near the President. It’s less of a lawsuit that way. Executivie Assistants are much more expendable.

4. Never underestimate the power of a good candy dish at the front desk. Chocolate will get you anywhere you want to go.

5. You know nothing. Unless of course your boss is asked a question they don’t know the answer to. Then you know everything.

6. As an Executive Assistant, your name means very little. Sarah, Sharon, Sandy…all the same. Take pride in knowing that at least they got the first letter right and expect nothing more.

7. Keep a notebook handy for writing down project instructions. More than likely when you hand in your project, the Executive will say something regarding it not being the way they asked when you know that it was in fact the exact way they asked. This is where the Executive Assistant’s notebook comes into play. Use it as a bargaining tool. Show them that they said every single word and that you wrote it down. The Executives will respect you for it later no matter what they mumble under their breath at the time the notebook is displayed.

8. The Executives think that they hold the power, but in reality, it is their Executive Assistants that do. We are the ones booking their appointments, scheduling them for coffee with vendors, getting them baseball tickets and prize packages, making sure they know when they are getting on the plane and where they will be arriving, etc. We let them think that they have control because it’s easier on their egos that way. Every once in awhile they’ll throw you a Starbucks card to thank you for all of your hard work and to make sure you’re awake for their next task.

9. Shoes are expensive to ship back to Canada. If the head of your company comes down for a visit and forgets his shoes, send them back and mark them “Business Correspondence” on the customs receipt. Technically, it does have to do with business and it will cost your company a lot less money and aggrivation when the bill comes in.

10. The phone should always be answered at all times every single day. If for some reason you do not have five arms, ten ears, and supersonic fast legs, consider hiring someone to sit at your desk while you run around the office doing everything else you have to do. Executive Assistants must always be on top of their game even when they are overloaded. There is no excuse for laziness.

So, the next time you’re sitting at your desk wondering why you’re not being paid more for all the work you do every day as an Executive Assistant, remember this: It’s not that they don’t notice you. They’re just too busy sending you new tasks to complete within the next hour to re-evaluate your value with the company. Now get back to work.

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