I got asked this GREAT question last week. “How long does it take to master this job? It seems like no matter what we do, we always want to know how long it will take.
My Own Experience
The answer I gave was this: It took me about eight months to become proficient and about two years to get to mastery.
In the first eight months I was learning the job. I was acclimating myself to the technology and systems that were in place and getting accustomed to how all the team members work. I learned what to watch out for and work-arounds for everything that didn’t work perfectly or that didn’t work the way I thought they should.
Once I got my bearings, I spend the next 16 months developing systems of my own. I got comfortable enough that I could say, “This one thing isn’t working; here’s how we’re going to do it from now on.”
What It Means for You
THAT is the key to mastery. When YOU are the one creating and improving the systems. When your lead agent or other team members come to YOU to say, “We don’t like how this something is working. What can we do to fix it?” Then you become a master at developing and implementing systems. You figure out what works and make adjustments as you. You become confident that even when something doesn’t work out the way you thought it would that you can adjust and find something that WILL work. You become persistent until you succeed. This is often where if you are an S or C on the DISC personality profile, you often act more like a D when you implementing new systems. You become driven and you expect the team to fall in line with what you are implementing because you know it will help them be more successful.
Now I know that I can walk onto any team, evaluate what’s being done and improve on it based on my past experience. I have that confidence because I’ve make enough mistakes. Really take that in. I MADE MISTAKES. That’s how we learn.
Are You the First Assistant?
I do know that there is a difference between being an agent’s first administrative assistant and being hired after an agent has had multiple previous assistants. If an agent has had previous assistants, he or she has learned how to work with an assistant already. It’s not new to them anymore. If you are that agent’s first hire, the learning curve is going to be a lot steeper. You are both going to have to struggle in your relationship to figure out the best way to work together.
Are You With the Right Agent?
And here’s a special tip from me to you…if you think you like this admin job, but the struggle with your agent is too much for you, find another to work for. Blasphemy I know, but it’s very true that not all agents are the same. I’ve worked for and with several agents and being with the right agent makes a HUGE difference in my personal job satisfaction. And let’s face it. If you come to work grumpy and with a bad attitude, you are making yourself and your agent miserable. And that can affect how you interact with everyone you come into contact with.
Do YOU have a personal story about mastering this role? I’d love to hear it in the comments!