Thursday, April 19, 2007

Ms. Theologian Tells an Assisstant to Quit

Dear Ms. Theologian,

I noticed your post on interns, and I wanted to ask you about assistants. I have a similar situation where I've been an assistant for three years, and although I've been promised promotions, they've never materialized. Any ideas?

-Someone's Assistant (but not an intern!)

Dear Assistant:

You too should quit.

Again, interning and assisting are great ways to learn a business. However, if this is not what you want to do permanently, you should apply for other jobs after a certain point. How do you find that point? Feh. It varies.

Some professions reward loyalty and staying with the company for fifty years until a Gold Watch Party in which you are celebrated. But most workplaces behave more like pirate ships. In order to get ahead you often have to join another crew or you'll be walking the plank. For the record, Ms. Theologian is aware that this is an extraordinarily weak metaphor, but she liked the clip art and she thinks that truthfully piracy and corporations share some management practices.

If you have been promised promotions that haven't materialized, your work is excellent, and you've discussed your strengths and needs with your boss during a formal (or informal) review, three years seems long enough to perfect assisting. Ms. Theologian knows someone who was an agent's assistant for eight years, waiting for his big break, until he was "let go" in favor of the newer model. And his boss seemed to feel not one whit of guilt about it. Be forewarned.

--Ms. Theologian

P.S. If you would like to write to Ms. Theologian, please send an email to ms dot theologian at gmail dot com.