Assistants Are Marines

April 15, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Posted in Business Ops, Tools | 1 Comment
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I’ve finished my first week of my new job.  It feels so good to commute.  I never thought I would say that!  This past Monday was my third ‘first day’ in 25 years.  It had been 7 years since my last one and I was a bit out of practice.  My office is very small and does not interact with clients or the public.  If you read my earlier post on being hired there’s no question that the office is very laid back.
All of this has reminded me that assistants are Marines.  We have to adapt, improvise, and overcome.

I’m an assistant in a new world.  I’m still a great worker and always have been, that doesn’t change.  I’m in a new situation and new situations always cause me to take inventory of my surroundings and myself.  Here are some of my insights and conclusions from my first week in the workforce again.
I seem to have come full circle in a couple of ways.  I’m working in market research again.  I have 18 years experience in this industry on many levels.  I’m working for a for-profit company again after spending 6 years at a non-profit.  This was the first part of my adaptation.  My current company is small, but is taking advantage of technical advances that either weren’t around when I was previously in market research, or couldn’t be offered at a non-profit.  Communication and the sharing of information is a valued asset.  We use Messenger ; Evernote ; DropBox ; Wunderlist and GoToMeeting.  Most every employee has not only a desktop computer, but also a laptop that is connected at the same time. Weekly staff meetings are small at our site.  Most employees are teleconferenced in. Most every staffer in the meeting is using their laptops to communicate via email and chat with co-workers.  I’m sure they all consider this routine, but for me it’s exciting, new and I adapt quickly to new software and technology.

The second adaptation is being a simple assistant, not an administrative one. I’m a general assistant in the Operations department.  Some duties are more tedious than I’m used to, but that doesn’t mean they are less important.  This is the most mindful change/adaptation.  I can’t offer to change or create procedures or reports.  I don’t have the responsibility of running a busy office.  I don’t even answer the phone, something I don’t miss at all.  I am lowest on the totem pole.

Finally, my last adaptation, at least for now, is the ‘vibe’ of the office.  Working for a non-profit that offers social services was actually more hard-lined than my for-profit company.  Every day of the week is ‘dress down’, even for the president.  I wore plain dress pants and a white shirt on my first day of work and I was extremely overdressed.  People joke around a lot and are very friendly.  Even though the atmosphere is relaxed, work is still important and is done by 5:00pm.
As a Marine, my first task is to adapt.  The task of improvising may end up being a slight need.  I will overcome!

Now for the definitions of the day

adapt
[u’dapt]
verb
1. make fit for, or change to suit a new purpose
2. adapt or conform oneself to new or different conditions

improvise
[‘im‑pruˌvIz]
verb
1. perform without preparation
2. manage in a makeshift way; do with whatever is at hand

overcome
[ˌow‑vur’kúm]
verb
1. win a victory over
2. get on top of; deal with successfully


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