Executive Assistant Salary Range

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Sharron in Long Beach, California

84 months ago

What are the tasks for Executive assistants and what is the current salary range? Does the job that I did for 9+ years have a new job title, i.e., project manager? I have just been terminated from a job that lasted only 10 months - "restructuring/down-turn in sector" and what I am finding advertised for Executive Assistant is more like an entry-level job with entry-level pay.

I worked for a company as assistant to all Cs (in concert and separately) for 9+ years. My salary was mid-range for the time and area ($65,000). I did a number of "project" related tasks. I performed investor relations, stock option, public company reporting tasks as a routine part of my job. I did research of various types for the Cs. I planned and executed two major (~$70,000 & $30,000) events each year - and, all the usual, calendar, travel, lunch meetings, too. There was a change in structure and the last of the original Cs retired. The corporate office moved across the country. I had to find a job.

In my new job, I shuffled calendars and answered the phone and set up conference calls - executive assistant. I had to work through lunch or find my own fill-in. The good thing is that I was hourly, now, and paid time and a half for those 10+ hours each pay period. I made $63,000 for the 9 months that I have worked there. On Thursday, due to the current economic situation in the sector, I was terminated as of January 31. I will receive a generous severance pay-out.

Now, I'm looking for a job, again. Executive Assistants are asked to do no-brainer tasks or are asked to accept $45,000 for similar tasks that I performed in my 9-year job!

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EA in Seattle, Washington

73 months ago

Yes, you will see alot of EA job postings in that price range. My opinion is that they are not true EA positions. The true EA positions requiring experience supporting C-level executives, with reputable corporations, will pay a much higher salary than what you have mentioned. Do not accept the lower paying position. You will regret it very much. Be patient and wait for the right position.

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AmyEvans in Vernon Hills, Illinois

72 months ago

Sharron in Long Beach, California said: What are the tasks for Executive assistants and what is the current salary range?
Hi, Sharron in CA, don't come to Chicago,, it is the same here .. and good luck.. you sound like a typical senior administrator who is frustrated with the evolution of the adminsitrative role combined with a tight job market. I could write a book.. but won't bore you to death on details and analysis you sound like you already know. Just try to remain positive... it's the same from California to NY..the market is bad. Do stay far away from the $45K jobs.. they will only sustain your frustration. Also, be aware of the higher paying jobs ===given today's market, if they are open, make certain you ask "WHY".. don't jump in out of desperation... do your research and be careful...if you can. If not, then you need to develop a strategy..based upon your individual immediate needs versus long term needs/goals, and then probe the current market from what is out there. If you want to call me.. I'm home for the holidays and would be happy to share with you my experiences.. I, too, am in the job search market ...looking for the same type of position you are. It helps to have others advice... I have a network of senior administrators that I share with and that keep me "steady". Good luck, in any case.. keep looking.. Amy in Chicago, IL

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Sharron Lewis-Watts in Huntington Beach, California

72 months ago

Thanks so much for your replies and for sharing your experiences. I posted the initial comment during the second waves of WaMu lay-offs (2007-8). Since then, I was hired by a State of California entity! I thought that I had found the perfect, secure position. At the end of six months I was unemployed, again - with no severance. Being unemployed twice in a year's time left me without a financial cushion. I had to move in with my daughter and granddaughter. I'm not certain if those two short-term jobs have changed the perception of potential employers, but I have been in my current job search for 4 months. And, prospects are diminishing, not improving! I am now looking for part-time, temporary, $15/hour positions - anything. I have applied for receptionist postions and straight administrative assistant positions. No one at the EA level is going to leave a position in this market! As proof, on Friday, I worked a scheduled 1/2 day (admin asst) of what was to be a temp - possibly to perm - 3-4 month position at a substantial firm. I had interviewed with the manager and a temp agency. However, the admin decided not to take a new postion and to remain in her current position. I might add - in full disclosure - that my age probably plays a factor. (This is Southern California!) In the new year, my plan is to focus on temp jobs and to pursue them with several agencies.

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AmyEvans in Vernon Hills, Illinois

72 months ago

Thanks, Sharron: I am very sorry for your plight. Unfortunately our age factor is probably an issue.. I'm the same way.. have interviewed for every top position in Chicago, and am realizing that although my resume gets me in the door and I get great responses..and interviews... they always end up with someone younger, less experience )what really sucks ... more money! I'm in the *85K range in my current job and holding on like you'd never believe...While that sounds like wow.. I am a single professional and it's tough to live on that money in Chicago.. I budget and budget and budget. The only jobs being advertised here are the ones for $45K and below... so it's doubly hard for me...knowing that's what is out there.
Anyway... Temp to perm still does seem a good way to go.. I have a friend in NY that commands high salarys and wonderful C-Level positions... NYC... $90K and above.. she just started temp to perm with a small firm.. this past week after looking and falling thru two other positions since April 2008. So you are not alone... it is a tough market.. I think there will be more of a wave of families moving intogether... it's only going to be worse come January... the new administration still looks determined to implement their tax hikes in order to pay for the health care programs and education programs they are determined to put in place. We may be headed for a real depression...and that is going to be devastating... no one will be safe. My 29 year 0ld son lives with me.. since he finished college 5 years ago. He tried to live in an apartment on his own the first year.. acutally started at WaMu (funny) and then finally settled into a company that last week filed for bankruptcy (he's been there shy of 5 years). He tranisition away for corporate america and began a 3-year quest to become a fireman and paramedic. It's taken just three years to make the transition.. he started his new CITGO Oil company Fireman job last week. Lucky.
Keep Positive. Am

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Anne in San Juan Capistrano, California

