I have been fortunate to have worked at the top and bottom of the spectrum of job ranks — from being a managerial assistant to the CEO both on a country and regional level, to the assistant to aVice President, a CFO and now a Senior Vice President for HR. I have worked with multiple bosses and have had the chance to handle people under me.
It appears to me that most people, more so those without assistants, tend to underestimate the skills involved in being the right hand person of a senior executive. Some still hold the antiquated view of an assistant who just types and does purely clerical work. It’s so sad that sometimes, others fail to see that there might actually be a talented person behind the friendly voice that answers the boss’s phone, or who agrees to wait for your faxed document to come in.
As I had written in a previous post here, there was a time when there was a Senior Generalist who was rather surprised at my fluency for contracts — I did not bother to tell her I had a legal background. It’s something I’ve learned to take in stride. Moving to another part of the world and starting a new life means making certain adjustments, one of the biggest of which is having to deal with suddenly being “one of the minions” instead of being one of the bosses.
I’ve managed to deal with that by taking it all in as part of the challenge of assimilating. After all, New York City has a mayor who actually prides himself in taking the subway to work everyday. And that’s a billionaire who decided he could try and help New York City out by spending his own money for his campaign and trying to imbibe the city’s bureaucracy with his business savvy. Of course there is a neverending debate about his efficacy as the leader of this great city, but I’m not complaining. (I didn’t get to vote but I would’ve voted for him anyway..)
Wouldn’t it be nicer if people actually took the time to get to know others before judging them to be limited to a certain stereotype given their job description. Sadly, many are severely handicapped by their narrow perception of people. You’d think that in a place like New York City, people would be broad minded enough to give others the so-called benefit of the doubt. I guess not.