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Why isn't my opinion taken seriously?

by on
in Admin Pro Forum

Question: “I am sure many admin assistants have asked this question before. But I have not read anything lately about it. How do you deal with feeling like your opinion is not important enough and not being considered?” — Anonymous


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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Ilja Kraag March 16, 2009 at 3:41 pm

I fully agree with Pat. 1. Respect yourself. 2. Drape your suggestions for improvement around something your boss said or did to “suggest” they gave you the idea. 3. If there is a problem, state the facts and come up with at least 2 to 3 solutions. 4. Become assertive. Many of us have been brought up the old fashioned passive aggressive way. Get rid of it. Be active and positive. Does that mean that then everyone will listen to you and take you serious? Well, try and find out (smile).

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Bassima March 16, 2009 at 7:59 am

This is great information I will continue reading it this week

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Colette March 13, 2009 at 6:19 pm

I have been in this field for a long time and at the start I felt the same way but you have to be strong and confident when you present an idea. Know what you are talking about. We have one old school person in our office that I support when his assistant is on PTO and he is more than willing to let me show him how to do things instead of me just doing them for him. This makes life so much easier.

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New girl on the block March 13, 2009 at 5:49 pm

I transitioned into a different job, in a different part of the office, and after I thought enough time had passed, I started voicing my opinion about how to improve things. Unfortunately, the guys I work with are “old school”, so my new ways were not considered, and I was not told no, they just sort of ignored my suggestion like they didn’t hear me. So, now that I’ve been here longer, I’m beginning to earn my way in the office, and I’m hoping once I’ve earned their respect, I can try to offer some ideas for change. Until then, I’ll continue to receive a paycheck at the end of the month. BTW, they have come around to use my ideas, but very, very slowly and cautiously. I’m just grateful to have a job in this economy!

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Emma Outtahere March 13, 2009 at 4:55 pm

The responses on this topic are a pretty dismal commentary on the “status” of our positions. There’s got to be a more satisfying way to make a living. I’ve been in this field for many years but the posts on this topic confirm my worst suspicions…no, there ISN’T a light at the end of the tunnel. These dweebs will have to find another victim.

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Angie March 13, 2009 at 9:37 am

I am so glad to know that I am not the only one that feels this way. I would always try and come up with solutions and/or give my input when a situation arose, not any more. I got so tierd of leaving a meeting and feeling worthless. To make matters worse, some of my ideas would be used, at a later time of course, and presented as if they thought of it. Now I just go to work, and do what I am told and not worry to much about giving my input. I just started making a change in my duties to make it easier, and I may have a person or two ask me how I did something. It’s far better to have someone ask “How did you do that” or “Man you make things look so easy” than to feel as if you are beating your head against the wall.

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Pat March 11, 2009 at 4:38 pm

In my long profession as an Executive Assistant, there haven’t been many occasions on which I felt my opinion was not valued. I believe, to some degree, the respect and validation we receive is based on how we present ourselves. The more professional and knowledgable you present yourself, the more seriously you will be taken. I don’t refer to my colleagues as “admins”. They are “assistants”. The executive I support also is aware (because I told him) that I prefer to be referred to as his assistant, rather than his “admin” or his “girl” (I’m well past the “girl” age). I would encourage my sisters in this honored profession to stand up and step up. If we don’t do it for ourselves, nobody will.

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Judy March 10, 2009 at 12:00 pm

It is very sad to say that in the 21st century, admministrative assistants still don’t get the respect they deserve. The whole office scene has changed, giving the assistants more responsibilities which requires more skills. I feel that because the administrative assistant position does not require a BS Degree, our superiors look down on us. I have 30 + years of experience and work to keep my skills current. It seems to me that experience and talent should count for something, but unfortunately many times it does not. I feel that top management feels that a four year degree person can do more for the organization that a person with many years experience, even if the degreed person has no work experience. I keep an open mind and am always looking for ways to improve processes and better ways to support management. Even with my efforts, some days I go home feeling like a whipped puppy.

