Tired of Administrative Assistant jobs!

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Former Admin in Ocoee, Florida

49 months ago

I didn't read the entire thread, so I'm not sure if someone has said this before, but you can break out of admin work, but you've got to be strategic. I did it and you can do it too. Here's what you do.

1. If you are working someplace where you've been a secretary and you are hoping to move up there, know that it is highly unlikely. Once people see you as an admin, it is very difficult for them to see you as anything else. But ... if you can move into a position there that has a different title - even if it has the same admin duties, then take it for a while. The key is to get your organizational skills under a new job title on your resume.

2. If you can't change your title or duties at your current job - or if you are out of a job - make sure your next job has a different title. If you can, don't worry too much about the salary - or even the duties. What you want is the title so that you can get out of admin work for good. Sometimes there are "slash" jobs - like administrative assistant / marketing specialist. Those are great positions because you'll get the title.

3. Scrub that resume to get rid of anything that even seems remotely like an admin assistant (no filing, typing, etc.) If you have to put it on there, emphasize all of the other skills and deemphasize admin stuff. Instead, focus on your organizational and management skills.

And, if you don't want to be treated like an admin - and you go to another job where they try to treat you like one, just don't do that type of work. Don't help people with the copier, make the coffee, don't handle keys of any kind or put yourself in any light where you can be seen as a secretary.

Bit by bit, you'll get out - and that degree will pay off. If you can do some volunteering where you'll get some leadership experience, do that and treat it as a job. That's another quick way to get out.

Don't despair - the hardest part of the battle (degree) is done.

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Kpisme in Augusta, Georgia

46 months ago

I would really like to thank everyone who has commented on this forum. I have been really bogged down for a year plus about being and admin after obtaining my Masters and very close to a proj mgmt certification...And still no leads. I have been here as an Executive Assistant from Admin (not much change in duties just titles) for 5 years and what everyone has said is so true... I am in a box in my current position. My boss definition of job development is finding other areas to do administrative work. I've tried redefining, reemphazing, and reaching out only for it to be short term. The jobs I have applied to angers me when they see my title and not the deliverables when I interview with them. I know I have to be entry level, but even applying for that seems too much. But, reading many of these posts is encouraging to stick to what potential I have not what I see in front of me. Geri, I look forward to reading the books you named. Thanks a bunch.

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kylefruzz in Huntsville, Alabama

40 months ago

Advisor's and Planners usually require both a college degree and certification to be taken seriously. I browse this site lidcombe.financial-planners-sydney.com.au and found some new idea

Analysts need neither and can still prove their worth, they just have to work a little harder at it.

Both require State and Federal Licensing.

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mpdelessio@juno.com in Poway, California

40 months ago

L in Columbia, SC in Columbia, South Carolina said: Is anyone else finding that once you've worked in administrative and clerical positions, that's all employers see you as - no matter what your other potentials may be (i.e., project management, clinical background, event planning, seminar speaking and presentations, trainer, etc.)? A college professor told me that this happens when you don't have a degree, and that bigger and better doors will open when I obtain my degree. How do you break out of the administrative and clerical positions trap when you want higher promotions or career opportunities? I'm not knocking administrative professionals because I am one, but understand that I am trying to branch out and expand beyond typing letters and answering phones. I've actually had a former manager say "Oh, she's just a secretary" to a management candidate that inquired about my position during introductions!

Thanks,
L

Watch the movie Working Girl with Melanie Griffith first for inspiration. Keep in foucs high business ethics and strong integerity so that you don't compromise who you are while building a foundation of trust and loyalty. Then create something that you are passionate about and put it out there. Be creative and use all the highly advanced technological tools that are now available to everyone. Even if you create something in hardcopy and have it printed to dissiminate. Sell yourself and be a walking positive affirmation as if you were the presenting agency representing yourself. Then personally market to different companies. Try marketing yourself wherever you are (i.e. Starbucks, grocery lines, public transportation, etc.) Best Wishes!

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mpdelessio@juno.com in Poway, California

40 months ago

Jonathan in Caledonia, Ontario said: It's nice to know that I am not the only person who feels trapped in the administrative assistant world. I also have an Honours BA degree. For the last 4 years, I have bounced around from one administrative assistant contract position to another at the university I currently work at. Now, my resume is very heavily administrative-based, and I feel like I have cornered myself. I thought this would be a stepping-stone for me, but it seems that employers only see me as an administrative assistant now.