72 months ago

Sharron Lewis-Watts in Huntington Beach, California said: Thanks so much for your replies and for sharing your experiences. I posted the initial comment during the second waves of WaMu lay-offs (2007-8). Since then, I was hired by a State of California entity! I thought that I had found the perfect, secure position. At the end of six months I was unemployed, again - with no severance. Being unemployed twice in a year's time left me without a financial cushion. I had to move in with my daughter and granddaughter. I'm not certain if those two short-term jobs have changed the perception of potential employers, but I have been in my current job search for 4 months. And, prospects are diminishing, not improving! I am now looking for part-time, temporary, $15/hour positions - anything. I have applied for receptionist postions and straight administrative assistant positions. No one at the EA level is going to leave a position in this market! As proof, on Friday, I worked a scheduled 1/2 day (admin asst) of what was to be a temp - possibly to perm - 3-4 month position at a substantial firm. I had interviewed with the manager and a temp agency. However, the admin decided not to take a new postion and to remain in her current position. I might add - in full disclosure - that my age probably plays a factor. (This is Southern California!) In the new year, my plan is to focus on temp jobs and to pursue them with several agencies.

I'd be interested in hearing what you come back with from the agencies.

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Sharron Lewis-Watts in Huntington Beach, California

72 months ago

Anne,so far, Kimco has been the only agency to offer me a position (the 1/2-day plus 3-4 month position that was aborted). The Kimco (on-site) agent thinks that another position (data entry) might be an opportunity for me. She will present my resume to the manager in January. HB Staffing in Huntington Beach is interested in my resume and I will meet with them in January. I really don't want to try Apple One but the more agencies the better the potential for continuous employment. I am not expecting more than $20/hour and cannot accept less than $15! I am thinking that I will research offering transcription and word processing or stock option processing as a contract employee.

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Candice Townsend in Fox Island, Washington

72 months ago

I am so glad I found this thread. I am feeling the same way now. I have been an EA for 3.5 years. Moved from Atlanta to Gig Harbor, WA and took a job with a new executive. There is no structure here, he has never had an EA before and I am becoming everyon's assistant at 45k a year! I expected to start a little low but am growing quite frustrated that I am responsible for such a high load and everyone is allowed to ask what they want of me. How do I establish boundaries???

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Sharron Lewis-Watts in Huntington Beach, California

72 months ago

I was having this conversation with someone today. EA - all support, really - is not respected as a position with defined responsibilities any longer. Support staff is hired with an open-ended job description. The position responsibilities that I am reading are those that were covered by four people in my recent long-term position. In order to keep executives in their slots with those 6-figure salaries and the many additional benefits in this job market/economy, and since there are no longer the middle manager level positions (having been eliminated in the last downturn), the solution is to cut support positions and hire someone to whom you give a senior-level title and from whom you require all the support work. Then you pay them what you would have paid the lowest paid position that you eliminated.

New execs are the worst. They have no experience, don't understand what an EA offers, and are afraid to set boundaries. Initially, I would attempt to have this conversation with your direct report. Possibly approach it as if you are concerned that you will not be able to support him/her as he/she should be with all the other requests for your attention. It's worth a try.

Good luck!

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Candice Townsend in Silverdale, Washington

72 months ago

Thanks Sharon. You are absolutely correct about him being afraid to set boundaries. Since I have supported execs in the same industry before, it is frustrating to me when others continue to ask me to do this/that for them that they are supposed to be doing. Not only that but my boss does not seem to care that they are doing this. I think I need to read a book on assertiveness and establishing boundaries. I am naturally a helper- thats why I do what I do and I am really good at what I do.....which is why I think everyone comes to me. They know I will do it and do it well. I am going to start saying no more often. It's tricky though in a family owned business full of nepotism. Live and learn I guess ...and ask for a big raise at the end of the year ;-)
Thanks.

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EA in Seattle, Washington

72 months ago

Candice Townsend in Fox Island, Washington said: I am so glad I found this thread. I am feeling the same way now. I have been an EA for 3.5 years. Moved from Atlanta to Gig Harbor, WA and took a job with a new executive. There is no structure here, he has never had an EA before and I am becoming everyon's assistant at 45k a year! I expected to start a little low but am growing quite frustrated that I am responsible for such a high load and everyone is allowed to ask what they want of me. How do I establish boundaries???

You should never have accepted a job for $45k if you have a genuine Executive Assistant background. (I say "genuine" because a lot of jobs want to use that title, but pay only Admin or Clerk salaries.) Once you accept the job for $20k less than you should be earning, it can cost you for the rest of your life. You know that each new job asks what your salary was on your last job, then they base your value on that.

Craigslist...for the most part lists the lowest jobs on the market. You may occassionally find a good job there, but most of the best jobs will not be found on craigslist. (I've even had a recruiting manager tell me that the weakest resumes they received were via craigslist.)

I'm a firm believer in don't accept less than you're worth. Be confident. Do what you have to do in the interim, but do not accept a regular position for less. You'll never catch up to the salary you should have been at, and you'll hate your job for being under-paid.

Good luck.

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AmyEvans in Vernon Hills, Illinois

72 months ago

HI, Candice in FOx Island, Washington... Wow.. first may I congratulate you on the beautiful part of the country you have relocated to. I am Amy from Chicago, and about 11 years ago to this day made the transition from the east coast to the mid west... for business. I relocated with a fabulous company and a great salary, relo and sign on bonus (6 figures). Within 8 months, the company downsized and although well compensated, I was left alone to forge for myself without family, friends or business contacts. Ugh.
The writer that advised you not to take a job for 45K is correct.. although 45K for that area isn't the pitts and as you have only been an executive assistant for 4 years.. that isn't really too bad. ALthough there is some truth in the salary leverages the type of support to be rendered (skill set and expectations tend to be commisurate with salary). If you can live on the money, and you have stepped into something that you really don't see a future in or are unhappy with (then keep your job, and look elsewhere, and chalk it down to experience. Having said all that.. the job market, as you know isn't that great.. but what is always hopeful in the Exectuive Assistant world is, that there is movement.. lots of it.. and where there is movement, there are opportunities... the job you are in may be what it is. face it, make a decision, KEEP IT, and start quietly putting out feelers... watch the local news, read the local business sections, see what's new coming and get your one-page introductory cv in front, before the jobs are posted. If you are new to the area.. check out local corporations (that may have a true Executive Assistant position) and see what is moving within the company. It is normally 8-10 hours a day looking for a job--so good luck. during inter, make certain you "feel" out the situation, and if it looks like a duck, then don't kid yourself, it IS a duck. Don't be desperate, just take time. Keep your current job up to date. Amy

