By the time I am done this year, I will have been to 21 different countries delivering presentations on all things administrative.
Sometimes I go to Chair conferences or to speak at them, I have presented at various training days for Associations, at internal and external networking events and even the occasional HR seminar. I have met thousands of you all over the world and what never fails to amaze me is the fact that wherever you are based, the issues around being an assistant are all the same.
This week I have been reviewing the feedback to the Executive Secretary LIVE conference. One specific question in particular has been fascinating in terms of the answers. We asked all the attendees how they felt prior to attending the conference.
Here are just a few of the responses:
- I felt alone, I had nowhere and no one to turn to.
- I was in search of much needed inspiration.
- I was feeling lost in my role, very alone and isolated.
- I was alone, not a part of anything, not important.
Are you sensing a theme here? And it’s by no means just feedback from our event. Time and again, assistants tell me that they feel utterly isolated and lonely in their roles, mainly because they can’t socialise up or down at the companies they work for. It would be inappropriate in most cases to socialise with the Executive and for confidentiality reasons it is also unacceptable to form personal friendships with other staff members. So why is it, if this is the case, that internal networks for Assistants are so rare?
Here in the UK there is quite a movement right now to introduce internal networking for Assistants to many of our larger companies. Hays and Castalia Coaching in particular are blazing the trail to promote the positive results both in terms of Personal Development and also ROI for the businesses that implement them. I recently attended and spoke at an excellent event at Hays where over 20 of the UK’s top companies attended to discuss how to set an Assistant network up.
This was hugely exciting to me. With the size of these businesses and the talent in that room, if they all went back to their companies to start networks, it could change the perception of the Assistant in the UK entirely.
I would encourage those of you who are feeling isolated or alone to look at your peers across your businesses and think about it. If you are interested in more information about setting up an internal network then grab the bull by the horns and email me – there is no time like the present.