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Admin Pro Forum

What are the real rewards of becoming an Executive Assistant?

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Q: "I'm sure the pay of an Executive Assistant is very nice, but I'm unsure about whether to strive for that position. I really like being basically on the same level as the other admins in the office, working very much as a group, and I'm hesitant to work so closely with just one boss, which is what this would entail in my company. I'm wondering if anyone has any reasons I should definitely go for it—or not!" - Blythe, Admin, San Diego

See comments below, and send your own question to editor@adminprotoday.com.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Diana August 25, 2017 at 7:33 pm

I “fell” into the EA position through a temp agency. I had always been and Admin Assistant and liked it. At one point I was in a job that was not making me happy. I got a call out of the blue from a Temp Agency. They were looking for an EA for a CEO who had had 10 assistants in 12 years. I was leery, but since they offered me twice what I was making and I didn’t like my job anyway, I took it. Almost three years later I LOVE the job. Yep, hard boss. But that is his personality and not who he is. I took the time to work WITH him, and it worked out. The reason I had never gone for EA before? Fear. I felt I did not have the skills I needed to earn that kind of money. I actually didn’t, but picked them up very quickly. If it is fear keeping you back, take some classes in what skills you feel you need. Working one on one with a boss is very fulfilling, and the money ain’t bad.


Ruth August 25, 2017 at 10:10 am

I’ve been in the field for more than 25 years with different titles, but ultimately the same position. Most of the time assisting only one or two executives, not really involved with office management. I worked most of the time for the government and after leaving few years ago, I saw myself unemployed for about a year. When I came across with an opening, the job description was not only to assist two executives but manage the entire office. I challenged myself, was hired on the spot and am with the company for almost three years and a half now. No regrets and still enjoying the “honeymoon”.
I remember few months ago, when the CEO for eBay came to be the CEO of our company and one of the questions they asked him was; whether he was replacing people or bringing people from eBay to work for/with him. With no hesitation, he said: “no replacements and I’m bringing my assistant with me. Wherever I go, she goes”. I was thrilled with his answer. I wrote him a note of how it impressed me and made me want to strive even better to do my best, becoming that person he chose to be his right hand.
Right now, I not only manage the entire office but assist three VP’s and three directors. The roles and responsibilities have increased with time. The daily tasks and challenges are rewarding and keeps me going. My direct manager is awesome. We have a great team. There’s nothing better than hear someone coming to you as I had this week and say: “thank you for what you do and how you manage things. You’re the glue that keeps us all together”.
I love variety. The opportunities can be limitless if you love what you do. I love being able to support my executives and make decisions that ultimately affect them, the office itself and eventually the organization. They value our contribution and don’t see us only as a doll to greet customers. Well, most of them.
Working in this profession can be very rewarding, if you choose to step outside of your comfort zone and take risks. This is a Career of Choice. It should not be something you are just doing until something better comes along. Take advantage of any opportunity, or you’ll regret not challenging yourself.


Barbi C August 14, 2017 at 3:10 pm

Hello Blyth, never ever doubt yourself and even though you will receive suggestions from others, you need to be the one that makes the ultimate decision. You still work as a team if you are providing support to 1 person. Your manner and demeanor should not change towards your colleagues. If you don’t take the initiative you will regret this as time passes. Good luck with whatever decision you make, but think of yourself and your future.


Judith August 11, 2017 at 1:54 pm

I have worked with a non-profit for 17 years and have been in both the admin and exec. admin. positions. The type of work doesn’t really change…it expanded a bit, but the ability to make a difference does. I love working with my four bosses in an exec. position – the challenges are amazing and I have grown so much in the past few years that I truly appreciate myself more.

Look at what you will be doing and the non-financial benefits you will receive – believe me, working at a non-profit keeps you rather financially humble, but there is so much more to my job than the check – and decide if you are right for the move. Don’t turn away without even giving it some serious thought.