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Charlene-O in San Diego, California

72 months ago

Hi, Candice. I feel for you. I grew up in Bremerton/Silverdale area and even though I would have stayed after completing my BA from WWU, there were no good paying jobs. I moved to the Seattle area, got some valuable experience (also not paid well) and now I live in San Diego. Even though I earn $80k + stock options as Exec. Administrator to CEO, the industry I work in (Biotech) is sliding downhill and my job could easily disappear in a year. Were I to move back to the NW, I would expect to take a cut down to $45-50k (or less) as that area has NEVER paid well and there is plenty of competition for the few jobs that do. Really depressing...even in San Diego, most Exec. Assistant jobs pay $65k or less. My advice is to take on what diverse responsibilities you can, work that into your resume and move up and on every 2-3 years. Also, prioritize what the CEO needs and only promise others you will help as your time allows. When you have extra time, pick only those tasks that will help you round out your job skills. For menial requests simply smile apologetically and say "you're going to have to take a number..." Let them frequently know the more important tasks you are working on so they understand that you are not an office assistant, but rather a high level contributor. Most other execs are "fishing" and trying to see what they can get you to do for them and just need some boundaries placed. Most will not even question you when you tell them "____(fill in CEO name) really has me tied up right now..." Be sweet, apologetic, but firm. This goes over well, since you aren't being arrogant in your dismissal.

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Candice in Gig Harbor, Washington

72 months ago

Thanks Charlene. I really appreciate your thoughts and perspective on this. I have begun pushing back on doing for others and it is working. If I said yes to everything asked of me, I would never leave the building.

Charlene-O in San Diego, California said: Hi, Candice. I feel for you. I grew up in Bremerton/Silverdale area and even though I would have stayed after completing my BA from WWU, there were no good paying jobs. I moved to the Seattle area, got some valuable experience (also not paid well) and now I live in San Diego. Even though I earn $80k + stock options as Exec. Administrator to CEO, the industry I work in (Biotech) is sliding downhill and my job could easily disappear in a year. Were I to move back to the NW, I would expect to take a cut down to $45-50k (or less) as that area has NEVER paid well and there is plenty of competition for the few jobs that do. Really depressing...even in San Diego, most Exec. Assistant jobs pay $65k or less. My advice is to take on what diverse responsibilities you can, work that into your resume and move up and on every 2-3 years. Also, prioritize what the CEO needs and only promise others you will help as your time allows. When you have extra time, pick only those tasks that will help you round out your job skills. For menial requests simply smile apologetically and say "you're going to have to take a number..." Let them frequently know the more important tasks you are working on so they understand that you are not an office assistant, but rather a high level contributor. Most other execs are "fishing" and trying to see what they can get you to do for them and just need some boundaries placed. Most will not even question you when you tell them "____(fill in CEO name) really has me tied up right now..." Be sweet, apologetic, but firm. This goes over well, since you aren't being arrogant in your dismissal.

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amyevans47@netzero.net in Vernon Hills, Illinois

71 months ago

Hi, in SanDiego.
Wow, I couldn't have articulated it better myself. Great strategy, candice.. take her advice.

Amy in Chicago

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Executive Assistant in Bellevue, WA

71 months ago

We need to stick together - every one of us! If all top-level, experienced, Sr. Executive Assistants refuse to take jobs that offer a salary less than we're worth, we can force employers to pay us what we're worth. There is strength in numbers. Start a movement! All EA's unite. Employers will learn that they get what they pay for! No one accept a top-level EA position for less than $60k absolute minimum!!

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Executive Assistant in Bellevue, WA

71 months ago

Charlene, you are wrong - I'm happy to say too. Because I guarantee you don't have to accept an EA job for $45k in the Seattle area. Those truly are the low-level, everday run-of-the-mill positions. Why would you say that is all you expect to get? Of course, you can take the first job that comes along with a $45k salary, but you know you will live to regret it. Your next position following that...do you think they will be willing to pay you $20k or more than your last job? I don't think so. I believe it is a big mistake to think you can take a low-paying position and replace it with a decent paying position. You have to work your way back up again...as in 'years' not skills. Is it worth it? You're literally throwing away hundreds of thousands of dollars over the remainder of your working life.

Unite EA's. Don't accept less. Don't demean the position. You know how much value we add in our posts. Don't settle. Don't throw in the towel.

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amyevans47@netzero.net in Vernon Hills, Illinois

71 months ago

hi, everyone.. standards are nice.. but I find them unrealistic.. I have been a professional high-profile / chief of staff for almost 35-years.. six figures...

I want to point out to you..that today's job market is changing and very different.. especially for support administrative roles, and even though one can hold out for a good/even decent job .. it might take years {and then I might also point out from experience as one who has had many great opportunities) given things outside of our control they collaspe or change or disappear...exactly what Candice and Sharon elude to... I've been there and done that.
.. the "at will" contract is still in force and probablly will always be in force.
I like reality... Assess your needs, never slam a window ...holding out until one is over 50 or 60 is almost hopeless.. we do need to unite.. but unite realistically.. if you need a job.. for the income, then "higher ideals" and "standards" don't keep a roof over your head.. or food on the table. don't mean to be preachy.. but do what's best for you. Just know that 45K$ are always going to be a certain level of expectation. If you take one.. do so with realistic views. Don't be a doormat and please everyone.. demand respect ... stay firm and professional and don't complain or talk about it. EA days are over.. There are some positions out there.. but so much competition that it is very difficult.. timing, luck and endless hope.. and then MAYBE you will find something. Keep your job.. quietly look around.. when it comes time to explain the low salary, develop a one liner for the interview ... saying you had to take a position given your current financial status or something like that.. and then interview for the level you are used to.. it's approx. 70K and up in Chicago.. these days.. Only if you have a job (whatever it is worth) can you say no.. and keep looking.. It works.. For me, I'm ready to get out.. 35 yrs apologizing for my profession is enough!

