Feeling undervalued?

Feeling undervalued?

I’ve been soooo busy with work over the last few weeks including business trips to Madrid, Amsterdam and the UK I’m still not quite sure which country I’m in at the moment! My new job has been great though and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it, my colleagues really understand what I do, the skills I have and what I can offer. Feeling like this in a company has been few and far between for me, I’ve always had aspects of my job that I’ve loved and mangers that I’ve like working with but I have always wanted to do more and at the moment I am being challenged which is great and does make me feel very valued.

Last year Office* conducted a survey for assistants which asked a number of questions and is well worth a read if you haven’t seen the results yet. One of the statistics to come out of the survey which I found interesting was that 72% said they felt a PA was undervalued as a professional career choice. What a surprisingly high number!

Since the survey was published I’ve thought about that statistic quite a bit and I wonder if other professions would have such a high response rate. What is it about being an assistant that makes others question our career choice and why do we stay in a job if we feel that the career choice is undervalued?

Feeling valued is a key performance indicator which increases our engagement and motivation at work so if we feel that our entire career choice is undervalued surely this will have an impact on our performance at work? Or are we as assistants so used to feeling like this that we just get on with things as best we can despite being undervalued?

I truly believe that assistants have such a wide range of skills that we can really turn our hand to most things and are one of the greatest assets a company has but how do we prove that to our employer if they do not value the profession itself? How do we even begin to change this culture?

I don’t have all of the answers and I do think it is hard to change perceptions but I do feel that it has to start with ourselves. We have to take our profession seriously and we have to stand up for our career choices. I’m very proud of my career and where my choices have led me and I think every assistant should feel that I also strive for more. I know we can do it and if others do to then we will start to value our profession and surely others will follow.

What do you think about that statistic? Is it even relevant a year on? How do you get valued at work? I really would love to know your thoughts!

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2 comments

  • Rita May 15, 2013   Reply →

    Hi Nicky – another great blog! 😀 So good to read that you are feeling more fulfilled and having a wonderful time in your career. Thanks for advising about the statistic of PA’s who feel they are undervalued. I believe this is fairly typical – at least, it seems to be so in the UK and especially in London where I tend to work (when I can get it). It seems (as you say) that PA’s have become so accustomed to taking life as it is and coping with it that a culture has become embedded in most professions towards the Admin professions which says “put up and shut up or get out”. When the time comes to tighten belts, companies tend to see the admin staff as an added extra rather than the oil that keeps the commercial engine moving. However, there are some companies who do value all of their staff and encourage good amin professionals to grow and develop. I would be interested to see other people’s comments too.

    • Thanks Rita, I couldn’t agree more and I like your oil analogy – you know what happens when you forget to put oil in your car, the engine blows up!

      Nicky 🙂

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