In difficult economic times, employers are always finding ways to save money. Unfortunately, one of the first suggestions that “efficiency experts” or accounts make in these kinds of situations is to get rid of a personal assistant or executive assistant because they are deemed as a luxury, not a necessity.
Although studies support the fact that world-class executive assistants save CEOs time and money, the bottom line is that payroll expenses are always going to be a target for cutbacks because it’s always the largest of a company’s expenditure.
There are ways, though, that personal assistants can prevent themselves from being a casualty of downsizing:
Always be a team leader, even if it’s not your title. Celebrities and high net worth families often have an Executive Personal Assistant and several subordinate assistants. Even if you don’t have the title, be the one that goes the extra mile. If you assume the position of authority (without stepping on anyone’s toes), then others will recognize you at the “pack leader”. If the employer does eventually make the painful decision to make cuts, they may just keep you, the optimistic team leader.
Make yourself indispensable. Most employees simply do enough just to get by. Make yourself an expert and learn everything you can about your employer’s business/vocation. The more you know, the more valuable you become to an organization. It’s very common in today’s times to combine roles and eliminate redundancy. If, then, you ever are contacted by human resources and asked to write a letter about how you contribute to the organization, you will then be able to provide overwhelming proof that you actually give more than you’re being paid for. In effect, you make your departure nearly impossible.
Practice lateral service. Don’t be the one that says “It’s not my job.” Be a team player and set the example by being the go-to person in your organization. When working with celebrities and billionaires, it’s quite common to be surrounded by sycophants and back-stabbers who are constantly at each other’s throats because they want to be the one who shines for the boss. If you become the glue that holds all the departments together, then you will have alliances with the people who are influential. In short, you can’t get yourself “voted off the island” if everyone loves you.
Get more training. Brush up on your technology skills. Chances are you’re not up-to-date with all the latest gadgets. You never want to be in the position of being out-shined by someone with lessor tenor than you have.