Wednesday

What Have You Learned From Your Time As An Assistant?

In the course of the polite conversation everyone wants to have when they find out you’re leaving your job, one of my co-workers just asked what I've learned from my time as an assistant.

After I only half-jokingly reminded him that I am/was an ASSOCIATE, I was left with nothing to say. Had I learned anything from my time as an assistant/associate?

My co-worker laughed at the intense, confused expression on my face as I struggled to come up with something. He offered, “When I was an assistant I learned that hand cream prevents paper cuts.”

“Yeah…” I thought for a bit more. “I’ve got nothing.”

He seemed amused but the incident actually disturbed me in a small way.

In college I learned tons of practical, useful things such as: how to straighten my hair, sleeping with just a comforter and no sheet is really the way to go, mixing Kool Aid powder with straight vodka before putting it a bowl and calling it punch will make people vomit at a party. And the list goes on.

I haven't been able to come up with anything practical that I've learned by working as an assistant. Aside from that a lot people are fucktards, which I don't think really counts. You?

31 comments:

Rebecca said...

Two things: if you keep a jar of chocolate on your desk, people will come to your office and gossip. Also, if you learn how to use the copy machine, you are indispensible. I still, with much success, practice both.

Gypsy said...

Employers' profound cheapness comes out when it comes to paying their AA's - as evidenced by the fact that I learned how to simultaneously wipe 150 asses with the same piece of toilet paper.

Melissa said...

Figuring out who has passive-aggressive tenancies early on and using it to your advantage saves you from a lot of headaches and mind-reading.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately it doesn't get any better but you begin to realize the world is 95% fucktards.

Sharon/Toronto

Ask a Manager said...

Learning to work with fucktards is pretty much what first jobs are about. I'm actually completely serious, and I say this to you as a manager -- I actually just blogged about this very issue here.

It will serve you well in future jobs.

Gypsy said...

A blog all about management and human resources .. sounds exciting!

Ask a Manager said...

Hey, now! I find it f'ing fascinating.

Anonymous said...

You got a new job? CONGRATS!!!!

Airam said...

I think knowing that A LOT of people are fucktards is probably the best thing you could have learned.

Emily said...

That's probably a pretty damn good lesson to learn.

Strange Bird said...

1. Comforter and no sheets is WONDERFUL for many reasons (okay, two reasons), the most important of which being that the bed takes much less time to make that way.

2. I learned the exact same thing from my time as an assistant. Also, that I never want to be an assistant again.

Anonymous said...

i learned it was vital to get a law degree so i could get an assistant of my own (to whom, since i spent four years as an assistant, i am infinitely grateful for her efficiency and smart-ass-ery).

Nanook said...

I learned how to train the management types to get what I needed out of them as quickly as possible so I could do my job.

Oh and how to play the office politics game.

Congrats on the new job!

Anonymous said...

I learned to always, always go out for drinks the first time you are asked. If you don't go the first time, you won't be asked again.

lala said...

Never join weight watchers with your boss.

A Lil' Irish Lass said...

I learned a lot from my boss in terms of how NOT to behave when I am eventually the one in charge.

Laura said...

Totally agree with rebecca. The candy jar on my desk helped me meet people and I definitely got tons of good gossip from all the visitors.

the frog princess said...

Ditto on the copy machine. Same goes for Powerpoint, printers, and the postage meter.

Also: if you are not a complete and total fucktard yourself, your boss will constantly marvel at how much better you are than his previous assistant, who was apparently a trained chipmunk.

Congrats on the new job! Are you going to tell us what it is??

stephanie said...

Do you know what I've learned from being an assistant? People crap all over you and then to make up for it they take you on Admin. Professionals Day and buy you lunch. Oh, it's a seafood restaurant and you don't like seafood? Go ahead and enjoy your bread.

krrs said...

LOL I haven't heard someone say "fucktard" in so long!

Anonymous said...

How to change the toner on at least 3 different models of photocopier. How to use any fax machine. How not to behave in management. Best of all: how to resign!

Cori said...

I learned how to be a manager by asking myself what the fucktard I worked for would have done, and then I doing the exact opposite.

I also learned that people think you're a genius if you suggest creating a calendar for department projects.

And the best time to return calls is when you know the person is not there so you can leave a voice mail and don't have to actually speak to them.

Oh, and never EVER make out with a co-worker during an office party. There is no way that will end well.

wflooter480 said...

I am learning that shit runs down hill. And we assistants are at the bottom of that hill.

Triskit said...

I learned that YOU determine other people's expectations of you, so if you go in with guns blazing and give 100%, they're soon going to expect 110% or more. So your best bet is to start out giving about 80% so they don't start getting greedy on you.

Maxforce said...

Sometimes we do not know what we have learned until down further in the journey

Jessica said...

I've learned that you can be a CEO with 35 years of experience, a hefty pay check, and company car...but still not know how to write and send your own damn emails!

Lily said...

I am an executive assistant and I am actually paid very well. I've learned that many people will always assume that anyone with the word "assistant" in their title is dumb. I just have to laugh at these dickwads in the office who are condescending to me because they have no clue how much more money I make than they do.

Miss Minneapolis said...

I learned how to work the company for all the free stuff I could like an iPod shuffle and regular lunches. My favourite part of the job was quitting. No one could figure out why I wanted to quit the job. Maybe it was because I was assisting people who worked with Vietnam but didn't know that it was in Asia???

Congrats on your new job. Send good karma so I can move along as well.

Danica said...

I love your blog! It's so funny and I agree with 100% of everything you say! :) College did teach you practical things. My job taught me if I am typing, my boss thinks I'm doing something :)

Don't Be a Slut said...

I am a Yale grad, but my first six years out of college I couldn't get arrested as anything but an assistant. It was so demoralizing. I learned that it didn't matter how smart I was, a dead end was a dead end.

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