When I first started working as an administrative assistant, I really did not do much more than answer phones and make sure that my boss was not double-booked. As I got more comfortable with the job, I expanded my activities to exciting roles like making coffee and sending texts and email reminders to my boss to make sure that he not only got where he was going on time, but also had all the information he needed to accomplish whatever goals had been set for the meeting. I’ll be honest: I was good at my job, and his job was a lot easier because he had me for an assistant.

However, even though I was quickly making myself indispensable to my boss, I was not really a fixture yet in the office. I was getting pretty familiar with the clients, however, and when they or their assistants would call to set up meetings and conferences we grew familiar enough with each other to greet each other by name and often would exchange some basic information about the contents of the meeting and the goals to be accomplished. As a result, while I was definitely still the “new kid” at work, I was starting to be a recognizable voice, at least, when it came to the phones.

This served me far better than I ever could have imagined. When the economy first started to show signs of instability, our company decided to let a number of people go. It was not a pleasant time, and no one knew for sure if they were safe. Since I was the newest employee there, I figured it was pretty much guaranteed that I would be kissing my office and my phones goodbye. Surprisingly, I was wrong. The company did end up letting nearly 10 people go, but I was not one of them. I did end up with an increased workload since most of the other assistants were let go, but I was happy to still have the work.

Inadvertently, I learned about a month later just why I had not gotten the sack. One of my new supervisors (yes, now I have 3 to handle instead of just 1) mentioned how glad she was that I was handling her calendar. “I just knew they couldn’t let you go,” she said to me. “Even our best clients ask for you by name.” Turns out that someone had mentioned in a meeting how easy it was to work with my boss and given me some of the credit! After that, I guess they couldn’t let me go.

I know I’m not the perfect assistant, but I will say that I definitely try to be personable as well as timely, accurate, organized, etc. And in my case, it paid off with my keeping my job!

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