15 Things Every Great Executive Assistant Knows

The Devil Wears Prada

1. Don’t assume anything. Ever.

2. It’s a good rule of thumb that the more brilliant the person, the more eccentric and difficult the personality.

3. Don’t expect praise. You may perform perfectly and never get that pat on the back you thought you deserved. But you’re a big girl; take the gold stars out of the equation and simply take pride in your own work. You will be a far more content person.

4. Never take anything personally.

5. Nothing is impossible. There’s always a solution somewhere; sometimes it just requires a more roundabout or creative approach.

6. Always think three steps ahead if you want to prevent impending disaster and keep your sanity (and often your job.)

7. Often if you don’t take the initiative, it will never get done.

8. Never accept “no” for an answer. There’s always a way to bend the rules, always a way to use flattery and persistence to get what you need. A “no” is just an initial offer.

9. Always look busy. Even when you’re bored to tears and feel completely underutilized, make it a point to appear hard at work and you will receive far more respect.

10. Successful people take risks and act boldly.

11. Don’t burn your bridges. You never know when you may need that person for a future connection, reference, or simply basic counsel. Your reputation will thank you.

12. Using discretion is one of the best ways to project professionalism.

13. Always be good to doormen, vendors, your FedEx Guy, everyone who provides a service for you. Not only is it just good code of conduct, but that person could potentially save your ass when you really need it. And a little goes a long way.

14. When all else fails, fake it ‘til you make it. Seriously — it works.

15. In the theater, one of the most important lessons I was taught was that there are no small parts, only small actors. As an assistant, it’s easy at times to feel demeaned or not valued — don’t let yourself go there. Remember that you are an imperative piece of the puzzle, and that it all would fall apart without you. Job well done. TC mark

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