Let’s face it, the vast majority of people who are working do not have their dream job. If we won the lotto, most of us would give two weeks notice (most of us). Think about the amount of time we spend getting ready for work, commuting to work and actually working. Our occupation is by far the preponderance of our day. So many hours preparing for and doing something that you might not enjoy can be exhausting. Have you ever thought, “There has got to be a better way?” Well, there is. Sure, some of us might opt to quit our jobs and follow our dreams. But for a lot of us, that is not reality. What is more likely is for us to think about the things we actually love to do and incorporate them into our work environment. As Executive Assistants, we are asked to take care of everything anyway. Why not include something for ourselves in there! Following are 3 people I have met throughout my career who have done just that.
An Assistant I worked with a long time ago LOVED gardening. She could do it all day—and did when she wasn’t in the office. She truly was a horticulturalist at heart. One by one, she bought us all plants, to which she cared for. I still remember her humming little ditty’s as she trimmed this plant or sprayed that bloom during her spare time. I can’t remember her not having a smile on her face.
A friend of mine longed to be an artist. She could seemingly draw anything at the drop of a hat. Many times, we spoke about the fact that all she wanted to do was paint all day, but couldn’t find a job where she’d be able to support herself financially. When I visited her one day, I saw a beautiful Easter painting on the glass doorway of her boss’s office. “That’s lovely,” I said. “Who did that?” Of course she said she did. She told me she’d wipe the glass window off and repaint it for every major holiday. There were glass doorways all down the massive hallways of her office. I told her she should ask others if they wanted their doorways painted—especially since it was easy to wipe off. Eventually she started painting other doorways and even got an art show out of the deal when a curator who visited wanted to know who painted such beautiful work.
Lisa (named changed to protect privacy) took all the photos at every work event we had—holiday parties, volunteer outings, etc. She’d then post to the local drive for everyone to see and boy did we get a good hoot taking in all the happenings of the particular event. Every time I saw her she had two cameras around her neck. I was so shocked to find out that she was an Assistant! We were on the elevator together and I asked how long she had been taking pictures. She said she started taking photography classes a while back because she absolutely loved the art of picture taking. After going to many of our events and noticing that no one was commemorating the wonderful times with photos, she offered to do it. How awesome! What a truly great idea.
Whatever your love is, there has got to be a lane for you--some way, some how--in your current position. Event Planning-throw work events; Writing-suggest a company newsletter; Carpentry-offer to fix all the broken down furniture or repurpose file cabinets that are waiting to be discarded. If you’ve got to be at work (which we do), why not make your time as enjoyable as it can be. Good luck and remember think outside the box!
Adrienne Farr, Executive Assistant, TMBI