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Charlene-O in San Diego, California

71 months ago

I agree. It's really a simple case of supply and demand. Areas that have larger, richer and public companies are going to pay higher. I was feeling for Candace, because Gig Harbor is a small and somewhat isolated place, hence not as many high paying opportunities. For myself, moving to San Diego was the best thing I could have done. Not only is the weather fabulous all year around, but the job opportunities were just so much more numerous. If you are at the top of your game and have the years of experience, your chances are of course much much higher of getting another well paying job. EA in Bellevue also has a better chance as Bellevue is a top notch, tech friendly town and always considered creme de la creme wealthy area (just across Lake Washington from Seattle).

I recently saw an ad for a top notch Executive Assistant in NYC and the starting pay was $130k - again economics at play. Higher cost of living = higher pay. A high density of public or wealthy private companies in industries that are more recession proof = higher pay. This current economic downturn will gobble up many of these jobs, so do some research around your town to find well-off companies and find ways to get your foot in the door.

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Perplexed

71 months ago

Your comments are all interesting. Most EAs where I work don't do any true brain work, have high school degrees, and are paid nearly double what I earn with multiple advanced degrees. There is a huge amount of stigma and prejudice that keeps women in these types of jobs from advancing into jobs where they really use their brains and earn enough money to live on. I previously worked in a completey different type of role utilizing much more skill and knowledge. It would be amazing to earn $65-80K per year. I earn less than $45K and have been told by a number of external employers than I am quite underpaid. In a tough economy, jumping ship is not the thing to do at this time, yet it's incredibly stressful knowing you have so much more to offer and that you're being held back for all the wrong reasons. Those of you who are EAs and earn $65-100K per year are incredibly lucky--you're earning more than many degreed people who had other plans, but would be thrilled to earn your wages.

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Perplexed

71 months ago

So, how in the world can you demand the wage you want? I have higher level skills than any Sr. EA in my company and I am grossly underpaid at under $45K. I wish I could demand what I want. Are you sure you are worth more than $45K without more than a high school or two-year secretarial degree?

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Sharron Lewis-Watts in Huntington Beach, California

71 months ago

Perplexed, your company sounds like it isn't looking for good people, just those who can occupy desks. I wonder what product/service they provide that they allow/foster such a divisive environment. But, I am not surprised that their EAs are "brainless" - to use your word. Obviously, they are following the path of most inexperienced executives who think that EA is not actually a position with decision-making/altering responsibilities rather one that is a short step above office machinery. Corporate America appears to have successfully floated this assessment. Reread your postings! You are right there with them! But, of course, they don't respect their other employees much, either.

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Perplexed

71 months ago

It sounds like your 9-year position encompassed what an EA role SHOULD be comprised of. Most EA roles that I have observed are basically secretarial roles - maintaining calendars and arranging travel. The only educational requirement is high school. Sadly enough, they get what they pay for and unfortunately, though, this means that less qualified people have been hired into roles for which there should be higher expectations and higher levels of responsibilities, while being overpaid. And people with more skills, experience, and education are paid only half what the less qualified and sometimes incompetent individuals earn. There's something wrong here!

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Charlene-O in San Diego, California

71 months ago

I certainly sense your bewilderment and frustration, and I must say I am curious to know what brought you to this forum if you are engaged completely in a different line of work? You are right about the economy, now isn't really the time to necessarily "jump ship" but it appears you work in a toxic environment. It wouldn't hurt to quietly assess your own skills, update your CV (or resume) and do some recon. on other companies that might value your particular skills more. If you are thinking about switching careers to a higher level executive role, then you will most likely need to move to a larger metropolitan area and pick up MS Office Suite in addition to other skills. If you are currently an engineer or scientist, you can fold those skills into your resume to sell yourself in working for a VP or CSO that heads that type of group. In other words, your particular education and skill set could really benefit you, but keep in mind, you must be personable and someone that the boss knows can keep them in the best light and have their back covered at all times. There is a *strong* personality component to all this as well as brains. Good luck!

Perplexed said: So, how in the world can you demand the wage you want? I have higher level skills than any Sr. EA in my company and I am grossly underpaid at under $45K. I wish I could demand what I want. Are you sure you are worth more than $45K without more than a high school or two-year secretarial degree?

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Katie Stevens in Brooklyn, New York

70 months ago

It's the 21st century and survival of the fittest is the new rule in business. Adaptability is paramount to do more than survive. Stay flexible and thrive.

Years and years ago one could be an EA and was guaranteed a long and lasting career, often moving with ther boss from one firm to another. My Mom was an Executive Secretary up until her retirement in 1995. She worked at a branch bank and made $45K per year.

Her role included opening accounts, providing info to prospective clients, admin detail for the Branch Manager and whatever else was assigned to her. She mentored and trained high school students who came to work under a local co-op program.

The bank was situated in a slum. There weren't any bad attitudes on the staff because of the grim realities they saw each day. It was an eye-opening experience for my Mom.

It was tough but she said it was one of the best jobs she ever had and the Manager was the best boss she ever had.

She got the job starting as a $9 an hour temp when the previous ES was out with a stroke and then never returned to work.

The true worth of a position is not only in how much you're paid but in what kind of a difference you make to the people around you and the community you live in.