I would like to let everyone here know that this problem is not exclusive to women. I did not even apply to my current job as a receptionist/administrative assistant - I applied to an Intellectual Property Administrator position in the same department. I received a call from the hiring manager that I would not be invited to an interview, and instead she offered me the receptionist position, which is covering a sick leave until the end of the year. I find the job extremely demeaning - some of my many menial tasks involve watering plants and making coffee for executives. My supervisor is by far the worst micro-manager I have come across in the 10 years I have been employed and she treats/speaks to me like I am inferior to her. I know I have to make a drastic career change because being an administrative assistant is not for me at all. Some people enjoy it and I am happy for them, but quite frankly, I find it mind-numbing to the point where I literally feel like a zombie by the end of the day. I'm beginning to feel hopeless...

On the other end of this spectrum ladies, I am college educated without a degree. After a long leave of absence to raise kids, I am attempting to re-enter as an entry-level Assistant willing to take general office/clerical work. After registering with several staffing agencies here in California, I am finding a closed door. They are only hiring college graduates with BA for these jobs

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mpdelessio@juno.com in Poway, California

40 months ago

Wilma said: The folks at the top where I worked was only goal-oriented for their little "pets". I talked my head off trying to get them to see my potentials and what I could do for the company but they put their feet on my neck every time I tried. I took every management and supervisory class they offered. As a matter of fact, they even denied me one of the supervisory classes. I even went back to college and maintained a 3.92 GPA, but I think that made some of them scared that maybe I would take their position when I graduated. In some companies being goal-oriented works, but not in all. And it especially doesn't work when there isn't any fair treatment. Sorry, not ragging but I lost my job in January 2010, because they just didn't want me around anymore. Sometimes your great potential causes you to lose your job, especially in this economy where everyone is back-stabbing everyone else to stay afloat.

I hear what you are saying and it is resinating deeply. These are desperate times and people in places to move potential along are abusing the power they have. Plain and simple, it should be about your ability. Perhaps due to this economy, co-workers/executives are sending networking to a whole new level. Stay focused, keep trying, don't give in or give up. Warmly, and Best Wishes!

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mpdelessio@juno.com in Poway, California

40 months ago

Melissa M in Berkeley, California said: I just realized and need to keep repeating to myself that I deserve much more than administrative work. Not that I'm displeased with my workplace or colleagues, it is actually all-in-all a great place to work. However, as an example of my continuing frustration, I just got back from a week and half long vacation, and knew that as soon as I got back to the office, hardly anyone would be asking about my vacation, and just asking for things that needed to be done. Sure enough, only two people out of a staff of 8 asked how my time was, and then they only had 2 seconds to listen. Then the requests started pouring in.

Mostly, I am very tired of being continually asked to do things. Everyone has a now deadline, and I am in a position that is hard for me to say "not now". I need to keep repeating to myself that I value my skills and knowledge, I am a worthwhile person and deserve to express my talents, and get paid for it! I am interested in a lot of things, mostly art related, and I long to work in a creative, compassionate environment. Change begins from within.

Does anyone else relate?

I can, and this is why I allowed myself to go on permenant leave of absence (in hindsite - HUGE mistake) when my first child was born. As an AA, or employee of any of the clerical fields, there is a deep sense of no or little respect or sincere appreciation for the daily tasks demanded. Sad. This needs to change. Especially when an AA can most likely do the job of the CEO or executive that she works for.

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Officeworker in Corvallis, Oregon

40 months ago

George in Narre Warren, Australia said: I bet half of you girls majored in the humanities.
What did you expect ?

George, I know a woman who has a degree in Engineering, and she works in a call center now. There's no guarantees in this horrid economy. There's nothing wrong with a humanities degree. I think part of the problem are people who seem to think only bean counters are worth hiring. Sure they can crunch numbers, but can they THINK? Can they appreciate anything but spreadsheets? There's more to college than getting a job or being affluent or a yuppie.

