By Abigail Jones
Think of all the things you do to develop your boss’s career- perhaps you manage their social media presence, update their CV, get the meetings with the right people, help them deliver sales results or put together the presentation that wins the pitch. Even managing their personal life allows them to focus on their work life. Every day, your job supports and develops their role, and their career, in a variety of different ways, large or small. Now think of all the things that you do to develop your career-
Let’s start at the beginning. We all know that EA’s and PA’s wear lots of different hats- perhaps one of these is something you are interested in developing. For example, Chief of Staff, HR, project management, sales, travel, finance, or maybe transitioning into a private/household PA role. Maybe you’d like to be a CEO yourself one day! Is there one or more of these types of roles that you have an interest in, and if so, do you know anyone in, or outside of, the organisation you currently work in? You can arrange to have a quick coffee or chat to ask more about what they do, and what the job is really like. Ideally, you could ask to shadow someone for a day, or half a day, and even ask for a mentor in the form of someone who has your ideal role. Perhaps your boss knows someone from their wide range of networks who would be willing to speak to you. Networks and contacts are invaluable for these kinds of things-if your dream job
How often do you have a conversation with your boss about where they see you going, and how are they going to grow you and nurture your talent? I bet….rarely! How about having that conversation- ask them for
Learn from your boss. What kind of boss are they? What can they do really well? Are they a great motivator? Inspiring and challenging? Or do they have terrible people skills and low emotional intelligence? Learn from the flaws and weaknesses as it is a great lesson in ‘what not to do’. If there is something they do really well, ask them how they got to be proficient at it. What are the key things you would take away from working with them – have they motivated or changed you positively in any way?
There is no harm in asking your boss how they came to be in their current role- what were the challenges or the extra learnings they had to understand? What do they wish they could have done differently? What would they advise to someone who was hoping to develop and grow their current role?
Don’t wait until appraisal time roles around until you start to think about what you want to achieve in the next six months. The fact is, that no one cares about your career, except for you- so use your time, your experience, and your boss to start making changes in whichever direction you want. You spend all day prioritizing someone else at work and managing their life and career- take some time to do the same for you. Whether it is a total career change or just a subtle tweak of upskilling, use the knowledge around you to start making differences; every piece of new knowledge is a step in the right direction!