What I Wish You Knew: Administrative Assistant
What I Wish You Knew is a blog series about jobs and careers. Today's entry was contributed by Administrative Assistant Callie Blumberg.
I am an administrative assistant at TDS Telecom. I have been here since May of 2011 and I am technically still a contractor, meaning I actually work for the employment agency. This was not a job that I sought out specifically, but my husband at the time also worked at TDS and had a connection with the employment agency. He found out they were hiring admins, put in a good word for me, and I submitted my resume.
I enjoy the work that I do. In this position, I have been able to do a variety of things, working with different teams and holding an assortment of responsibilities. It keeps my work life interesting and it's fun for me to learn different aspects behind the construction and engineering of projects. I do not feel 'fulfilled' by what I am doing, exactly, because when I think of what it means to have fulfilling work, it means having a more meaningful impact on the world than I do. However, it makes me happy to know that my work directly assists my co-workers and makes their projects go more smoothly. It makes their lives less stressful.
One of the best parts about my job is that it is usually not too stressful. I have a manageable work load, the work itself is not too hard for me, I like my coworkers and boss, I have regular work hours, and I when I leave at the end of the day, I do not take any home with me. I have the time and energy to maintain a social life, home life, and hobbies. My paycheck is decent and I work eight minutes from home. That part is also really nice.
The biggest challenge of this job is that even though my boss says they want to, the company will not hire me and provide benefits. They do not have the 'headcount' and keep telling me they are working on it, but I think it boils down to being able to pay less for contractors overall. It makes me wonder how much they value my work and the expertise I've learned over the years that I have been here. Do they think they can easily teach someone else to do what I have been doing? Maybe. I was not anticipating this situation. I thought I would be hired years ago. People have asked me why I stay and even though I have done some job hunting, it is hard for me to let go of the good deal I have going. I like all other aspects of the job.
The other challenge has been getting over the fact that I am not doing anything 'impressive' with my life and that I am not 'using' my college degree. This job did not require a college degree and the natural thought is that it was a waste for me to have worked so hard in school if this is the job I was going to get. (Obviously. I know that I am not stuck in this job forever, and that I gained skills, knowledge, and experience in college as well.... it's just hard to remember those things when having a job that doesn't require a degree is a pretty tangible thing that you can see on paper).
I came from a community where becoming a lawyer or doctor would be ideal and almost expected of a good student like me. Many students in my high school went to Ivy League schools and some people questioned me when I said I was going to UW-Madison. (What a ridiculous attitude because it's a great school!) I have had to get over the idea that I do not have a career for the time being, and I knew when I took this job that I would have to justify my work to myself. It has not been too hard, though: I am working at a less stressful job, I am enjoying my life, and I am happy. I also feel like the routine and ease of this job is what kept me sane when my marriage fell apart. When my personal life went to &%@, my life at work stayed constant. Thank goodness.
I don't think there is anything I wish people knew about my job. I do my work and fly under the radar, mostly, and it's just fine that way.
I would love to be hired. I would love to have a title aside from Administrative Assistant, because I do more than what an admin does (but I do not know what title I would give myself...). At some point, maybe I will break into actually engineering some projects. I have already been able to do a few aspects of it and I know the people I have assisted believe I can handle it.