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Beth in Claremore, Oklahoma

36 months ago

L in Columbia, SC in Columbia, South Carolina said: A college professor told me that this happens when you don't have a degree, and that bigger and better doors will open when I obtain my degree.
L

Well that is a line of poop! I earned my degree while working as a staff assist/receptionist - not only did my company NOT give me a raise - I took a lateral move - my title is higher - though I make the same amount of money, AND, AND! The person they replaced me with, the one that just has a high school education? Yeah, that one, she makes more than me! Anyways, I found your thread because, I too would like to break out of the admin/clerical and move on to managerial. I wonder, am I too nice? too pretty? too accomodating? What is it I am missing? I have a bachelor degree - though in liberal studies, a very broad degree, and the university made me believe that I could do anything with that degree, though even the same university will not hire me for any position because the degree is not specific, and now they are saying a liberal studies degree is meant as a well-rounded education, to improve your life! I am so hacked off!

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Leyla in Toronto, Ontario

36 months ago

I am looking for an entry level job to gain some experience.as I never really had a job. now I am suffereing from verbal and emotional abuse in my marriage. I have a 25 months old daughter and am pregnant. I want to escape from all of this, get a decent job and take care of my children and ensure a stability for their future. I do not know how to start or where to. I recently finished a course in bank teller and started to send out resumes..but all i get is..we are looking for someone with experience. any advice?! Thank you

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Zuly in Miami, Florida

23 months ago

I'm on the same boat!! Been an Administrative Assistant at a law firm for over 5 years and just can't seem to find any other job. I have my BBA in Management and International Business and now am working on my Master of Science in Human Resource Management. I am in soo much debt and will be in even more when I graduate, it's ridiculous. Yet, I am not able to find a job anywhere else in any other field. I'm going crazy!!!!

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AJAJ in South Lyon, Michigan

21 months ago

George in Narre Warren, Australia said: I bet half of you girls majored in the humanities.
What did you expect ?

Oh George, I dont think you are seeing the point of this forum... Many administrative assists are very specialized students who had the hopes of someday taking the experience of their admin skills and utilizing them to the fullest in their earned new role in executive administration; however, that is never the case. Many admins are stuck in the role of admin for life within the organization and they find it very discouraging that all of the work that they do and accomplish for others is not being seen as their work. Its a frustrating world in being and admin - you will leave for the day and receive your pay every other friday and have to be very creative with how you feed your family and pay down that student loan etc. etc. You could claw your way to the top but like an admin of 26 years told me "Once and admin, always and admin"

If you like to remain idle in your work without promotion and love to be barked at by someone daily. Then I think that being an administrative assistant is the right job for you.

PS: I have a masters degree in health care administration with a double minor in human resources and project management. Still waiting for that promotion...........

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Nina in Lowell, Massachusetts

18 months ago

I have 5 1/2 years working as an Admin II and I have an Associate in Business and Help Desk Analyst Certified, currently working on my BS in Operations Management. Skilled in assessment tools, including Access 2013 and Office social media skills. Currently minoring in World Languages (learning Khmer)and in the future Arabic. Does anyone know SPECIFIC job titles that I can go into? But definitely not sales.I am really having a though time looking for positions.

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unkown in Illinois

17 months ago

Melissa M in Berkeley, California said: I just realized and need to keep repeating to myself that I deserve much more than administrative work. Not that I'm displeased with my workplace or colleagues, it is actually all-in-all a great place to work. However, as an example of my continuing frustration, I just got back from a week and half long vacation, and knew that as soon as I got back to the office, hardly anyone would be asking about my vacation, and just asking for things that needed to be done. Sure enough, only two people out of a staff of 8 asked how my time was, and then they only had 2 seconds to listen. Then the requests started pouring in.

Mostly, I am very tired of being continually asked to do things. Everyone has a now deadline, and I am in a position that is hard for me to say "not now". I need to keep repeating to myself that I value my skills and knowledge, I am a worthwhile person and deserve to express my talents, and get paid for it! I am interested in a lot of things, mostly art related, and I long to work in a creative , compassionate environment. Change begins from within.

Does anyone else relate?