You must not define yourself by the job title. A job is something you do not the totality of who you are.

Stop clinging to old expetations and embrace the change. It's frightening but the rigidity I sense here will do you in every time.

It's not about age. It's about staying open minded and going with the flow.

An attitude of "Oh, I don't do that because I'm an EA" will not get you anywhere. Go with the flow and who knows, one of those people you assist may request you for their EA when they get a promotion.

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Sharron Lewis-Watts in Huntington Beach, California

70 months ago

Katie,
Thanks for your posting and for memories of business as it was. The one variable that you did not mention is your mom's boss. He, no doubt, understood the value of your mother's contributions - and, gave her other responsibilities.

I am extrapolating from your anectdote that this was either a privately held bank, a local community bank, or in the very beginning of what is now a mega bank - possibly one that was gobbled by the current acquisition/capital crisis.

I worked for the principal in an architecture firm and moved with him to two companies and three locations. As a result of the "downturn" in the early 90s, all mid-level employees were cut. Only the executives and the lowest level positions remained. I was let go in favor of the receptionist. My boss was let go in favor of two other executives.

That's when small business became obsolete and mega business with obscene executive pay/compensation was born. Or, defined another way, let them eat cake! (And do all the heavy lifting and if they don't like it, they are replaceable.)

The difference in today's workplace compared to your mother's workplace is the total lack of respect and integrity.

By the way, you didn't mention what you do. Do you have any first-hand knowledge or experience in today's work environment? As an EA?

Sharron

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Katie Stevens in Brooklyn, New York

70 months ago

Sharron Lewis-Watts in Huntington Beach, California said: Katie,
Thanks for your posting and for memories of business as it was. The one variable that you did not mention is your mom's boss. He, no doubt, understood the value of your mother's contributions - and, gave her other responsibilities.

I am extrapolating from your anectdote that this was either a privately held bank, a local community bank, or in the very beginning of what is now a mega bank - possibly one that was gobbled by the current acquisition/capital crisis.

I worked for the principal in an architecture firm and moved with him to two companies and three locations. As a result of the "downturn" in the early 90s, all mid-level employees were cut. Only the executives and the lowest level positions remained. I was let go in favor of the receptionist. My boss was let go in favor of two other executives.

That's when small business became obsolete and mega business with obscene executive pay/compensation was born. Or, defined another way, let them eat cake! (And do all the heavy lifting and if they don't like it, they are replaceable.)

The difference in today's workplace compared to your mother's workplace is the total lack of respect and integrity.

By the way, you didn't mention what you do. Do you have any first-hand knowledge or experience in today's work environment? As an EA?

Sharron

It was a British bank that was eventually bought out by several other banks in rapid succession.

You're very right about the changes in business, and yes, that's something I forgot to mention.

From 1992-96 I worked as an Office Manager for the rep office of an Asian regional bank. I did EA work as well as Office Manager work. My desk was one big in-basket but I loved every minute of it. The offices were small and management very personable.

It's different now and to stay afloat you just do what you've got to do.

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Katie Stevens in Brooklyn, New York

70 months ago

Katie Stevens in Brooklyn, New York said: It was a British bank that was eventually bought out by several other banks in rapid succession.

You're very right about the changes in business, and yes, that's something I forgot to mention.

From 1992-96 I worked as an Office Manager for the rep office of an Asian regional bank. I did EA work as well as Office Manager work. My desk was one big in-basket but I loved every minute of it. The offices were small and management very personable.

It's different now and to stay afloat you just do what you've got to do.

From 1997 on I worked in various capacities from Executive Receptionist through Junior Admin.

I'm now working part-time as a Virtual Assistant. I supplement my income by doing light housecleaning. I also perform some janitorial duties in the building where I live as a means to keep my rent lower.

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Sharron Lewis-Watts in Huntington Beach, California

70 months ago

Katie, you must work around the clock! You are absolutely right (and, proof of your statement) that one needs to hold-on and to do everything possible to stay employed (and afloat) in this economic environment. How unfair that it is those who work so hard and obey the rules who are being punished for those who did otherwise.

My hope is that regulation, changing attitudes, and average citizen outrage will force integrity to return to the executive suite and the business culture. Yes, there will always be cheats and thieves but the lack of acquiescence by society should limit those people to the outer fringes.

In the meantime, we can appropriate hope and foster change!

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Katie Stevens in Brooklyn, New York

70 months ago

Sharron: You're right about a need for more supervision in the financial industry. I'd not have thought the same back the 90s when I was an Admin Secy in M&A at a private French bank.

The attitude back then, and to some degree is still present, is that government oversight would hinder creativity and innovation in the way deals are structured. Having worked so closely for Ivy League grads and seeing how they could spin deals into existence, making even drab companies sound stellar and appealing, makes me believe to some degree it is true.

I was at Citigroup after SOX (Sarbannes-Oxley) went into effect and the relationship between banker and support staffer changed. Work procedures became compliance heavy and support staffers had to attend many working lunch presentations that raised awarness of compliance for matters as basic as airline travel and expense reporting.

Endless emails would follow paper interoffice memos all compliance related. I felt as if I was being asked to keep watch like a hall monitor does in grade school. Even if I was now aware of SOX related issues, how could I question every single thing my bankers did? I felt as if Citigroup should've had compliance specialists, or created a group from the admins, who focused on these matters and let the rest of us work closely with our bosses and believe in them and their skills.

I'm not sure if any other industry has fallen out of favor as much as the investment banking sector has but I'm sure there is corruption in other areas as well.

What has done the banker and broker in was that for years the media and public seemed to hold them in awe. It's as if they were wizards who could magically double and triple investment returns. Many who invested in stocks shouldn't have because they never thought "what if I lose?"

It's a gamble and if one cannot sustain the loss they shouldn't go into stocks. Not every banker is bad or unethical. I was always treated fairly.

