Administrative Assistants

By: Paul Anderson

Throughout my career in the corporate world I have came across many administrative assistants (AAs). As a person that has studied behavior and psychology I tend to notice patterns. There are two common patters between AAs.

1. AAs that absolutely love their jobs. (these are rare - I believe I've only met 1 or 2 of them)

2. AAs that hate their jobs but feel trapped for various reasons: Lack of education, experience, confidence, and/or skills.

This article will be focusing on group 2. Why do AAs hate their job but remain in the position for many years? How can one they do something to their distaste for so long without making a change? From my experience in career coaching these individuals I've noticed that they mostly have one or more of these issues. (These aren't only common in AAs by the way)

1. Self Worth: AAs along as many others typically suffer from self-worth issues. They don't feel worthy of other higher-paying position. They commonly complain about respect issues but don't stand up for themselves because inside they somehow believe it's their fault.

2. Limiting Beliefs: AAs have limiting beliefs about the job market. They feel that in order to land another position they need more education, experience, and/or skills. While a typical counselor would say that this is true I disagree with them. I have personally met many individuals that didn't have the education, background, experience, skills and were employed in higher-paying positions. By the way we all reach this belief somewhere in our career lifetime. At what point in your career are you going to believe this to be true?

3. Internal Conflicts / Fear: AAs typically suffer from lots of internal conflicts. Part of them wants to leave the position for something better; part of them says they need this job for security. They also have fears of success, failure, disappointment, etc. According to Tony Robbins (America's Peak Performance Coach) we'll do more to avoid pain than to gain pleasure. This is a classic example. These individuals have associated so much pain to the outside world that prevents them from taking action toward their true wants.

4. Poor strategies: AAs that do market themselves to higher paying positions tend to use poor job searching strategies. Looking at their resumes they tend to highlight what was important in their previous role but not what might be important in the new role. They also get attached to their previous experience and don't tend to answer the interviewers' questions from the new role's point of view.

5. Peer group: AAs typically hang around and relate to other AAs. The job boards they use for job searching consists of other AAs. The one problem with this strategy is that they reinforce each other's limiting beliefs. When they do that enough times they start to generalize the world differently that has a lot of self-imposed limitations. Beliefs define the boundary of what we think is true or not. In order for one to advance to the next level they have to give up their limiting beliefs and start adopting new beliefs that are supportive of their new goals.

By the time they contact me they are in a state of pure frustration. Their hopes are gone and the world is over. My job is to identify what is the root cause of their issue. The process we do to discover this is through a process we call detailed personal history.

Here are some answers to how a performance coach might deal with the issues mentioned above:

1. Self worth: There issues are created by negative emotions attached to significant experiences. In psychology we call these Significant Emotional Experiences or S.E.Es. These experiences are different for each person, that is to say, something that might be a S.E.E to you is not at all important to person B. S.E.Es are created throughout our lifetime, however S.E.Es related to self-worth are typically created throughout childhood. It can be caused by parents, teachers, family members, friends, society, negative experiences, etc. When a S.E.E occurs to an individual (parent saying you're not good enough, kids ignoring you in school, failing at a sport or an event, etc) the nervous system experiences pain (i.e. anger, fear, depression, guilt). Our unconscious mind serves a very important role in our survival - that is to protect us. As we're not ready to deal with the emotions during the event they are stored in memories as trapped energy. Until we deal with the emotions they will continually affect our direction in life. These emotional sacks are created to protect us from experiencing the pain; basically they play a survival mechanism. However years later they are shaping who we are today by having us play small and take less risks. In this context this survival mechanism works against us. What coaches do is identify the major S.E.Es and release the negative emotion from the event via various techniques. One technique I like in particular that works amazingly fast is called Time Empowerment Techniquesâ„?. Via Time Empowerment Techniquesâ„? we are able to break the gestalt and release the client from the negative emotions. The end result is a happy camper that follows what they want instead of avoiding what they don't want. The issue of worthiness tends to disappear as well. We reinforce this with a few follow up sessions and the issue of self-worth is gone.

2. Limiting Beliefs: Beliefs in general are caused by various sources (society, friends, school, environment, work, parents, etc). Beliefs determine whether we can or can't do something. Beliefs determine whether something is true in our model of the world. We call them limiting beliefs when they stop serving the client in achieving their goals. Beliefs shape our behavior; they limit what results we'll produce. For example someone hired at a minimum wage salary will perform within the boundaries of their belief system. Their view of the world, their actions, their behaviors are on a different realm than say an executive at a major company. These people see the world differently and therefore take different actions. These actions ultimately lead them to different pathways and therefore they achieve different results in life. A self-made wealthy person rarely makes his long-term fortune by pure chance. He has different beliefs about finances that give him the ability to make different choices ultimately leading him to becoming wealthy. Beliefs can be changed via various methods. One particular method I use is called Quantum Linguistics. Using this technique we're able to confuse the conscious mind and help the client realize the self-imposed belief. We then install a new belief that is aligned with their long-term plan.

3. Internal conflicts: Internal conflicts are also caused by S.E.Es (Significant Emotional Experiences). Very similarly our unconscious mind acts to protect the client by creating a part within the nervous system. This part has the function of protection and/or survival. While temporary parts are OK, they don't serve the client long-term and create internal conflicts. Under extreme circumstances parts can create multiple personalities within the individuals. We use a process called parts integration to dissolve the part and create a whole client. Once this process is complete the client gets a sense of total congruency and feels free inside. Their decisions are no longer second guessed and the client experiences total oneness with self.

4. Poor strategies: Getting a good offer from an employer requires great sales skills. From prospecting, interviewing, to salary negotiation is all about selling. My typical experience with AAs is that they don't feel strongly about this subject or avoid it altogether. They might have mixed emotions about selling and/or marketing. Through the process of Time Empowerment Techniqueâ„? and Parts Integration we resolve the negative emotion and inner conflict. We then teach them advanced selling skills. I've had great success with these methods and the results have been phenomenal.

5. Peer group: There is saying that your income is in direct proportion to the top 10 people you spend your most time with. Psychologically this makes perfect sense. Our beliefs about what is possible are constantly changing through our own or other's experiences. Choosing a great peer group is absolutely vital to your long term career success. They will shape your beliefs and help empower you to take the next steps. Also they possess an enormous amount of experience through trial and error and can help you get to your destination faster.

In order for AAs to increase their salaries they need to address the 5 issues above. Once these are addressed typically AAs get offers for positions such as Program/Project Management, Business Analyst, Technology, etc.

Careers and Job Hunting
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