Lessons from the Administrative Profession

by Ayanna Castro

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When I started my career as an administrative assistant I received lots of advice on the hard skills—like software—and even some soft skills—like policy and procedure. There were some lessons that I had to learn on my own along the way, however. Lessons like:

Transparency and sharing your journey can inspire others.

I’ll be perfectly honest with you: Being transparent can be scary and downright terrifying even when you are surrounded by people you know. But when you allow yourself to be professionally transparent about your challenges and solutions you become relatable. Coworkers are able to see themselves in you and vice versa.

You never know who is watching you.

Be true to who you are and let your light speak for itself. Are you a whiz at presentations? Do you understand the secret language of audio and visual professionals? You might not receive accolades right away. You might think that all of your hard work is in vain; it’s not. Someone is always watching. Make sure you are presenting your best.

Never stop practicing your craft.

Do you know that some of the most world-renowned singers have vocal coaches? When I learned that little tidbit, I decided that I would never stop practicing my craft. I’ve given my signature Work Your Package presentation several times, but the first time I delivered it in front of an international audience I wanted to make sure I gave the delegates my best effort. It doesn’t matter if you’ve done something a thousand times, practice is part of growth.

Check your ego at the door.

When you do something with the intention to serve and not be served, leaving your ego at the door (or better—at home) is an easy thing to do. Once you realize that your gifts and talents are to be given away, it is harder for your ego to show up.

These lessons have helped me throughout my career. Think about the lessons you have learned and consider how you can share those lessons with you colleagues. A collective of these lessons can benefit the entire administrative staff within your organization.


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Catch Ayanna and other spectacular speakers at IAAP Summit 2019 in National Harbor, Maryland (just a short distance from Washington D.C.). Find out why IAAP Summit is the go-to conference for office and administrative professionals year-in and year-out.

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