Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Answering Reader Mail: Horrible Bosses

If you’re new to my blog, I offer advice to those who write in to me. I try to write my advice so that young or new EAs can also gleam tips even if the question asked may not apply directly. Anyway, here’s this week’s question.

“Hello! I do hope you are doing well and I really appreciate your blog!!!

Long story short, I am in need of some guidance and I have no where to

turn! If you have any advice to offer me, it would be appreciated


I am a 25 yr old, female executive assistant and I am about to begin a

HUGE opportunity for a high profile guy! This includes all of the

perks; travel, private jet, top notch everything, great pay,

incentives, etc etc. BUT my concern is one that I come across much too

often. My looks. Being that I am a young, "attractive" girl, with

brains and drive, this executive is already texting me 24/7 and some

of the comments make me uneasy. I am in NEED of this job as my current

position is with a company that is closing.

He has a wife and child, but it seems that is irrelevant. He wants me

to travel everywhere with him and basically the "attached at the hip",

partner type relationship, which is fine. But I have a boyfriend and a

personal life and I don't want to be in an uncomfortable situation. :(

It is really stressing me out, I feel as though I need to master the

skill of utilizing this sort of "power" over men to my benefit! I just

don't know how.

THANK YOU so much for taking time to read this.”

Friday, March 22, 2013

Answering Reader Mail: Being Terminated (Social Etiquette Part 2)

Hello Readers - 8 months ago, a reader asked me a question about fraternization and social etiquette at work. The link is that original post. The reader then wrote back recently with an update and a new question below.

“Last year, I wrote to you regarding my social issues at my work and you gave some very sound advice and things for me to consider.

The situation began to worsen as I continued to fraternize with employees. The lady that disapproved used to work for a very corporate company and happened to be my boss because she was the CEO's assistant. There were no rules against fraternization in our employee handbook and because the SVPs I supported often took their subordinates out for carousing and merriment, I went against her wishes. I believed it would be fine as the SVPs superseded her command, and I felt that I was in safe as long as I was in company of the executives and was in their good graces. In any case, I remained polite to her but I made the conscious decision to distance myself from her instead of our staff as I felt her attitude to be too negative/toxic. She was as new to the company as I was and it didn't take long for me to get to know her; she was always disapproving of someone in some way and had no qualms in voicing her criticisms privately (i.e., the COO won't go out of her way for anyone, doesn't attend company events, and is really just plain selfish, the SVP of Product goes out too much to the level where it's inappropriate, the SVP of HR is disrespectful as he's been late to a couple of all-hands meetings, the Director of Facilities thinks she's the queen, etc.). The funny thing is that she presents herself so sweetly to everyone; at one administrative assistant meeting (she supervises all admins), she proudly announced that there were some people she just did not like at the company but that no one would ever know it. She emphasized the importance of being nice to everyone so that if anyone were to ever say otherwise, no one will believe them.

In any case, she noticed the shift in my behavior as I no longer joked with her nor chatted with her as much as I used to initially. What broke the camel's back was when a well-loved director of the company was terminated by the SVP of Product and I threw her a happy hour after work. Now, the happy hour started out innocently enough; the SVP of Product encouraged everyone to reach out to the terminated director as it was an amicable separation and he understood a lot of people from the company were very good friends with her. The terminated director and I were very good friends and had asked me to organize a happy hour in which she could see some colleagues and bid adieu appropriately. I invited half a dozen people but the word spread like wildfire and almost the entire product and engineering team showed up a little after 5:30pm. A bit of background regarding our company: we have flexible hours and can come and go as we please as long as we finish our work but most of the time people stay after 6p because people usually come in late.

When the lady found out about the happy hour and that I organized the event for the terminated employee, she was not happy. She said that my actions showed that my loyalty was not to the company nor the SVP of Product, and as his executive assistant, it was announcing to his staff that I did not respect him or his decision in terminating the employee. Furthermore, she could not believe that I had the audacity to take almost the entire product and engineering staff to happy hour during regular business hours. I originally just invited six people, but about thirty+ showed up. Needless to say, I was also terminated. In hindsight, I can see where they're coming from and how awful that looks.

My question however, is… should I disclose the reason for my termination in my job interviews? And what is the best way to present it?

Thank you.”

Friday, March 15, 2013

Job Hunting Tips & Telling Your Boss

Happy Friday, everyone! And welcome to new readers! I see more and more people following my blog or Twitter each week! Thank you! Below is a question I received that may be helpful to you too!

I have a great working relationship with my boss, but am starting to look for a more Senior level role. As much I want to be honest, I'm not sure if I should tell him that I'm looking. What's the correct approach?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Work Frustrations and Meaningful Work

My last post was about what I was devouring in books, music, and film. Meaningful and fulfilling interactions in life are what make us happy and sustain us. Often, the battle over work is being bored, not challenged, or one's job not being fulfilling. Surely, as executive assistants we may feel this way when we have to do all the boring stuff - filing, expenses, travel, calendaring, and phones. However, sometimes you are also given fun work and special projects. While the idea to find a job you love and are excited to go to every morning isn't a bad idea, a happier medium/interim solution would be (as Randy Pausch said, is) to strive for actions that have meaning. That could be your life's work.