Career Story: Executive Assistant In A Suburban Town Office

Executive Assistant In A Suburban Town Office

Job Title: Executive Assistant

Type of Company: I work for a small town about half-way between Boston and Worcester.

Education: High School Graduate

Previous Experience: I have worked for this small municipality for the past nineteen years. I started as a clerk, later moved to payroll and eventually became an executive assistant.

Job Tasks: I work for the Board of Selectmen, the town manager and the municipal finance director. We have a very busy office which issues a bunch of different licenses: liquor licenses, Common Victualler Licenses, Class II and Class III licenses, and lodging and limousine permits. Any local business, in fact, that needs a license to operate has to get one through our office.

We also help residents to resolve any issues they've been having with the another town department. If a tree on town-owned property, for example, falls on someone's house, or a snow plow damages his mailbox, or a sewer backs up, or a water main breaks, we do our best to assist him.

We also process workmen's comp claims and the 111F claims (Police and Fire Injury Claims). We pay bills and coordinate purchasing for municipal agencies (including the fire department and police department) and we process all new hires, arranging for physicals and CORI checks if necessary. Pay increases, ditto.

Every day brings a new challenge and no two days here are ever the same. This keeps the job interesting.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is finding ways to help people resolve the problems they've been having and watching them leave with a smile and a "Thanks." People are often cynical and feel sure their complaints won't be heard, and they are pleasantly surprised when they're not only heard but greeted warmly.

The worst part is having to tell people they're wrong or collect money from people who truly don't have it.

Job Tips:
1.) Try to be patient and listen. This is not about you or your feelings.

2.) Be sure that the person you're dealing with understands that you're paying attention. You will also need to be able to keep things confidential. You'll be privy at times to vey sensitive information and if you share it you can be in hot water!

3.) Remember, above all, that you are there to do a job and not to make friends. Making friends is always great, but don't let friendships cloud your judgement.

Additional Thoughts: I did not attend college so I had to work hard to prove myself and to shoulder my way up the ladder. I have taken some classes and they've all been great, but they're still not looked on the same way a college education is. You may want to keep that in mind.

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