Qualities of an Assistant

You need to have an assistant with great organizational skills and a strong work ethic. It also helps if your assistant already has a working knowledge of the computer applications that you use and/or a willingness to learn new ones. It is time-intensive to teach such skills to a new member of your team. However, it is time well spent if your assistant is a good fit in other ways and plans to be with you for a long while. If you can find someone with a similar work style to your own, next be sure that your personalities mesh. You will be spending a lot of time with this person, so you want that time to be both productive and enjoyable. However, you are not looking for a close confidant or a best friend. Your relationship must be cordial and friendly, but also professional and efficient. A little distance will ensure that you get work done when you meet, rather than spending valuable work time on social agendas.

As a woman, you have probably been taught to be self-sufficient. But now you must break yourself of this habit, at least at work. The question you need to ask yourself on a daily basis is: “What can be done by others on my behalf?” which is admittedly counter-intuitive to some of us. You need to ask others to collate and copy and staple, set up rooms for conferences, arrange meetings, etc. so that you can see patients and teach and write and perform research. At times, each of us is tempted to do these administrative tasks for ourselves since, in the short-term, “it is just easier and faster.” But in the end, after years of assisting yourself, you will have spent a great deal of time doing other people’s work and less time either doing your own job or being with your family.

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