There’s (Way) More To The Story

by Maggie Peters

GettyImages-1175136281Are you interested in knowing “what ever happened about…?” Good, me too. Last summer I co-presented a webinar with IAAP’s Certifications & Programs Director, Rachel Reynolds. The webinar was “Elevating the AP Role: The Value of HR as an Ally.” We created an essay contest that offered a free coaching session for the IAAP member who submitted the winning essay about how a coaching session might benefit them in their career.

Well, the essay winner has become a huge inspiration and I wanted to share her story with you. Sharon Riebe, CAP [used with her permission to tell her story] won the essay contest by describing her administrative assistant (AA) roles in the credit union industry. Everything was going along just fine and then came a merger with a larger credit union. As often happens, those who are in duplicative roles are either laid off, have to apply for other roles, or maybe are offered a new position. She was offered a Sr. HR specialist role based on her prior AA skills in a number of HR-related areas such as payroll and training. In HR, we call those “transferrable” skills since they can be adapted quickly so that the person can move from one department to another with little or no ramp up time to becoming productive.

During our coaching session, Sharon and I brainstormed different ideas that she has now incorporated in her new role. As a result, she’s now helping in recruiting, onboarding, and benefits areas. There are three take-aways that Sharon’s story revealed which may be valuable to you:

  1. Proactively pursue opportunities to use your transferrable skills. Don’t wait for someone to come with the perfectly wrapped job, duty or project. Work with your current manager to see how you might help out in an area outside of your current responsibility.
  2. Be visible. Try to avoid thinking you’re being excluded on purpose. Teams are so busy, they haven’t even thought how great it would be to have your expertise on their team! Ask them “what if I could do…” and then one good idea will lead to another. Remember: They don’t know what they don’t know.
  3. Continually upgrade your job and skills. Learn knew technologies that are being used in your organization. Maybe it is Visio or LucidChart. Maybe it is Slack. Come with ideas on how to reduce or eliminate the less important duties of your role to make time for the more valuable skills your organization needs of you for the future. Your next promotion may not be Sr. Executive Assistant, it may be in a totally different area. How can you get ready?

Good for Sharon and good for her credit union’s HR team, too! Your value comes by solving someone else’s problem going forward, not from repeating what you have done in the past.

This blog is authored by one of the amazing speakers scheduled to have a session during our one-of-a-kind event, IAAP Summit.

top-vs_bg-fnlSummit 2020 is going to be offered, for the first time ever, in a 100 percent virtual environment. The Summit experience, which is full of excitement, inspiration, learning, and connection is now coming to you. You can learn more on the Summit website, as well as this FAQ document.

One thought on “There’s (Way) More To The Story

  1. Great article, Maggie! I love the simple and actionable tips. Your advice is spot on… “Your value comes by solving someone else’s problem going forward, not from repeating what you have done in the past.”


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