I agree i felt the same way at one point in my life

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Better Luck in Albany, New York

16 months ago

anon in Phoenix, Arizona said: I agree with L. However, I have a college degree. I even went through a very good hiring agency, and yet this is the only position I will ever be considered for. I accomplished so much in college, and now I feel like I've entirely wasted $50,000. I can't quit becuase I need to pay my student loans back. I can't go to grad school becuase I can't afford to take out any more student loans. If you are a woman, you'll have to start out as an admin . I f-ing hate it. I don't like helping people with things they could do themselves just to maintain their "image". I am smarter than most of them. They complain that young people move up too quickly, but I've got news for them...I just spent 50K on my education , so YES I do deserve to rank higher than YOU. I have better communication , presentation and analytical skills becuase I've been made to use these for four years straight. I can't subsist on 28K with a 3% per year. They have a management training program, which they won't let me into, but if your dad works here, you get to go. I absolutely cannot stand admin work. It is below me; it is below any human being. I can't fathom how anyone would ever want to do a job like this. I read forums where people are asking advice on how to get an admin asst job. Are you kidding?!?! Why would anyone seriously have that goal? It's insulting and sexist and mind-numbing. I wish I could espcape, but I can't get hired into anything else with a list of admin jobs on my f-ing resume!!!!

Start your own business.

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Better Luck in Albany, New York

16 months ago

George in Narre Warren, Australia said: I bet half of you girls majored in the humanities.
What did you expect ?

Well, few young people in the sciences are getting job immediately either.

Plus, the pendulumn swings both ways. Eventually, the flood of health and science grads will jam the job market. For instance, too many pharmacist grads these days.

So, we don't need people in the psychologies and humanities, yet, people who are currently employed are one step away from insanity - so, gosh, why would ANYONE think the study of humanities is worthless? --- except those that don't realize that this world is horribly out of balance?

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Coreen Amerman in Long Beach, California

12 months ago

anon in Phoenix, Arizona said: I agree with L. However, I have a college degree. I even went through a very good hiring agency, and yet this is the only position I will ever be considered for. I accomplished so much in college, and now I feel like I've entirely wasted $50,000. I can't quit becuase I need to pay my student loans back. I can't go to grad school becuase I can't afford to take out any more student loans. If you are a woman, you'll have to start out as an admin . I f-ing hate it. I don't like helping people with things they could do themselves just to maintain their "image". I am smarter than most of them. They complain that young people move up too quickly, but I've got news for them...I just spent 50K on my education , so YES I do deserve to rank higher than YOU. I have better communication , presentation and analytical skills becuase I've been made to use these for four years straight. I can't subsist on 28K with a 3% per year. They have a management training program, which they won't let me into, but if your dad works here, you get to go. I absolutely cannot stand admin work. It is below me; it is below any human being. I can't fathom how anyone would ever want to do a job like this. I read forums where people are asking advice on how to get an admin asst job. Are you kidding?!?! Why would anyone seriously have that goal? It's insulting and sexist and mind-numbing. I wish I could espcape, but I can't get hired into anything else with a list of admin jobs on my f-ing resume!!!!

I know this was posted a long time ago, but what did you end up doing? Are you still working in admin? I just got laid off from an admin job and I desperately don't want to go back. This post you wrote is exactly my situation, I couldn't have written it any different. Please help! :)

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Jury 14 in Hartford, Connecticut

12 months ago

A few notes:
- Being an admin assistant should have meant something, but let's be serious -- it doesn't because it was a job typically given to housewives who wanted to be apart of the workforce in the 30's. Thus, the glory for the job was already diminished.

- Being an admin assistant should mean something, and it's up to those with these jobs to make it mean more.

- It is demeaning. I just went to interview at an office where the 'head' of the admin assistants talked about 'her girls' and how proud she was of them. Her girls?! What is this?! And all i saw were young women clacking away while the "hard working" men conducted "no-bs business" (that's what the other interviewer said, exactly, to me. The men conduct business and there's no BS). This shows how little respect being an admin assistant has.

- All of the above ='s a shame. Admin assistants deserve more! For all the crap, the BS, the brains they have, a lot of people sure don't act like it.

This might be because RECEPTION is now tied into being an administrative assistant... which I find high fault with. These are two separate jobs which are now being thrown on an admin assistant... not fair, if you ask me.

Receptionists are another thing... the one we have now isn't too bright.

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KP in Oswego, Illinois

10 months ago

I feel your pain. I was just recently "laid off" because I was no longer a "good fit". I just recently received a Master's Degree and at times I was told that I was "too high-level" or I "outgrew" my position. I was unable to find any additional jobs within the company.

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Ms. Doppelganger in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

10 months ago

Here's one for the admin assistant stigma files.

