Question: I am the executive assistant for the CEO/president of a small (45 employees)
company. The boss frequently travels, either on business trips, family
trips or hunting trips. While he's gone, he might check his e-mail once
a day, but he relies heavily on me to check his e-mail, handle things
that I can, return calls, answer questions, etc. Usually, once a day,
he’ll call and get any pertinent info from me.
He gets about 30 e-mails a day and one or two calls. About five of
his e-mails contain something that needs to be handled; most are simply
When he’s around, I have JUST enough to keep me working very slowly.
I feel as though I'm not used to my potential; I really prefer to be
TOO busy! I have assumed all the responsibilities he will allow, I
assist others in the company as much as I do him, and do a lot of
research on potential customers, partners, vendors, etc., without being
told. I have PLENTY of initiative, I go above and beyond constantly,
and I do a lot of things. But when he's gone, I literally could get all
my “work” done in one hour a day!
It’s very frustrating, because I don’t feel like I’m worth my
paycheck, sometimes. But there’s nothing I can do to remedy it. He has
specifically said I’m doing more than he would ever ask and that I’m
capably handling SO much and the folks in the office all have their
jobs to do and any offers of assistance I give are usually politely
declined. I mean seriously: I don’t feel like he needs me to be in the
office while he’s gone. We have a telephone system and VPN, and I could
literally work from home and be JUST as available.
I don’t really want to push for that, because he really doesn’t like
folks to telecommute. He likes them to be in the office, especially me
being the “face” of him when he’s not here. Inevitably, things arise
that I might need to make a decision on.
I paid for an online continuing-education course from a local
college and have been doing my studies at work. Seeing as it’s an
administrative course, I don’t feel bad about that. But after that, I'm
still left with three to four hours a day with absolutely NOTHING
work-oriented to do because I have DONE IT ALL, already!
My long story boils down to this: Should I look for another job that's more fast-paced and I feel like I’m worth my paycheck?
Should I try to talk to him about working part-time while he’s out of town?
Should I feel guilty on a day like today when our gas has been
turned off due to a leak the gas company has to locate, I feel sick
(several employees have the stomach virus going around), have a
headache, have nothing to do, have received ONE single e-mail in two
days that I could do anything with, and made a copy of a receipt for
one other person? Should I be feeling guilty for checking my e-mail?
What am I missing?
I’m so frustrated because I have a VERY strong work ethic and a
fast-paced mentality, one can reorganize the files only so many times!
HELP! I don’t want to be watching the clock! -- Liz