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Author Topic: Week of Jan. 5th. Long term versus stepping stone  (Read 16217 times)
andream
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« on: January 05, 2004, 11:23:38 am »

In the world of the office professional, PA, Admin, EA, whatever you want to call it, a duality has emerged.  There are long-term career support professionals and there are those who view the career as a stepping stone to other things.  What's your opinion on either, which are you? A long Term career support professional, or one who sees the admin role as a way to other things only? Or are you a hybrid of both.. and why?

Be nice to each other, this will be a volatile topic.


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gee4
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« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2004, 12:13:07 pm »

I have had too many redundancies to think that this role I am in now, is a stepping stone to anything else - well for the foreseeable future.  My temp jobs after being made redundant were my stepping stone, hoping that something better was out there and boy did I hang on in there.  I started with HP as project administrator last Oct and now my contract has not only been extended, but I am PA to the director since my predecessor left in December.  During the past 3 months I have tried and obviously have made an impact and am delighted that I was offered this role.  I know my capabilities and finally I feel I have been given the chance that I have waited so long for.  Hopefully this is a long-term career for me now as at 36 I am not getting any younger and need the stability.  Now I can come into work each morning and know this job is mine until I decide otherwise.

G

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mathwhizchick
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« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2004, 04:43:42 pm »

Personally, I think there is more than enough room in this particular career field for all of the variations.  Right now, I think I'm a hybrid.  I'm not adverse to using it as a stepping stone to something else, but right now I'm happy with my boss, my benes and my pay as a long term support prof.  My job is fast-paced and varied and my boss really appreciates my depth, logistic experience and proactive handling of tasks (so that no one is blind-sided).   I have been in jobs where that was not the case, so I'm aware of how well-off I am.

IMHO, we are all very different with different life and career goals, so it makes perfect sense to me that we will have a variety of stepping stone vs. career support vs. hybrid mixes.  None are right or wrong or better--just different.

(that concludes the gospel according to mathwhizchick...)
Smiley

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raindance
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« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2004, 05:43:58 pm »

Once I got my first admin support job, as a bottom-of-the-heap office junior, I did spend some time identifying my professional goals and the type of industry I would like to work in.  Apart from that, I have always taken advantage of every opportunity to do non-admin support projects, to broaden my experience and increase my knowledge.  The result is that I now provide some support to the CEO of my company, but mostly am in charge of four high-profile areas of work which are outside the role of most admin support professionals.  I may have an opportunity in the next twelve months to take this work to a higher level again.  I guess I am one of Andrea's "hybrids" and am fortunate enough, apart from one or two little bumps along the way, to have had bossies who are happy for me to develop new areas of work.  I thrive on change and new challenges - but that's me.

I have the greatest respect for office professionals who follow a more traditional path. I have had the privilege to work with some wonderfully accomplished PAs who were very happy in their posts and did not wish to go in another direction.  This does not mean that they did not have ambition or goals, but that their ambitions and goals were different from, but equally valid to mine.

Whatever goals a person has, I think the most important thing is to try to be the very best you can at that job, and that entails keeping up to date with training and maintaining high standards of service and systems.  

My two bitz.

Raindance

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spitfire78
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« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2004, 10:25:46 pm »

Definitely a long-term support person checking in here.  I like the role and will happily stay in it until I retire.  Now, that doesn't mean that I want to stay in the particular job I'm in now.  I do have aspirations for another job - however, it would also be in the role of support.  I'm not really a "career" person.  I have to work to pay the bills, obviously .  However, I'm not really the type to devote my life to my job.  I am very happy having a 40-hour-a-week job.  When I walk out the door, I leave it all behind me and go enjoy my life, then come back the next morning and pick up where I left off.  

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elkiedee
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« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2004, 01:17:17 pm »

Support staff person for now. Like spitfire78 I like to leave the job behind when I go home. There are other things in my life I find more interesting. My biggest ambition in the next few years is to move out of London, and return to living in a sensible sized city. At that point I might think about trying to move sideways if I can find a job which builds on my skills - IT support and training has always seemed like an interesting area. Luci

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hgray
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« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2004, 05:33:15 pm »

I think I'm like Spitfire - def. a support person.
I work for a fairly senior guy and I like the interest/responsibility that comes with that but at the end of the day the buck doesn't stop with me and like others have said I can go home and not "sweat it"!!

If I was thinking of an upward move in a support role it would probably be the next high level, i.e. CEO but right now I'm happy doing what I do

Helen

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mlm668
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« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2004, 10:52:25 pm »

I'm definately a lifer.  I have no desire whatsoever to go beyond admin support (except maybe grow this job into an office manager's position since I do many of those duties now).  

It is very hard to get others to see that I am happy as an admin support professional.  I'm the power behind the throne so to speak.  I may not have the say so on big issues, my boss is always asking my opinion of things on smaller things so I feel valued most of the time.  

My boss is currently working my job into something a bit different.  What that is going to end up being, I don't know yet.  I am fairly certain it will still be support - just in a different area than what I previously did.  Right now I like the direction it seems to be going in.  Only time will tell.

