Posted on 15/12/2023 by Amy Flockhart
Being an Executive Assistant (EA) in the modern world can be a challenging role to fill and it comes with a host of different obstacles to overcome; from burnout to time-keeping, it’s often a job that requires an abundance of patience and a talent for multi-tasking. When acknowledging the challenges, it is important to know there are effective resources out there that can help.
We have collated some of the common challenges EA’s experience, with a resource, such as a podcast or book to help combat it.
1. Your boss may expect you to know it all
As an EA, a big part of your job is about understanding the company you are working for; from their mission and values to various employees roles and the day to day operations. To get a head start, it is vital to do your homework, make sure to ask questions, note everything down and be prepared to be called upon whenever you are needed to provide information.
To tackle this, listen to the podcast, ‘The Ambitious Admin’ hosted by Anna MacDonald where she helps assistants develop their skills proactively and build confidence by providing support and guidance where it might otherwise be missing from your work life. ‘The Ambitious Admin’ is a place where your struggles are acknowledged and validated.
2. Dealing with being on-call
After a very busy day as an EA, you may be called upon again. There is no getting away from the fact that the world is very much 24/7 and due to the demands of the business there could be late night/early morning calls, as you will usually be the go to before reaching your boss. In light of this, it is important to stay on top of things and maintain an organised and strategic time management regime. Ensure you are taking plenty of breaks and using your annual leave when needed to take time to rest and recharge.
‘The Modern-Day Assistant’ written by Lucy Brazier is a great guide to planning strategically and maximizing the time you have. It will also give tips on building a trusted community around you to enhance your communication skills.
3. You will be pushed outside of your comfort zone
In an Executive Assistant role, you will be responsible for dealing with confidential or sensitive information and therefore it is important to remain discrete and level-headed. This can sometimes be quite daunting and can often mean pushing yourself out of your comfort zone to speak to Senior Leadership and company stakeholders.
To avoid getting overwhelmed, listen to ‘The Whole Assistant’ hosted by Annie Croner, a podcast designed to help you stand in your power and achieve success free from burnout and overwhelm.
4. You may be expected to work beyond your job description
Due to the demands of the role, you will need to adapt to company needs. Be prepared to take on tasks that you may not have expected to pop up in your day-to-day job but will require acclimatisation.
Read ‘Elevate Admins’ written by Chrissy Scivicque. This book will help you to establish yourself as a top performer in a competitive field and provides the tools you will need in order to meet the demands of an admin role.
Despite the challenges you may face as an Executive Assistant, it’s important to remember hard work pays off and it will be a rewarding experience overall. Understanding the role and the company, pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and adapting to working styles you may not have expected to encounter will pave the way for you to acquire invaluable skills which will inevitably aid you in your future career. Revel in the spontaneity of your days and appreciate the diversity of tasks in a non-stop role where no two days are the same.
All recommendations are linked but you can listen wherever you get your podcasts or purchase any of the mentioned books from Amazon and all good bookstores.