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Sharron Lewis-Watts in Huntington Beach, California

70 months ago

Katie, it's interesting how a large corporation addressed SOX. Afterall, their behavior was the reason for the development of SOX regulations.

I worked for a mid-cap firm that was run by its founders with a family-owned feel - although publicly held. The officers were very careful about transactions, fearful of running afoul of the SEC, long before SOX became effective. I was responsible for identifying and documenting the procedures for stock option and other stock transactions. However, accounting/management/legal personnel became the SOX team. All documentation and administration were handled by that team.

The impersonal culture of a large corporation often allows a sense of no accountability. However, a more intimate environment encourages a sense of individual accountability. That was certainly my experience with SOX and, in general, at the smaller firm.

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SFpharmTech in San Francisco, California

70 months ago

The best EA jobs are thru employment agencies.

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jg in New York, New York

70 months ago

I worked as an Executive Assistant, at a PR Firm, I backed up three Partners and supported the only other assistant, who worked for the Managing Partner. We had a receptionist, who did just receptionist work. Between the two of us, we did anything from, update presentations, brochures, files, travel arrangements, internal client lists, monthly expenses, contracts, ordered and picked up lunches, set up for client meetings, and anything we were asked to do. As the firm grew, so did the needs. Another assistant was added, in about 4 years, 5 assitants came and left. The smart ones resigned, some were fired. Yes, there were some devious, cut-throat, lazy assistants. The firm at one time had 8-9 partners, all with different temperaments. The assistant who had been with her partner for 13 years resigned, I resigned two months after she left, after I found out, that her replacement, was going to make 18K more than I was being paid. I worked an average of 45-50 hours week, took no religious holidays, did not leave early, was early everyday for work. As this had happened to me once before, when I was given a raise only after the salary of the incoming assistant was accidentally revealed to me. The firm now has 8 assistants, who still complain about doing all the work. My colleague and I did bulk of the work, as the work generated from the Senior Partners offices. I resigned after 7 years. It left a really bad taste in my mouth. On my last day there, I was pulled out of my going away party to work on a contract. I was left working while the other assistants went home. I put in 12 hours of work that day.

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annie451 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

70 months ago

Just going the forum today. I was let go of my EA position in February and have been sending out resumes as I discover open positions. Went to an interview/testing session with a search firm who was looking for an EA to support a corporate CEO. The testing was on a clunky version of Word, ppt and excel. I never heard back on my test results and that's been 10 days ago so I am going to assume they are not interested in me. My question to everyone is: what are they defining as an EA today. My EA position was very process oriented: calendar and e-mail management, travel arrangements, outside customer and internal staff meeting arrangements, report compilation. It seems like more and more EA positions are requiring a Bachelor's degree--I only have an Associate's degree in Business Management--and they are looking for EA's that can data mine and put together executive slide presentations and excel pivot tables. In large corporations they have middle management people doing this type of prep for the executive but I think what's happening now is that these middle management positions are gone and they are requiring EA's to fill the void. Let me know what you are seeing out there. Thanks.

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JG in New York, New York

70 months ago

annie451 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania said: Just going the forum today. I was let go of my EA position in February and have been sending out resumes as I discover open positions. Went to an interview/testing session with a search firm who was looking for an EA to support a corporate CEO. The testing was on a clunky version of Word, ppt and excel. I never heard back on my test results and that's been 10 days ago so I am going to assume they are not interested in me. My question to everyone is: what are they defining as an EA today. My EA position was very process oriented: calendar and e-mail management, travel arrangements, outside customer and internal staff meeting arrangements, report compilation. It seems like more and more EA positions are requiring a Bachelor's degree--I only have an Associate's degree in Business Management--and they are looking for EA's that can data mine and put together executive slide presentations and excel pivot tables. In large corporations they have middle management people doing this type of prep for the executive but I think what's happening now is that these middle management positions are gone and they are requiring EA's to fill the void. Let me know what you are seeing out there. Thanks.

Curious to know, if you interviewed in NYC? Ifso, which employment agency. Good Luck!

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Sharron Lewis-Watts in Huntington Beach, California

70 months ago

Annie,

Your experience is familiar. As an EA, I have done all the things that you did as well as research and spreadsheets. However, the tasks that are being listed - and I do mean long lists of tasks - were definitely formerly middle-management responsibilities and those tasks handled by additional support staff in the past.

I, too, am confused by the requirement for a BA or BS. My first response is that a person with a BA/BS is not necessarily qualified to do any EA tasks - and probably has no experience - and, probably wouldn't want an EA position. But, then, I realize that employers can require any level of experience and/or education and get it in today's employment environment.

Will an executive get the support that he/she wants? Probably not; but the middle-management tasks will be handled for much less money and the usual EA tasks will be tacked onto the list of responsibilities for the administrative assistant.

I am applying for AA and receptionist positions; part-time and temporary jobs. When anyone contacts me (and there have been very few contacts), the first question is why and what was my last salary?

As for testing, at my last position Microsoft Office 2007 was used. At the agencies, I found Microsoft Office 2003, some version of 2007, and a version that I didn't even recognize! The credibility of testing is in doubt. Several agencies didn't require testing.

I live in the Los Angeles area. So, my experiences may be slightly unique. However, I have read many of the posts on this forum with similar experiences.

And, by the way, I lived in Bethlehem, PA - but in the mid-70s. We had a restaurant. It is a lovely area.

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Katie Stevens in Brooklyn, New York

70 months ago

Annie: I think what you're going through is common. Middle management really doesn't exist in the same way it did back in the day of say the late 80s-early 90s.

I've seen two trends. One is for the EA to take on responsibilities of an AVP or senior manager but without the title. EAs do stat work and analysis. I've even seen ads for EAs requiring a Series 7 and/or Series 63 certification! Could it be that EAs will also execute trades for their boss? And if someone has a Series 7 &/or 63 wouldn't they prefer to go into business for themselves or to a fin services start-up? Why go to the unrelated level of EA?