Michelle
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catsmeat
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« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2004, 12:00:32 pm »

Another lifer here.  I did try "branching out" many years ago when I worked in the NHS, and hated it.  The job had been created without a great deal of thought as to what the postholders should do, what training they should have, etc.  At the end, I felt that I was just number-crunching for the sake of it, and couldn't wait to get back into a more productive role.  

mlm668's comment about being "the power behind the throne" fits me very well.  I view it as my role in life to make my boss's life as easy as possible, so he can get on with his role (vastly different to mine!).  I know that my work and input is valued, and I don't think I can ask much more than that.

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supergirl
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« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2004, 01:16:14 pm »

Ditto.  I'm a relatively new "lifer," though--having started work after the kids grew up.  I love taking care of the teachers, parents, children and staff (in that order!) at school.  As someone said above, I wouldn't mind an extension to office manager, since that is really what I do anyway.

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Katie G
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« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2004, 09:31:52 pm »

I've been doing this for 10 years now, whereas I worked in my "degree field" for only 2 years (teaching).  Does that make me a "lifer"?  I don't know, I sort of fell into this line of work so I suppose it depends on what opportunities life would put in front of me.   I enjoy being "behind the throne" or as I like to put it, "I'd rather be the stage manager than the star of the show."  But whileI like my job. but I don't necessarily get excited about it.  I might be just as happy doing something else.   But I've had a lot of personal stuff going on in my life over the past few years so my "career" got put on the back burner.

The thing is, working at a universty,  I have a golden opportunity to get my masters degree for FREE but just not sure what to pursue.   Maybe I'm just waiting for the lightning bolt to hit me.  

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movinonup
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« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2004, 03:10:34 pm »

I'm a lifer support person....very content with my role.

As a sales coordinator, I feel more like a full-fledged team member than a secretary, which is the position I'm used to holding.  For instance, when visitors come from other facilities to work on presentations, I help coordinate the whole thing, and sometimes we order lunch and eat together.  

The coordinators are encouraged to go to the same team-building training as the sales/engineering associates.  This is different from other jobs I've held over the years, where the secretary is kept at a distance from the rest of the staff.  My guess is that other admin assistants are finding this same phenomena.

I've had experience as a supervisor, and definitely don't want to go that route again.  So I'm content to stay in a support position, where I have lots of variety and new challenges await me each day.  I'm also encouraged to keep current with my software skills, as my employer pays the tuition.  

There is one are of malcontent, in that my pay (and that of the design engineers) is not even close to that of the associate sales engineers, and I don't think that's fair.  A lot of the orders they get would not go through if it wasn't for the detail work done by the support staff.  In addition, the customer problems are often handled through me when they're out.  I have a 4-year degree in business, which is put to great use in my job.  I don't see why the coordinators are not given compensation more in line with their services.  I mean, I realize that the sales associates bring in the business, which results in the bottom line profit, but I believe that profit depends on a lot of others pulling the product and services together to keep the customer happy.





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ocblnd
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« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2004, 11:51:35 pm »

While I did not make a conscious decision at any time to be an Executive Assistant, (previous Executive Secretary, previous Office Manager) I can say that I am very happy that I seem to have fallen into a position that I enjoy, and working with great people.  I have made it to a place where I now can not only do the job, I can also make an impact on raising the bar of professionalism of the administrative staff.  
After close to 30 years(yes, I started as a child - NOT ) in a support position (with some years off for motherhood - AND talk about being in a support position ! !) I have see it all, done it all, have enjoyed most of it and it has been a great hands on classroom of life.  Some of the earlier positions I had were wonderful training and could be seen as stepping stones.  Even the company where I am now, coming in as the new person 3.5 years ago, the position I had turned out to be the stepping stone (with multiple steps along the way - different bosses, different responsibilities) that got me to the Exec. Assistant for the President/CEO.  
My natural ability to organize, multi-task and keep track of things and people have enabled me to take on positions that I have enjoyed and been able to have fun doing rather than just having a job to do 8 hours a day.
I guess you can count me in as a lifer......probably got another 12-15 years in me.  Meanwhile I am going to be the best support, encourager person I can be....and also remember to take time off for me so I can come back re-energized. .

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countrigal
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« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2004, 05:53:29 am »

I fell into the admin-field and have enjoyed it and definitely see it as the power behind the folks, but to me it's only a stepping stone.  I've now moved on from an actual admin-type support position to one with more power and authority, supporting no one but myself.  And am being groomed to move into even higher positions, moving towards management.  Since I have 25+ years still left until I qualify for early retirement, and I'm only 3 grades from the upper-most range achievable (to include top management), then I really don't see myself not moving upwards -- I'd get bored if I didn't switch jobs somewhere in those years.  Hopefully though I'll slow down a bit and build a bit more experience at each level before jumping into the next higher one.  It'll make me a better person for any future positions if I can do that.  But I definitely tip my hat to those who are career-supporters.  Without y'all, lots of things would fall bythe wayside and be lost to future generations.  We all have things to offer in the work-place and it takes us all to make a dynamic and healthy work place.

CountriGal
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