Our current part-time assistant is a college junior! She was able to set her classes so that she doesn’t go into school until the afternoon. Monday through Thursday she comes into our office for her paying job from 9AM – 1PM and then she heads off to class. On Fridays, she has the day off. This semester she isn’t doing an internship (she’s done several in the past). Her role as executive assistant includes managing my schedule and our team’s schedule, sending calendar invites, booking travel arrangements, coordinating W9s and payments for the company, handling expenses, ordering supplies for the office, coordinating interviews, and some light social media and marketing tasks every so often. She’s also helping with our new IQExclusive Classes that you may have read about on the website. She isn’t working retail or waiting tables – she’s actually working a job that’s going to help her get ahead of the curve in her career in the marketing and communications world where oftentimes you start as an assistant. So while she does have this job opportunity, how can she treat it like an internship? How can she make sure that she doesn’t get so caught up in the day-to-day tasks that she forgets to learn from them? This is actually a positive lesson for all of us in the working world – how can we treat our jobs more like internships to ensure we are always learning?
My advice to our part-time assistant (I’m sure she’s reading this) and to all of you managing a similar situation is never stop asking questions. The second you don’t understand what you are doing, who you are setting calls with, why I might be speaking to someone and what that conversation might be about – ask. Ask questions all of the time. Yes, you can make a list of them so it doesn’t become annoying but make sure to ask. If you find yourself doing the work and not thinking about why the work you are doing is important, you are getting too comfortable. You always want to understand the importance of the role you play and how your work affects the overall success of the team.
A few other tips for people in this situation. Get to know your team, you have a job not an internship and the advantage is you probably have closer relationships with the team members because you’ve been on the job longer (or you will be on the job longer). Don’t forget to ask different team members to go to coffee and talk about how they got to where they are today, what they like and don’t like about their jobs, and build strong below-the-surface relationships with them. Also, continue to go above and beyond. Show up for things outside of office hours, ask if you can attend things that the rest of your team might be attending, make yourself a big part of the team – this will pay off and you will turn this job experience into a life-changing one – just like an internship.
And finally, turn that relationship with your boss into a mentorship. Ask if you can meet every few months to discuss your future. How can you turn this relationship into a mentorship that will last forever?
Good luck and congrats on a wonderful job opportunity that will help shape your future!