Back almost (exactly) six years ago, I left a hell of a job to work for the organization I currently work for. It was, by far, one of the best decisions I ever made in my life. I left the previous job as a "mutual decision" between my boss and I. Verbally, that's how it was. But on paper, I was let go. I wasn't let go because I wasn't doing my job. It was quite the opposite, actually. I was working to death for a boss who could never and would never be happy with anything I (or anyone else) did for him or the company. Just to give you a little peak into what I was dealing with: I was reprimanded for using too many sticky notes. Over the fifteen months I worked for him, I was belittled to a point that when I left, I felt I had no confidence left.
After I left, I went on 27 interviews in three weeks. Yes, 27. It was chaotic. It was wonderful. I was working with head hunters who saw my resume and had me at an interview that afternoon, literally. The company I worked for was a household name in the industry, and my previous boss was well known. In those 27 interviews, my boss' name came up quite a bit. A few times I was told that I must be an angel for lasting fifteen months with a man who, without a doubt, treated me like shit. And he did. He really, really did. It was like a real version of The Devil Wears Prada, except I was working for a man. And yes, if you didn't already know, I worked in the fashion industry.
I went on some amazing interviews in those three weeks. I interviewed for a position at Yves Saint Laurent. I was extremely intimidated when they asked me who I was working for, but was put at ease when I saw a look of shock that I'd lasted over a year. I interviewed at quite a bit of advertising agencies, public relations firms and I actually went on a few interviews for some financial firms. I interviewed for an executive assistant position to the CEO of a major high end watch retail company (and was offered the position). But my best interview was for an executive assistant position to the lead architect who designs the Marc Jacobs stores. He told me that with my confidence, he could see me really going places. And not as an assistant, but as a owner of my own company someday. (I was also offered this position.)
When you have made a career as an executive assistant, it all comes down to not only having experience in the field you're working in, but the most important thing is getting along with your boss, and he/she getting along with you. Being an assistant to someone is a very personal professional relationship. A perfect assistant for someone may not be a perfect assistant for someone else.
I turned down a few jobs making so much more money (obscenely more) than I was offered at my current job, and I look back and have no regrets (ok, so maybeeeee a little regret with the Stephan Jaklitsch position). I separated myself from the money and the glamour, and I chose a job because I knew I'd get along with my boss. The interview I had led me to believe this because as I sat there talking about my experiences and myself, I looked down at his desk and saw neon colored post-it notes on everything. I glanced at the sticky notes and saw things checked off and crossed out. I'll always wonder if "hire the perfect assistant" was on that list.
After I was offered a few positions at the same time, I sat and I thought long and hard about where I'd be happy. I knew, I REALLY knew, I'd be happy with a boss who used a lot of post-it notes.
And six years later, I realize I was right.