I've also seen ads that shout EA wanted but the duties are more of a personal assistant or social secretary. Things like multiple house management, checkbook reconciliation and all that.

To my way of thinking those two roles should not be fused together. I've always thought of an EA as a business professional fulfilling a function related to the profitability of a firm. What a Personal Assistant does can shade into a level of domestic work.

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Sharron Lewis-Watts in Huntington Beach, California

70 months ago

Katie, your experiences are similar to mine. I think that EAs began to find themselves in established positions then being asked to do financial transactions, research, and data organization as well. That was certainly my experience. By the time I left my 9-year position, I was doing the work of the AVP who had become the CAO.

I have refused positions as EA that included personal tasks. People with that kind of money can and should afford a housekeeper or a household manager. One position required that the EA - along with all of the requisite business tasks - reconcile checking accounts, bills, run personal errands, maintain the household, and, are you ready for this, organize and help his fiancee with the wedding!!!! Let's see, aren't there wedding planners? That was a red flag about the man's lack of respect for his EA and his miserly attitude.

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Katie Stevens in Brooklyn, New York

70 months ago

Sharron Lewis-Watts in Huntington Beach, California said: That was a red flag about the man's lack of respect for his EA and his miserly attitude.

Sharron: I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who thinks this way. I think it's also unprofessional and unethical to put a Personal Assistant on the company payroll.

I've been approached to do jobs like this when I go in as a temp Executive Receptonist. These jobs have split persnalities. I'm told "Oh, you'll support a Managing Director and his EA." It sounds great, a good learning opportunity. At one law firm I temped at the EA was so beleaguered by office managements chores and supervision of support staff.

I did the personal work which consisted mainly of balancing the MD's personal checking account and his wife's separate checking account. It was very tedious and the paperwork was often a jumble of receipts and statements that needed to be put in order first.

Shareholders of publicly owned and traded coroporations should raise a fuss about this. I know busy professionals need help staying on track but if they require help outside the office that should be paid out of their pocket.

I always feel like a lackey when put into a situation like that. It's a nether world. Not completely executive level support and in no way rank & file clerical support either. Perceptions by other support staffers can be severe and often they don't want to socilaize at lunchtime. Or if they do it's only to poke around to see if I like it "up there on the mountain top".

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annette in New Delhi, India

70 months ago

Sharron Lewis-Watts in Huntington Beach, California said: Thanks so much for your replies and for sharing your experiences. I posted the initial comment during the second waves of WaMu lay-offs (2007-8). Since then, I was hired by a State of California entity! I thought that I had found the perfect, secure position. At the end of six months I was unemployed, again - with no severance. Being unemployed twice in a year's time left me without a financial cushion. I had to move in with my daughter and granddaughter. I'm not certain if those two short-term jobs have changed the perception of potential employers, but I have been in my current job search for 4 months. And, prospects are diminishing, not improving! I am now looking for part-time, temporary, $15/hour positions - anything. I have applied for receptionist postions and straight administrative assistant positions. No one at the EA level is going to leave a position in this market! As proof, on Friday, I worked a scheduled 1/2 day (admin asst) of what was to be a temp - possibly to perm - 3-4 month position at a substantial firm. I had interviewed with the manager and a temp agency. However, the admin decided not to take a new postion and to remain in her current position. I might add - in full disclosure - that my age probably plays a factor. (This is Southern California!) In the new year, my plan is to focus on temp jobs and to pursue them with several agencies.

hi! is age a barrier in USA? I know it is in India. Can I ask your approximate age? It would really help me to know as I plan to relocate back to USA from India and I am 45! thanks

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Sharron Lewis-Watts in Huntington Beach, California

70 months ago

Age is certainly a barrier in the US, particularly, here, in Southern California. However, 45 YOA is probably a good age range - experienced and viable, lower benefits rate.

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annette in New Delhi, India

70 months ago

thanks Sharron for your response!

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akj in New York, New York

70 months ago

Sadly, age, looks etc. are a barrier. I got a call from a really big agency, said they liked my work experience, told me they had jobs, I met with an agent, she told me not to settle for less money, as I had the experience, spent about 40 minutes, reiterated that they still had good openings, asked me to wait, as she wanted a colleague to meet with me. The colleague came in, I Thanked her for taking the time out to meet me, she told me not to Thank her as they had nothing for me. She spent no more than 60 seconds with me, no questions were asked. I'm 45 years old, have had steady, stable employment, have been told I do not look my age. I had my hair and nails professionally done, wore a suit, speak good english.
Oddly enough, the 2nd lady was in her 50's, not greatly dressed, salt and pepper hair.

I left the interview feeling discriminated against...not sure if it was color, age or looks.

Good luck to all!

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Sharron Lewis-Watts in Huntington Beach, California

70 months ago

Thanks for your post! I was beginning to feel alone and humiliated out here! (not that your experience deserves to be celebrated) I am surprised that you received that response at only 45 YOA.

My last agent/agency interview, the agent was very enthusiastic about my experience, seemed to pay attention, and immediately wanted to submit my resume for a position as the sole support person with one on-site executive (two of us in the office) and several executives who would travel in and out from the corporate office. I would answer the phones; word process including presentations; stock supplies from the local office supplier (and pick them up); arrange travel; order lunches; submit payroll and expense reimbursement; and on and on. The agent was just certain that they would want me. They were offering $17/hr! They had never used a placement agency (I had seen the job posted on Craigslist or Career Builder.). So, they could pay $25/hour to the agency who would pay me $17/hr or they could take someone who applied for the position off the job board and only pay them $17/hr. Hmmmmm? However, when she called to touch base, she had forgotten who I was and what job - she thought it was jobs - she had discussed with me. I haven't heard from her since.

