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.

As an executive assistant, I knew I wasn't curing cancer or inventing anything, but that customer service role and making a difference in one executive's life was meaningful for me. Sure, it was based around time management and efficiency to better his/her life, but that also meant I helped their life and health overall. Because of my role, they could enjoy their free time better, be a better parent, sibling, and spouse. No one would ever know, but I would, and hopefully my boss did, and that was all that mattered.

A book that relates to finding meaning in your personal life really struck a cord with me recently. I’ve been crying a lot lately, but not for any bad reason. Most of it has been because I just finished reading THE INVISIBLE THREAD, a book about an 11 year old panhandler kid and a busy sales executive. It is a story of faith, hope, commitment, and random acts of kindness. I finished it within a week because I was trying to be good and sleep at a reasonable hour. Otherwise, I would have read it in one sitting in 5 hours.

I don’t want to spoil the book for you, but if you like uplifting, heartfelt stories of growth and triumph you must read this. There were about 5 incidents in the story that just made me cry! And as I let the messages of the book permeate my life, I find gratitude in my life as well. I think it also has to do with me keeping my happy vase jar as a new year’s resolution.

Even as I was reading the book, a strange yet miraculous thing happened. I went to pick up dinner tonight and a lovely girl behind me commented how we just ordered the same dish - a salad with extra lettuce and mild and medium salsa. As we got closer to the cashier she asked if she could pay for my meal. I was a bit shocked and I said, "I'm sorry?" And she restated she wanted to pay for my meal. I graciously accepted and found out it was her random act of kindness for the day and her inspiration was from a finance course she took. This gesture really made my day and I told her I would have to pass it on. It was the "weirdest" yet nicest thing to ever happen to me. A part of me wanted to give her my card, be her friend, and maybe her BFF, but not wanting to be intrusive and to accept her gift for what is was, I left after my thank you and decided to share this story with you.

I wish there were awards like the Oscars, but for good people, good samaritans, and random acts of kindness. Failing that, try to see every "thank you" uttered as the award itself. Be so nice to each other and so grateful for each other that it gives your life meaning. Let your daily interactions speak volumes for you, your character, and your body of work. Be so good at being you, that your presence will move someone to tears... So to all the beautiful people out there making a world a better place, I thank you!

***New “rule” - when you ask me a question for anonymous advice and I answer it, could you write an anonymous comment so I know you read the post? You can just write “Thx!” or something! :)

As always, I usually tweet any new posts I have. And anyone can email me questions and I respond only via this blog, not to your personal address. It usually takes me 3-4 days to answer.

I also write over at under Hollywood Executive Assistant.


  1. Hi Kiyomi, Do you mind sharing this opening with your network?

    It's for an EA to a celebrity CEO in SF.

  2. Great entry. I'm going to check out the book you mentioned.

    (I landed on your blog after searching for tips on being a great EA [that were posted in the last month].)

    1. The Muser at Musings of a High Level Executive AssistantMarch 14, 2013 at 5:23 PM

      Thank you for the comment! So glad you found my blog helpful! Am excited you will look into the book I mentioned. I hope you like it as much as I did.

  3. I have just requested the book from my library. It must be good, as there are quite a few ahead of me! I'll look forward to it while I'm waiting. Still enjoying your blog.

    Annie, an EA in a MN C-Suite

    1. The Muser at Musings of a High Level Executive AssistantMarch 19, 2013 at 12:50 PM

      Annie - Thank you for the comment. Hope you liked it as much as I did. I hope to have a new post up in a few days.