I’ve been looking for a job. Not just any job but a job that is a good fit for my skills and lets me do what I know I am capable of doing. I’m an Executive Admin. A really good Executive Admin.
Unfortunately, it’s not a skill set that is in high demand in the area I live. It’s also not a skill set that is valued as much as it should be. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think I’m all that. But I do know me better than anyone else does.
No one knows what I am capable of just by a quick glance at my CV. A 10 minute phone interview only lets them know I can carry on a conversation on the phone. An in person interview lets them see how I present myself, if I show up on time, if I carry myself with confidence. But there is no way they can really know me that quickly.
So they take the few pieces they have to work with and fill in the rest. If they fill them in in my favor, I get a job that I have no way of knowing if I can actually do. If they fill them in with doubt or don’t have the imagination to fill them in at all, I never hear from them again or get a “we’ve decided to go with another candidate”.
I used to take these rejections personally but I realized this morning that there is no way for them to be personal. They didn’t take the opportunity to really get to know me. It couldn’t be personal because the real me isn’t Interview Barbie. It’s not even Executive Admin Barbie. The real me takes years to begin to know. I can be friendly and funny and outgoing when I need to but the real me is very, very private. I don’t share my innermost self with many people. Life has taught me to share enough to be likable or social but never vulnerable. Never let the guard down completely.
There is a great line in “You’ve Got Mail” where the main characters are talking about the challenges they are facing. Joe sends a message to Kathleen that “It’s not personal. It’s business”. Her reply is “What ever something is, it should start by being personal.”
Being a good Executive Admin is personal. If allowed to support an Executive it becomes very personal. Your Executive has your loyalty not just your time and skills. Your Executive can depend on you for the little things and the big ones. Your Executive counts on you to know what’s going on and what’s coming next. You learn the rhythm and work flow of your Executive and arraign as much as possible to accommodate that style.
Finding a good Executive is harder than finding a job. Finding a good church, a good hair dresser, a good mechanic, a good dry cleaner. Finding good is just hard. Finding great has become an illusion.
Galaxy Quest has another great line. “It doesn’t take a great actor to recognize a bad one.” I’m not a great anything but I can recognize a bad one. I can recognize broken systems and even if I have ideas of how to fix them, it doesn’t matter if the people who broke them are determined to keep things just the way they are. I can offer new ways of looking at things but if they have their eyes firmly closed and their minds as equally clinched, it will only annoy them and discourage me.
Want to do something different. Call me. I can give you lots of suggestions. Want to eliminate obstacles and find creative solutions. Call me. I’d love to help you blow up some ingrained road blocks and get moving forward. But I warn you. It’s going to begin by being personal.