Barb August 11, 2017 at 8:28 am

Hi Blythe – Over the course of a long career, I’ve held just about every clerical/admin position there is – from Dictaphone Typist in a pool up to Exec Assistant. I have to agree with the others that if you have the right person, the right chemistry, the executive assistant position is fantastic. I have been very blessed and am happy to go to work every day. My boss depends on me like crazy and we get along great. I love planning events, coordinating international travel, tracking expenses and working on any special projects that come along. I feel very fulfilled and rewarded in this position- both financially and emotionally. Best of luck to you!


Kate August 10, 2017 at 11:16 pm

Pay should not be the reason to take the job. One thing you have to look for is chemistry. If you don’t have chemistry or the person you are will be working with, it just makes both your life and the person you are working for very difficult and in turn, you may choose to leave because it can be bad. If you do the interview, do request to interview one on with the person you’ll be working for and see how it feels. If you don’t feel the “it” then gracefully withdraw yourself from consideration. Know your main job will be to serve this person(s) every work (sometimes personal) related need. It is a selfless job.

You can look at the “big” picture, but in the end every company is different and every mission and person is different. Know what you are willing to sacrifice if needed and what you aren’t. Also, don’t be afraid to try if it’s what you really want.
Best wishes!


Melissa Hunter August 10, 2017 at 8:01 pm

I have worked in the administrative field for more than 35 years, worked my way up. I think you may be surprised that there is not that much difference between the title Administrative Assistant and Executive Assistant. I have been both, worked for individuals and supported departments. They are ambiguous job titles. My suggestion is that you continue your education and be prepared to move up if and when the right opportunity presents itself. Don’t be locked into a job title, look at the whole of the job.


Monica August 10, 2017 at 5:38 pm

I have been an administrative assistant for 20 year for the same department in my company. I love the work I do and being the go to person for everyone and everything. I don’t think I would be as happy being an Executive Assistant to just one boss because I don’t think it would be as challenging or fulfilling.


Valarie August 10, 2017 at 4:33 pm

Blythe, it depends on what your goals are. For me, I wanted to advance and utilize my professional skills for a higher position in the company. But it really is on you and what you want to ultimately accomplish. If you have the skills, technical and professional, why not advance? Is it you may be fearful of making mistakes? You will loose the friends you have made in your current position? If any of these are you, heck we all make mistakes, but we rebound from them and learn from the mistakes we made. If it is friends lost, then they were not there for your best interest to begin with. Advancement does not mean you will not continue to work or communicate with other colleagues. It does mean that you will be in a different role with different responsibilities with other peers of your status. If I were you, I would seriously look at why you feel you don’t want to advance and let that guide you.

Best of Luck to You
Executive Assistant
Certified Administrative Professional through IAAP


Lisa August 10, 2017 at 4:17 pm

For me, I like being a business partner to an executive and using my skills and knowledge to be one step ahead of the executive as well as having both the authorization and initiative to act on their behalf. Being in the role allows you to have a better insight on how decisions are made and at times you can give input to the executive that may influence how decisions are made. Your input is sometimes what is needed to represent the viewpoint of non-executive employees.

Not sure of how your office is made up but just because you will be supporting one executive doesn’t mean that you can’t necessarily feel part of a team.

My biggest question to you is – do you like and respect the person who is interested in you being their executive assistant? You must like and respect the person you support and be able to communicate really well with them to be effective in the role.

Good luck to you no matter what you decide!


Anne, Assistant to VP, Palm Desert, CA August 10, 2017 at 7:32 pm

Blythe, I agree with Lisa’s comments. My company title is “Assistant” but I have supported one VP for over 11 years in an Executive Assistant role and responsibilities. My view is that as an Exec. Admin to one manager, you become a stronger part of the overall company team. You come to the position with a network of contacts that enables you to be the go-to person for not only your new executive manager, but for your peers, as well. Evaluate your goals and follow where they take you.


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