Are you thinking of quitting your job? Take a second look before you do, says Bonnie Low Kramen
In my work training and coaching Executive and Personal Assistants around the world, I know that many assistants become tempted to find greener pastures when they feel bored, stagnant, and believe that there is nowhere else to go within their current position. Resigning seems an obvious and inevitable solution to feeling underutilized, under-challenged, undervalued, underappreciated, and underpaid.
To those ideas, I ask this question.
“Does your executive and HR truly have a full picture of your current skills, talents, interests and needs?”
If the answer is no, the time to tell them is before you resign. As much as we would prefer managers and HR to independently observe and acknowledge our super-powered abilities without being told, that is unlikely.
The bottom line is that I see too many assistants resigning from potentially awesome situations because they are too afraid to say what they need and how they would like to see their role evolve. I see too many shocked managers who do not want to replace their assistants and believe that the relationship is going well. Many would be all too happy to work on an adapted job description if only they knew the problems.
Needing to stretch your leadership muscles? Here are a few ideas (depending on your interests) about how to have your dream job without going anywhere.
- Develop a proposal to create an internal assistant network if one does not exist and offer to take the lead on it.
- Design Lunch & Learn programming in order to share valuable information with the admin team. Book Clubs and utilizing the admin team as guest speakers are ideas that are trending all over the world.
- Offer to build an admin task force to work with HR to streamline job titles, job descriptions, and/or salary/bonus structures.
- Organize the content for a SharePoint or intranet site specifically for the administrative staff complete with an international contact list.
- Design an outline for a Procedures Manual for Admin New Hires.
- Volunteer to get involved with new admin hire orientation procedures.
- Create an improved system for vacation back-up.
- Take a hard look at your company’s disaster planning and identify the holes. Come up with ideas about how to solve these “what ifs.”
I can tell you that the assistants who have taken any of the above actions are taken very seriously. By doing these things, they improve their relevance, marketability, and career satisfaction.
When it comes to your compensation package, only you know what the deal-breakers are. Take a hard look at your whole package.
- Salary & Benefits
- Vacation days
- Perks – Parking, free food, gym, etc.
- Company Culture
- Flexibility with schedule
- Need to take work home, 24/7 access
- Work/life balance
If, for example, it would make all the difference for you to be able to work at home a day or two each week, pitch that idea and see what your leaders say.
Cheryl felt she had no choice. She went into her executive’s office on Monday morning and sat down. She was shaking from fear and said, “I am resigning and giving you two weeks’ notice but if I could leave sooner, I will.” Her stunned executive took a moment and then said, “Do you really want to resign or are you leaving because your mother is sick and you need to take care of her?” Cheryl said, “It’s my mom. I need to be with her.” The executive said, “I don’t want to lose you. Your job is safe. Do what you need to do with your mother and your job will be here when you get back.” Cheryl and her executive are still working together. He continues to offer flexibility and Cheryl has her dream job.
Of course, this is not an exact science. In the end, you have to do what you have to do. But either way, before you make the final decision to stay or leave, imagine five years from now. Ask yourself “Looking back, did I do everything I could to fully make this decision?”
Follow your instincts. You know what to do.