I, too, did professional hair color, manicure/pedicure; presented myself in professional attire. But, that became too expensive. Other than having professional hair cuts, I have to maintain a one-color, Target hair color and I maintain my own nails/nail color. I have been no more successful having done it the former or the latter.

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Annette in New Delhi, India

70 months ago

Sharron Lewis-Watts in Huntington Beach, California said: Thanks for your post! I was beginning to feel alone and humiliated out here! (not that your experience deserves to be celebrated) I am surprised that you received that response at only 45 YOA.

My last agent/agency interview, the agent was very enthusiastic about my experience, seemed to pay attention, and immediately wanted to submit my resume for a position as the sole support person with one on-site executive (two of us in the office) and several executives who would travel in and out from the corporate office. I would answer the phones; word process including presentations; stock supplies from the local office supplier (and pick them up); arrange travel; order lunches; submit payroll and expense reimbursement; and on and on. The agent was just certain that they would want me. They were offering $17/hr! They had never used a placement agency (I had seen the job posted on Craigslist or Career Builder.). So, they could pay $25/hour to the agency who would pay me $17/hr or they could take someone who applied for the position off the job board and only pay them $17/hr. Hmmmmm? However, when she called to touch base, she had forgotten who I was and what job - she thought it was jobs - she had discussed with me. I haven't heard from her since.

I, too, did professional hair color, manicure/pedicure; presented myself in professional attire. But, that became too expensive. Other than having professional hair cuts, I have to maintain a one-color, Target hair color and I maintain my own nails/nail color. I have been no more successful having done it the former or the latter.

Please dears don't hold that against yourselves.Remember beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.In India focus is definitely on looks n age primarily but I believe it is also definitely on what and how you exude during the initial meeting. Chemistry also matters. Im tryin desperately to hold on to my 'high spirits' as I'm.

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Veronica102 in Las Vegas, Nevada

66 months ago

EA in Seattle, Washington said: You should never have accepted a job for $45k if you have a genuine Executive Assistant background. (I say "genuine" because a lot of jobs want to use that title, but pay only Admin or Clerk salaries.) Once you accept the job for $20k less than you should be earning, it can cost you for the rest of your life. You know that each new job asks what your salary was on your last job, then they base your value on that.

Craigslist...for the most part lists the lowest jobs on the market. You may occassionally find a good job there, but most of the best jobs will not be found on craigslist. (I've even had a recruiting manager tell me that the weakest resumes they received were via craigslist.)

I'm a firm believer in don't accept less than you're worth. Be confident. Do what you have to do in the interim, but do not accept a regular position for less. You'll never catch up to the salary you should have been at, and you'll hate your job for being under-paid.

Good luck.[/QUOTE

What about people who are almost done with their degree in Business Administration and looking for a stable job? Sometimes you don't get to choose as you have to settle for less to salvage a decent living and support oneself. My parents are not helping me financially and this offer was perfect as I need experience in an office environment and it helps pay the bills.
What is your point of view on this?

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Annette in New Delhi, India

65 months ago

I believe sometimes circumstances force us to make 'adjustments' in our career options. I was working for almost 10 years in USA in my husband's company (clothing business)as ....well....everything....i was packing cartons, making invoices, doing reference checks, handling accounts receivables, handling production and quality control, sales and merchandising, order processing, customer relations etc. in short, a Senior Operations Manager. When I separated from him and came back to India, I got the first job offer, that of an Executive Secretary to the Ambassador of a Diplomatioc Mission(Embassy) in New Delhi and I accepted as I had to fend for myself and then 3 toddlers! Somehow the tag stuck and I continued working as an EA for multinational companies. Didn't do too badly as I managed to support 4 of us on my salary alone, without a penny from their father/my husband. Btw, my husband never gave me a penny of my salary in USA either, as he would get the salary checks endorsed in his favor! So I left him with just the clothes on my back! Like I said, it is all circumstantial!

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Sharron in Huntington Beach, California

65 months ago

Annette, what an excellent move-on and succeed story!

I worked for my husband in our early years; did anything that fell through the cracks. I did receive a salary in most of the businesses (not always) but he reduced his contribution to the household expenses by at least the amount of my check, usually.

When I divorced him - my children were older - I found that no one deemed my work in the family businesses as credible. I became an EA and made a comfortable living until last September.

I have applied to many job listings. I have had several interviews but no job. I surmise that it is difficult to be considered for positions when you have many years of experience; possibly expect suitable salaries; and probably won't consider doing all the jobs that were once held by three additional people while working part-time. But, that doesn't matter. There are much younger candidates who are expecting much less in compensation and who have many more years to remain in a particular position. It appears that experience, skills, knowledge are not the most important criteria.

I hope that my changing course; considering retiring many years earlier than previously planned; and a long-distance move will be the right catalyst for some success at this time in my life.

Are you continuing to work as an EA?

Sharron

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Annette in New Delhi, India

64 months ago

hey, Sharron, thanks for boosting my morale, really need it right now. Firstly, I didn't even get a monthly allowance from my husband for all the years that I remained married to him...just wore clothes off the sample racks and he made sure I was dependent on him even for a gallon of milk! I'm on a sabbatical right now so to speak as jobs aren't that easy here either with my profile n years of experience. I am planning a return to USA that's why I visited this website. My husband and I co-owned 2 properties in NY and NJ from which he kept all the rental amounts. So now that the kids are old enough and in college, I am hoping to sort those matters out. Do let me know if you know a good matrimonial lawyer in NY or NJ. Appreciate any help! Thanks.

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AJ in New York, New York

64 months ago

Annette,
I hope you don't mind me butting in, but attached is a link for Divorce attorney's in the Tri-State Area. You will need an attorney or a firm that practice in both states. It you give some more time, I will be able to send you a list of good attorney's. In the meantime enjoy the Ivana Trump advise column

www.divorcemag.com/NY/

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