Guest Article: Thoughts about the changing employment market
By Jennifer J. Parker

I recall discussing with college friends that we did not attend college to be an administrative assistant. I hated typing and did not take any of the classes in high school. Well, I was wrong in many ways. The typing and word processing classes would have helped me during my corporate career and working as an entrepreneur. In addition, I had no idea that an assistant job could provide access to diverse opportunities and career knowledge that can help build a successful career.

Recently, I read an article about how an assistant job can provide a foot into the door of an organization and has been a career opportunity many people have used as launching points for successful careers.

In the movie “The Devil Wears Prada,” the lead character was the ultimate Boss lady with an attitude who lived to cause stress to many. However, her assistant Andrea had a front row seat to the fashion Industry and had the opportunity to use some of her existing skills while developing her confidence and gaining access to people who opened the door to her next career. This movie reminded me of another key to success, Andréa was open to change. We cannot grow without change. My research showed me the power of this position. For example, Ursula M. Burns, a former CEO of Xerox served as an assistant before she was appointed as the first Black female CEO of a fortune 500 company. (At the end of this article, there is an interesting video and article about Ms. Burns life as a child living in poverty to becoming a Chief Executive Officer.)

Another interesting career success story is about fashion designer and DKNY brand founder, Donna Karan, who began her career as assistant to designer Anne Klein.

If you are a fan of the 2000’s series “Girlfriends” that can now be seen on Netflix, you have an opportunity to view another career success story. Some of the series funniest episodes features Tracy Ellis Ross’ Assistant, Maya. Maya’s career included serving as an assistant for two Junior law firm partners. As she worked as an assistant, she took the opportunity to continue to enhance her skills and network which eventually led to a new career as a bestselling author.

In summary, the lesson from this article is that each job is an opportunity to develop or enhance a skill or skills that could lead to a greater opportunity.

Ursula Burns: From public housing to CEO – Bing video

Ursula Burns’ New Memoir Chronicles Her Journey From New York Tenements To Xerox CEO | Here & Now (wbur.org)

Jennifer J. Parker is a public relations consultant and serves as the Communications Director for the BFNC. She is a lifelong learner who is excited by creativity and making clients stand out.  Read her other thoughts about success factors for life on LinkedIn.