There are many instances on an everyday basis when I feel like the universe is trying to tell me something, or has told me something from out of the blue — literally.
For instance, I sit down across from the boss expecting the worst for my performance review and instead hear a glowing and heartening appraisal acknowledging all my efforts the previous year. And this takes place when I’m actually considering an opportunity that knocked on my door just a few days earlier for a bigger and better role that found me, something I had not sought out.
It’s one of those calls from nowhere that suddenly has you sitting up and gets you all excited — then you pause a while and ask if it’s actually something you want to go for. It’s the second in the last 12 months — but this is a more concrete possibility.
The first time was an offer in jest from the head of our Asian operations. The prospect of working in Hong Kong and commuting to Manila on the weekends was doable, but home is New York, so that was that.
This new opportunity, though, found its way to me via my web presence through a professional network online. I did a preliminary screening which, I am sure, will be the first of half a dozen others if I’m lucky to make it to the next step. It’s a major opening to serve as Executive Assistant to someone on top of a huge organization, which means working on my toes and really giving the job 110% again. Given where I am at which is just a few notches below that one beckonging me, I have settled down to a more relaxed pace which is not exactly a walk in the park, but which puts me in a position where I can do my job with my eyes closed.
Perhaps it’s also because I’ve sort of mastered the art of fading into the background, and I’ve succeeded in curbing my tendency to volunteer my time and talent for tasks beyond my job description. It helps me to control my frustration about the job by knowing I am working within the scope of what I’m being paid for. I know I should be grateful. I did an online survey of salaries for my position, and it was not at all heartening to find out that I’m on the higher end of the scale given the economy and the general work environment in the country today. It was like a bop in the head from the universe telling me “Be grateful you’re where you’re at.” And I did get a raise, no matter how miniscule an amount it might be, it should help me cover the increase in commuting costs — I think.
Which brings me back to the question of the hour — do I really want to start working like a horse again? And yet there’s a voice whispering that it wouldn’t hurt to look at a bigger opportunity for me. It might mean working harder, but it will definitely be a leap in terms of income opportunity. That being said, it means dressing up to the hilt again. Not that I’ve dressed down because I really cannot do it on the Executive Floor, but it has meant not being in a suit 5 times a week. There are days when I can get away with a sweater or a sweater and cardigan ensemble.
It’ll mean long hours again, although the principal seems to be a corporate jetsetter which might mean less pressure the days when he is in another part of the world, but the current boss is out of the country at least once every month now. And my current 8:30am-6pm (give or take a half hour) days are not exactly regular working hours as it is.
During my performance review, I told my current boss that I chose to be an Executive Assistant as a “quality of life” choice. He says he thinks that they are under-utilizing my talents and I sense he feels I might be getting bored where I’m at. He did acknowledge that I’m very good at what I do. After a rocky start, we have gotten down to a nice rhythm that sees us laughing more and navigating moods and heavy days better. (His moods, that is — an Executive Assistant is not allowed that leeway.)
I know I’ve just gone through the preliminary screening. I might get dropped even before the next round, or I might not make it to the final screening at all. I just feel these are questions I need to resolve early on so that I don’t find myself with these doubts and second thoughts when I actually go before a decision-maker for a face-to-face interview. I have always considered myself a go-getter, and if I am not in 100%, it will show when I answer their questions.
I’m leaning towards it, but we are always tempted to stay with what is comfortable and easy. And there is the constant challenge that our ego poses to see how far we can go.
I’ve been there, I’ve done that. The last four years have been easier since being in the frontline, and I’ve gotten kind of used to the lighter pace. My most demanding and yet best principal was a highly-accomplished lady executive who used to be in Fortune’s Most Powerful Women list four years in the running. We would still be together had not the universe decided she was better off out of this company. She was a demanding boss, but she was fair and generous. Being with her was the best training an Executive Assistant can have because it sharpened and honed my skills at paying attention to details. That’s the experience I’m banking on to catch their attention for this new opportunity.
I’ve been having a lighter and easier ride the last few years. I wonder if the universe is tryling to tell me I am much better than the me I’ve been bringing to work this past 4 years.
Maybe. Or it might also be telling me I am worth so much more — if only I’d take the chance.
Well, we’ll just have to go wait and see. It’s not exactly in the bag yet. Wish me luck!