I have always appreciated the quote “a lack of preparation on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine”. It encourages people to think ahead and be ready for what’s coming. But this quote absolutely does not apply to assistants. This is actually just one of the many reasons assistants exist. It may not be for lack of preparation but rather for the pace of running a non-profit, church, or business, our bosses rely on the fact that we as assistants are here for exactly these moments, (please understand this in the healthiest way) to drop everything and tend to these urgent needs. Sometimes life just happens, and when the unanticipated springs up, we are here to help care for people or get a task completed.
When people ask me what I do every day, I smile. Each day can be totally different. Sure, I have my consistent routines of responding to emails, scheduling appointments, sending cards, and taking meeting notes. However, what makes this job so exciting (and overwhelming at times) is that I enter each day never exactly sure what I will be responsible for accomplishing.
My boss is one of the most prepared people I know, so please understand my context when I shared the above quote, but truly “an unexpected opportunity, a last minute flight change, a family in a desperate situation, or an urgent conversation on their part IS what consitutes a change of priority on ours” and that is what assisting is all about — being there for when the unplanned circumstance arises to say, “I will take care of it. You can trust me to tend to this need, in an excellent and timely manner.”