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Career Story: Administrative Assistant At A Company That Sells Dinosaur Bones

Administrative Assistant At A Company That Sells Dinosaur Bones

Job Title: Administrative Assistant To The President/Owner

Type of Company: My company is a private, for-profit natural history vendor to museums, collectors and venues all over the world.

Education: BA, Psychology, Poli. Sci.

Previous Experience: I was the assistant to the head of the department of Social Sciences at my college.

Job Tasks: I am responsible for the major portion of the receptionist duties, answering the phone and greeting visitors and customers, providing information on what our company produces, taking and processing orders and ensuring that my three employers know what needs doing that day and what is on the calendar for them. I also maintain a calendar to ensure that we know where our people are and when they will be absent. I report employee injuries to our Workman's Compensation insurer and make a record of the injuries incurred for the company's reference. Part of my responsibility is to ensure that files are maintained on all correspondence, orders and shipping.

Because we have clients and customers all over the world, I have had to learn how to ship products to Japan as well as to Mexico and from Australia to Alaska and everywhere in between. At various times in the past, I have had to do a lot of research into shipping options: not only freight lines and trucking firms but global companies like Federal Express, UPS and the U.S. Postal Service. I have had to deal with customs people and officials in other countries but I've also learned a lot about people and places. This has not only expanded my knowledge but my appreciation for people and venues around the globe.

A few times I have traveled to sites across this country to participate in their grand openings. I have learned much more about our products and production process this way and that in turn has made me a more valuable employee.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: Working for three employers simultaneously can become irritating and frustrating when their schedules and desires do not mesh. However, with three employers in one business and 30+ other employees, this is never a boring position. Our business is very unique in the world of commerce and consequently when I tell people that I literally sell dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures for a living, they usually are interested and want to know more. This makes for a nice entree into many social situations.

Job Tips: Actually I've found over the years -- I am 72 years old -- that there is no such thing as unproductive employment. I have picked up valuable information and skills in every position I've held in my nearly 60 years of working. I have been a waitress, sold vacuum cleaners door to door, I wrote life and health insurance for nearly 10 years and drove semi-tractor trailers cross country for two years, besides many other jobs. Always I came away from those experiences with a greater appreciation of my abilities as well as the work that each position demanded.

Additional Thoughts: In the course of 20 years of working for this employer, I have become not only knowledgeable but enthusiastic about the fields of paleontology, mineralogy and geology. These are all fields I knew little or nothing about prior to joining this firm. My view of the physical world that surrounds us now astounds me with its larger perspective even with my small amount of knowledge. In addition, I have learned a great deal about business and people around the world since our customers and suppliers literally span the globe.

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