In the early 2000's I dad to drop out of college due to family issues and had to due a bunch of sh*t-head retail jobs to make ends meet... I managed to shake off the retail label by taking some office support courses at the local community college and taking temp jobs. This was back when employers understood the meaning of entry level, were willing to train and actually expected people to move up. I eventually got to an admin assistant position in an accounting department. Eventually though, I got tired of jerks looking down at me as an uppity paper pusher or well-meaning folks telling me I was to smart for these types of jobs.
In the 2010's I finally want back to college to get my BA as an older non-traditional in their 30's and took a student worker position in an archive where I learned to prep, scan and catalog archival material using Dublin Core metadata standards in ContentDM. I also took at lot of Chemistry, archaeology and history classes so that I could learn to work with, interpret and analyze material culture.

During my last semester I applied for a whole bunch of internships in various libraries, archives, and museums. After graduation I got my reposes back from the internships I applied for. All my other internship applications get turned down except for one at a local museum which also featured a museum studies component. Here's where it gets depressing and cringy... Upon starting my internship I pretty much learned straight up that I was chosen for my clerical skills and relegated to cutting and pasting files from CD's to external hard drives. Most of the other interns who were much younger and from affluent backgrounds got much more industry relevant and engaging assignments...

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Ms. Doppelganger in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

10 months ago

(continued)...On top of that during the meet and great for the students that were awarded stipends they kept going on about racial diversity and my race despite the fact that I never mentioned my race in any of the paperwork or essays. I mostly focused on overcoming my challenges as an older, non-traditional student from a lower economic background, my skills, work experience, education and my career goals. I really get the feeling that they just wanted a brown face in there, regardless of how meaningless and menial the task assigned, in order to pat themselves on the back.

So not only was I pigeon-holed into an admin role that I was trying to escape from in what should have been an opportunity to expand my skills and gain new work experience I pretty much became a casualty of diversity quota...

The only reason I stuck the internship out is because I was rewarded a very modest stipend which was better than nothing.. I was sending out job applications during the second half of my internship and if I would have been offered a job at one of the local universities I would have told them where to shove their internship and left...

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Ms. Doppelganger in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

10 months ago

Apologies for the typos... This forum could really use an edit feature....

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Robbs in Arlington, Virginia

4 months ago

I totally agree with you! You hit it on the nail. I have been an admin, activity assist, team assist, every kind of assistant you could think of. I am tired or the entitled superiors i assist. I am tired of doing things they can do themselves. It is degrading and it really affects me mentally. Admins are treated badly and are not valued. I like you thought about college but the tuition is too expensive and i already have a B.S. degree. If i knew geting 56K in debt would only get me entry level work, i would not have gone to college.

My supervisor is lazy and wings it in her role, she says young college students feel entitled and do not want to work hard. This is soooo untrue. We work hard in school, work hard in the workforce to pay of college debt with no real chance at supporting ourselves and paying our bills. It much different in this world than it used to be. Not everyone has someone they can live with, or help pay off debts.

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Robbs in Arlington, Virginia

4 months ago

I totally agree with you! You hit it on the nail. I have been an admin, activity assist, team assist, every kind of assistant you could think of for the past couple of years. I am tired of the entitled superiors i assist daily. I am tired of doing things they can do themselves. It is degrading and it really affects me mentally. Someone could easily say, quit, find another job, but it is not easy. I just deal with it, but like others it is affecting my quality of life, my self esteem and my health. Admins are treated badly and are not valued. I like many of you, have thought about returning to college but the tuition is too expensive and i already have a B.S. degree. If i knew getting 56K in debt would only get me entry level work, i would not have gone to college.

My supervisor is lazy and wings it in her role, she says young college students feel entitled and do not want to work hard. This is soooo untrue. We work hard in school, work hard in the workforce to pay of college debt with no real chance at supporting ourselves and paying our bills. It much different in this world than it used to be. Not everyone has someone they can live with, or help pay off debts.

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lcschol66 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

3 months ago

I am feeling everyone's pain here. I've lived it myself for the past 20 years. Always seemed like I did not have whatever and once I got - I was still missing - and I hold now a Bachelors and Masters. Now no one would even consider me for anything but admin and that's even difficult as the more experienced you are - the more likely they are to overlook you or pay you. Recently many places have hired little "yes" people to be trained to their liking.

So while I have some admin work now I'm building my own business in the meantime. My suggestion become your own CEO and become an entrepreneur.

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