Helping executive assistants break through the limitations of their role and advance to their next level with confidence

Kate Minogue, Executive Assistant Career Strategist
Executive Assistant Career Strategist

Executive Assistants: How Do You Know When It’s Time To Make A Change?

Let’s talk about Change Cravings. If timing is everything – then how do you actually know when it’s time to start thinking about something new?

There are all kinds of good reasons to keep your Executive Assistant role as is. You’re really good at it, it gives you stability and security, you’re appreciated by your team, you get a wide variety of assignments, you’re paid well – and you’re not really sure what’s next, anyway.

But even if you don’t have a good reason to make a change, even if you don’t have a clue as to what you might want instead, you might still be experiencing the symptoms of Change Cravings.

Change Cravings

I like to think of Change Cravings as the first little nudges from your inner guidance that it’s time to start considering a move in a new direction. If ignored, the nudges don’t go away. Instead they start feeling more insistent, tugging on your arm to get your attention, eventually getting louder and stronger until you simply can’t ignore them.

Here are 4 symptoms that might indicate you’re experiencing Change Cravings:

  1. You start feeling a vague sense of restlessness.
    You can’t quite put your finger on it – but work just isn’t giving you the same sense of satisfaction anymore. Things that used to give you a sense of accomplishment aren’t feeling so rewarding. You come home at the end of the day and wonder, “Did I actually accomplish anything?”

    Coming back to work after the weekend or a vacation, you don’t feel refreshed and ready to rock. Instead, you’re feeling more of a vague sense of dread.

    Vague restlessness is one of the easiest signs of Change Cravings to ignore. It’s not logical; you’ve got a great gig here, so why should you feel any discontentment? You can tell yourself that you’re just in a funk and that it will go away. The problem is, vague restlessness doesn’t go away. In fact, it just gets worse with each passing month.

  2. It seems to take more and more energy to make yourself finish those expense reports.
    The more tedious tasks of your job are requiring even more willpower to start. You know they still need to be done; you know they can’t wait. But why is it feeling like pushing a hundred pound boulder up a hill these days? The spark that used to drive you to knock off the usual care & feeding tasks and look for new ways to help is feeling a bit dull. It’s not that you don’t care. It’s just that you’re… bored.

  3. You want a snack all the time at work, even when you’re not really hungry.
    Are thoughts of cookies and chips dancing in your brain? Are you thinking about lunch at 10:00 am? Is the communal basket of Halloween candy feeling like the brightest spot in your afternoon?

    There’s nothing wrong with your appetite. You don’t need to go on a diet. It’s not that you don’t have discipline.

    The problem is that you’re hungry for something food won’t satisfy. And the diet you need to go on is a diet of doing things that feel like fun and absorb your attention.

    And you have no shortage of discipline – you’ve been keeping your nose to the grindstone 8 hours or more every day, putting in serious energy even when the tasks aren’t giving you energy back.

  4. Social media is becoming more tempting.
    Instagram… the New York Times… Facebook… <insert your internet time sink temptation of choice here>. You never used to spend time on these sites at work. And it’s not like you don’t have enough work to do to keep you busy. So why is it that lately you keep feeling the urge to click over and take a scrolling break?

So let’s say you’ve got a case of the Change Cravings…

But Is It The Right Time For A Change?

If you’re feeling any of these symptoms, don’t stress! I’m not recommending that you start sprucing up your LinkedIn page and get busy looking for a new job.

Sometimes initiating a big change – like seeking and start a new job – just isn’t practical. You may be experiencing Change Cravings, but it might feel like the absolutely wrong time for them, considering everything else you have going on in your life. Change is almost always disruptive in some way and a disruption on the work front may not serve you at this particular time.

More importantly, the answer to your Change Cravings might not be a new job anyway. It may have to do with your overall work/life balance. It may have to do with finding the courage to start writing your book or taking that stand-up comedy class. It may have to do with how much time you leave for yourself after taking care of everyone else in your life – partner, kids, boss, etc.

When Change Cravings strike, the best thing to do is to start listening.

When the symptoms kick up, begin a practice of asking yourself: what do I need? What do I want? If I could be doing something else right now, what would it be?

The answers might be immediately evident. And in that case, rock on, my friend! If you’re feeling the nudge and you know which way to go, what are you waiting for?

If you’ve got valid reasons to wait, then by all means, wait away. Only YOU know what’s best for you. But keep an eye on your change craving symptoms. If they get stronger, that’s a clue that it’s time to start gently questioning your reasons for waiting.

But if you’re like a lot of executive assistants considering their next move, the answer to the questions “What do I need? What do I want? What else would I like to do?” probably won’t be crystal clear at first. That’s okay!

In that case, it might not be time to make a change yet.

What If I Just Need a Change?

There’s nothing wrong with making a change for its own sake. But in order to sustainably satisfy your Change Cravings, your new direction will need to bring you closer to what you really want.

Otherwise, you’re just going to end up with another wicked case of the Change Cravings sooner rather than later. And if you’ve just recently made a big change, it might be more inconvenient to make another one again soon.

So if you’re going to take on the challenge and the disruption of a change, why not make it worth your while and take the time to understand what it is you actually desire?

In other words, make the change that’s going feed your soul. It’s amazing how the dreaded 3 pm munchies just don’t seem to hit as hard when you’re nourished from the inside out.

You’re Invited…

Change Cravings are an invitation. They’re inviting you to acknowledge your feelings. They’re inviting you to possibilities you might not have been ready for a year ago.

Start noticing when the symptoms strike. Experiment with what eases them. You can also try this simple trick to begin understanding what you might be craving.

What are some other symptoms of Change Cravings that you’re experiencing? What do you think they might be telling you? I’d love to hear from you!


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