“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”
--- Douglas Adams

Monday, December 17, 2012

Adminning - Book Review


Last week or so I was having a conversation with someone about the profession of Administrative Assistant. I started walking out of the room when she said that she knew all about how to be someone's assistant because she spent a summer answering phones, then wished I were walking faster when she ended with stating that career admins have no ambition to be or do anything else. Clearly I was speaking to someone who didn't know what she was talking about.

I'm an Executive Assistant. I know it's hard work. I know it takes the ability to be resourceful, adaptable, helpful, crafty, diplomatic, secretive and efficient. I also know that sometimes it's a thankless job. An Assistant's job is to make the Executive look good. Think of a duck. A duck looks peaceful and at ease above the water, but under the water its legs are moving furiously to get from  point A to point B. The Executive is the duck on top of the water. The Assistant is the duck under the water.

The person I was talking to was only seeing the top part of the duck and had no interest in learning about what was under the water.

Continuing with my theme of reading books that were turned into popular movies, I just finished reading The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger. I enjoyed it. Unlike the last book I read (Forrest Gump), I liked the book a lot better than the movie.

The book is about a young woman named Andrea who recently graduated from college. She wants to be a writer. She takes an admin job at a fashion magazine in the hopes that working as an EA for the editor in chief of the magazine will be the most excellent resume fodder in the world and will be her ticket to her getting any writing job she wants.

The job is a soul-sucking job that she hates. Her boss asks her to do all sorts of crazy things like finding a recipe for that one dessert at a restaurant she really liked last week or researching how many ears of corn grow on a stalk intended for commercial sales, or locating a lost laptop left behind with the TSA at airport security, or get a table for 7 at French Laundry for the day after tomorrow (wait, those last 3 things are things I've done in my current job, the answer for the corn is "one" by the way). The difference between her and me is that I work for pretty nice people, the woman in the book worked for a mean mean person.

In the end she quit her job by telling off her boss, and yes, working for this woman made for fantastic resume fodder and it opened tons of doors.

I can't imagine working for someone as mean as the boss in the book but I did sympathize with the character Andrea. I totally rooted for her and I cheered her on the whole way through.

I didn't like her friends in the book. I thought the movie characters were better.

Overall, I liked it.

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