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Anon March 6, 2009 at 5:48 pm

It’s sad to see this problem still being prevalent in the 21st century. I had the same situation in the 1970s. In 1988 I worked for a man who told everybody that I was his valued assistant, and that made the difference. After a few years of being semi-retired I returned to the work force, supporting a manager and a few other people in a small office which is part of a regional public agency. My opinion is valued, because I am “mature” (older), I am “unflappable” and I strive to make the boss look good by anticipating anything that could be an unpleasant surprise. The other thing that I do is preface many statements with: “You’ve probably thought of this already”. This gives me the opportunity to present my suggestions/opinions without appearing to be a know-it-all and since I’m so “mature” I don’t care if i don’t get credit for my good ideas (if they get implemented I don’t care who gets the credit) Hope this is helpful.

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Anonymous March 6, 2009 at 5:40 pm

Just an Admin — you’ve got that right — we are perceived as utilitarian. I’ll never forget the time that one of my bosses told another manager that he could “use my girl” to help him. When he was told by another (female) manager that his comments were offensive, he was completely clueless as to why.

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Diane Johnson-Hung March 6, 2009 at 2:58 pm

Been there. What I ended up doing was giving the person(s) three chances to hear me out. After three times, I would be quiet. There were times when my input would have saved time and money, but since it wasn’t valued or asked for, I let it go. After the person(s) more a less fell on his or her “face,” I still remained quiet and did as I was told. Sooner rather than later, the person(s) realized that something is amiss here, and start talking to me about why it seems so hard and time-consuming to get something done. Then I offered my input (by this time his or her mind was open to it). When the conversation is over, I went back to doing what I was told and stayed quiet. After a few rounds like this (maybe one or two times for the smarter person), my input was sought.

It’s a long way to go about it, but it proved more effective than complaining about how my input is never considered.

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Another brick in the wall March 6, 2009 at 1:32 pm

Unfortunately, whether or not people in the US like to admit, there is a ‘caste’ system. Our dismissed opinions and the lack of respect we receive goes along with the adminstrative assistant profession.

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Just an Admin March 6, 2009 at 1:19 pm

I think John nailed it. Admins are often perceived by managers as UTILITARIAN, the equivalent of golf clubs or can openers. HOWEVER, depending on the organization & culture & people with whom you work, one can EARN respect. If you can’t earn it THERE, maybe you DO need to find a different situation. It is murder to work in a stuck-in-the-50′s culture where the culture consists of lords & peasants. Move on.

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Anonymous March 6, 2009 at 1:18 pm

I agree with Kathy fully!! Unfortunately I get praise from two of my three supervisors regularly but never when/where anyone else in the world would be aware. Actually many in our organization don’t even know that I work with one of them at all and she is my overall supervisor now for almost two years. I have learned to not expect much and just do the best I can everyday! Hang in there guys!

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Kathy March 6, 2009 at 1:06 pm

My experience has been that respect for the admin assistant’s input has to be directed by the boss. When the boss tells people “My assistant is my right hand” the assistant gains immediate respect from others in the office as well as outside the office. Unfortunately, many bosses don’t recognize that the need to demand respect for their assistant.

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John A. March 6, 2009 at 12:47 pm

Good question. Over the last year, I have had several instances at work where decisions were made that impacted my work and responsibilities, but my input was not sought. Worse, several times I wasn’t even informed that the decision had been made. I approached my supervisor 3 times over the course of the year to share my feelings that it didn’t seem that my contribution to the firm was valued or appreciated. After the third meeting, my boss basically told me that was never the case (even though she couldn’t explain why I was consulted or even told of significant changes affecting my work) and if I couldn’t “deal with these feelings” then perhaps I should seek employment elsewhere.

In my opinion, if your input isn’t valued then its because your supervisor has decided, whether valid or not, that you have nothign of value to contribute and are merely a trained circus animal retained to jump through whatever hoops management decides it needs you to. Its no secret that even the best supervisors have their “favorites” and you probably just aren’t one of them.

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ANON March 6, 2009 at 12:46 pm

This is a frustrating topic and it happens way to often.

To get my point across, I make sure I come prepared to meetings with my thoughts and ideas in writing and/or report form. I make sure I have all of my facts and figures before bringing up to a group.

This has helped tremendously, however, it has been my experience working with high level executives, that even with all of the facts and figures, there are times when I still feel invisible.

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