Thought Catalog
November 7, 2012

How To Be An Administrative Assistant

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What is the issue?

1. Be slightly miffed when called ‘the receptionist.’ Think about how ‘The Receptionist’ kind of sounds like a horror movie. But really, prefer that to the mouthful that is ‘Administrative Assistant.’ Let’s just call a spade a spade: you’re the receptionist.

2. Say, “How are you?” and “Have a good one!” a lot.

3. Answer the phone. Quickly — after no more than two rings — or in your year-end evaluation, your supervisor will accuse you of not being proactive enough.

4. Recognize the repeat callers. Learn what particular language will get them to give up on their hopes of your higher-ups ever calling them back.

5. Never give those crazies your name when they ask for it. They just want someone to hold personally responsible for anything that may go wrong. DON’T LET YOURSELF BE THAT SCAPEGOAT.

6. Be the caretaker of the plants, the catcher of mice, and the locker of doors. These are things that will never be recognized or appreciated. However, it will be immediately noticed if you slack in any of these departments.

7. If you want your full (unpaid) lunch hour, you must demand it. Many times it will be hinted that it would be more convenient if you stayed in the office. Do not give into this conspiracy.
8. Get really good at pretending to look busy.

9. Daydream about being a housewife in the 1960s in the vein of Betty Draper while cursing those feminists who made it necessary for you to climb this career ladder.

10. Slyly text your significant other, sibling, friend, or anyone else who you subject to your work horror stories. I specify ‘slyly’ because if you’re spotted on your cell phone, some snitch will tell your boss.

11. Silently mourn your manicure. All the filing you’ll be doing makes having nice nails a constant struggle.

12. Get called ‘kid’ a lot.

13. There will be people who have no actual authority and no underlings, but desperately wish they did. They will try to make you their assistant, simply because you’re young and also have no authority. If you’re strong-willed like me, this will bother you immensely. Try to take it in stride. It’s better for your blood pressure.

14. Get really good at closing tabs at the speed of light. Assume you’ll have a computer that faces the world, and that at many points throughout the day you’re going to be looking at things that are NSFW.

15. Online shop. Well, add things to your cart and then exit the website. You’re The Receptionist. You have no money to buy things.

16. Be the lowest paid employee and garner the least respect, but be glad because you have no real stake in this thing. These people are lifers; you’re going somewhere else fast, and soon. TC mark

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