career advice May 09, 2019

For most of us, the path to being an administrative professional or executive assistant has been a winding one.

For me, I thought I was headed down a different path when I stumbled upon administrative work as a way to pay the bills. In the beginning, this work for me was just a way to pay the bills. It was just a job.

How to Think Strategically About Your Career Path

It was a job I was good at but at the time, I didn’t consider it a career path. Once this possibility was opened up to me by my mentor Marianne, I have to admit that I really didn’t have a clear plan for my career. All I knew was I wanted the relationship Marianne had with her executive, one of trust and mutual respect.

Getting an idea of what you want out of your ideal position is the first step to obtaining it. You either steer your career or you let your career steer you!

Check out this video to learn how to take charge of your career path: 

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Check out the Transcription:

Hey there, I'm Annie of, and we are in the middle of a series all about how to strategically think about your careers, how to steer your career, how to really bring some mindfulness to your career path and to the choices you make every day that could help set you on the career path that you want long term.

So I'm going to go a bit more today into how to strategically think about your career path. And the first tip I have for you is to start with what you enjoy doing or would like to explore more. So if you are completely lost and you don't know how to steer your career and you aren't sure what you want out of your career or what your dream role would look like, I think it's time that we all get clear on that because some mindfulness around what we want is the only way to actually get where we're going to go, to actually get where we want to go.

So my first tip for you guys would be to dream big. Do you want to make six figures? Or maybe you don't want to make six figures. Maybe you want flexibility. Maybe flexibility is more important to you than money. Do you want to oversee an administrative team? Maybe you want to work at a nonprofit that you really, really believe in. Consider what fires you up and then I want you to take a minute and write it down or externalize it in some way. Create a vision board for yourself, for your career where your dream job is part of your vision board. Write it down because I think so often we get unhappy in our roles and then when we look for a new job, we're looking for anything other than what we're doing, right? Like, I've been in jobs that have not been good in the past. I'm like, "Oh my God, get me out of here. I can't even think about what I want. All I know is that I don't want this."

So right now we're going to get really clear on what we want out of our career first and what our dream job would look like. Now, if you're still having trouble with this concept of what you want, I would have you ask yourself: are there elements in my current position that I really enjoy or would like to explore more or are there certain additional projects that I would really be excited to do? And so in this way, we can leverage our current position to kind of guide us towards our dream job in our dream roles. So if are you, do you really enjoy like planning parties for people or bringing people together or I don't know, doing expense reports, whatever it is that you really enjoy doing, ask for more of those things and asking for more of what you already enjoy doing or you know you enjoy doing or would like more experience in is another great way to gain experience, right? If you actually ask for that experience.

It also shows initiative and it also shows a desire to grow in your current role, which is so great and there's nothing wrong with leveraging your current position in order to get the experience necessary to get where you want to go. Okay. Now considering that we just are talking about leveraging your current position to get where you want to go, perhaps you are all tapped out. Perhaps you have really squeezed every ounce of juicy goodness from your current position, every ounce of growth and experience that you possibly can from your current role and you are feeling stagnant. Perhaps it is time for a change in roles.

Now I would say I would never recommend a position change if you've been at your current position for less than two years. The exception is if you're being treated totally terribly, then I would definitely look for another role because I would never advocate that anybody stay in a terrible, awful situation ever. That caveat aside, I don't think it's a good idea to look for a new position less than two years in for anybody. I think that regardless of what's going on that there are valuable lessons you can learn, even if that valuable lesson is patience and that it will reflect better on your resume if you stay in your current position for two years or more.

So, if you are in a place where you can look for a new role, I would be very specific in terms of the type of role I'm going to look for. So back when I was in nonprofit, I was getting burned out. I'd been there for three years. Man, I had tapped that role out in every way and it had tapped me out, believe me, and I was looking for a position change, but I was going to be very specific in the type of role that I would take. Meaning that I wasn't going to work in nonprofit as a general administrator or supporting a team of executives in the for-profit sector so that I could finally be paid a decent wage. Because after working three years in nonprofit, I didn't have hardly anything in savings and I really had some good financial goals for myself that I wanted to achieve. So I looked for a job where I would be assisting one executive in hopefully upper-level management and I found a great position as a result of having that specific mindset and knowing exactly what I was looking for.

So while it may take a little while or a few positions actually land like your ultimate dream job, be considering like what is it that you want your ultimate dream job to look like and there again, so somewhere and write it down. Write it down, because that will really help you stay clear on what type of position you are willing to take. And then guys, we really need to get our thinking right.

Attitude counts for a lot and if you are going into your office every day grumpy and miserable and unsatisfied or maybe you're just coasting, maybe you have been in your role for so long and you're okay just being in that role and coasting and there is no growth for you, I would consider why those things are, why are you grumpy when you go to the office?

Do you need to have a conversation with your manager? Do you need to have a conversation with a coworker that perhaps you're like out of step or out of sync with? Figure out what it is that will make you happy and then work towards that. Is it that you want more opportunities for growth and your feeling stagnant and unchallenged? Ask for a challenge. Really ask for what you need and make sure that you are always having a good attitude. I know for me, when I'm complaining a lot, I'm like, "Oh, there's something off here. There's something really off with me. What's going on with me?" so I don't bring that to my work or to my office or to my executive. And so yeah. And then also like just know that if you have big goals in terms of like what you want to do or what you want to achieve or the career path you want to be on, you're going to have to give yourself a pep talk every now and then.

And you're also going to have to watch your thinking when you make mistakes and everything else. Watch how you talk to yourself because it does make a difference. If you're beating yourself up all the time, that's no good.

So these are my tips for you for how to strategically think about and maybe start to grasp and start to form what you want your ideal position to look like. And stay tuned next week where we're going to talk about how you know when it's time to quit your current role, and actually look outside your current position for growth and also towards steering your career in the direction you want it to go. And that's all I have for you guys this week. I hope you have a great rest of your week.


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