The Revolutionary Assistant

The Revolutionary Assistant aims to be a partner to her manager. Fetching coffee and typing memos aren't her focus - she's fighting the good fight day by day with the boss, and she's getting things done.

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Revolutionary Reference

Revolutionary Reference

We've amassed years of administrative assistant knowledge here on this site, and it's time we share it with you.
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Revolutionary Quotes

Revolutionary Quotes

To say nothing, especially when speaking, is half the art of diplomacy. (Will Durant) Public speaking will get both you and your manager farther in your career.
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Apps for Success

Apps for Success

Video conference and desktop sharing are a breeze with FuzeBox. Save your company money on meeting travel using this great tool!
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Tips and Tricks

Tips and Tricks

Planning meetings across the globe? World Time Server is the best tool to ensure that you're not getting anyone out of bed to meet!
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Managing Travel Costs

It’s never been cheap to travel, but it seems like nowadays we’re getting socked with resort fees and other little incidentals that we’ve never had to worry about before.  If you book a hotel room for $200 a night, is it really fair to have to budget for $300, just because you don’t know what kind of fees they’re going to hit you with?

Travel providers are champions of the practice of “drip pricing” – that is, disclosing only a portion of a price up front, and then revealing add-ons during the purchasing process.  Airlines have long been the champions of drip pricing, but hotels and even car rental companies are getting in on the act.

As the travel manager for my company, I’ve done a little research about how to save money on business travel.  I can tell you, most of the ideas I see in articles are unrealistic at best.  In fact, I’ve come to the conclusion that the best you can do is be aware of these charges so you can plan accordingly, because there’s really nothing more that can be done.  Here are some common charges to plan for:

Baggage check fees – Unless you want to ship your luggage to your destination, you’re going to pay a fee to check your luggage with most airlines, probably to the tune of $25 each way.  Some airlines are still threatening to charge for carry-on bags as well, so watch out for that possibly coming down the pike!

Airline Taxes – I just flew overseas recently, and I was surprised to see that my $1200 airline ticket included $600 in federal taxes.  I thought, “It’s no wonder that airlines don’t make any money, they’re handing over most of my fare to the government!”  Booking sites like Travelocity and Expedia, as well as the business travel providers that you work with, are now required to disclose these fees, so they should no longer come as a surprise when booking.  Soon, they may have to disclose their baggage check fees and other incidental costs as well.  There’s a bill in Congress to that affect just waiting to be voted on.

Hotel Resort Fees and Other Charges – These fees are cropping up all over the place, even when the hotel you’re using doesn’t really qualify as a resort!  A recent article in Forbes even spoke about mandatory bellman tipping fees.  Watch when you book a hotel to make sure that you’re aware of all the fees you’ll be charged.  And don’t be afraid to challenge a fee you don’t think is right.  (Bellman fees?  Seriously!)

Car rental fees – Car rental companies are getting into the act, too.  They’ll charge fees for extra drivers (I make sure that we have a designated driver when we rent a car for a group), and they’ll charge additional fees if you’re picking up the car at the airport.  Of course, you can pick up the car at a city location to avoid airport fees, but then you’re likely to be subject to…

Taxi surcharges – Oh, yes, taxis are in on the act, too!  They’ll slap on charges for extra passengers, and sometimes even add on a little bit if you have luggage to deal with.  And if it’s not enough that your meter is ticking along while you’re sitting in rush hour traffic, some ground transportation services will add insult to injury by tacking on a little extra charge if you’re using them during rush hour.

So what’s a poor traveler to do?  Well, not much can be done when you’re sitting in the office and your manager is doing the traveling.  Sure, you can call the hotel after the fact and ask them to credit your boss’ bill for that stupid bellman tipping fee, but it’s more effective if your manager notices it on his bill and does the arguing at the hotel when he’s checking out.

Airline tickets are always cheaper during non-peak travel hours, so if you can talk your manager into flying at 6AM or midnight, that’s also a plus.  But who wants to do that?  It’s best just to be aware of the fees, to plan accordingly so that you’re aware of how much your manager’s trip will REALLY cost!

Next Post:  Wednesday, June 18

Onboaring for Co-Worker Success

An organization is built of good people who are solid performers, and those solid performances start on the employee’s first day on the job.  That’s why “onboarding” is such an important piece of the employee life-cycle.  Any human resources department worth their salt certainly has an onboarding program in place for new employees, but even so, your manager and his team are responsible for a good part of that initiation process.

A Revolutionary Assistant can ensure that her manager’s new employees are prepared to deliver great results for the boss by overseeing the onboarding process and making sure that the newbie gets the “full treatment.”  Per the Society for Human Resources Management, onboarding is dependent on the “Four Cs:”

  • Compliance – The part of onboarding that deals with the rules and regulations of the organization’s industry and the company’s policy.
  • Clarification – Making sure that an employee understands the expectations of his new position.
  • Culture – Providing an employee with a sense of formal and informal organizational norms and giving him a sense of understanding for the company’s “personality.”
  • Connection – Assisting the employee in building the relationships and networks that will make him successful

Most companies will cover compliance and even clarification with a new employee, but there are many times when the last two “Cs” are overlooked in the process.  Here are some hints that can help move the onboarding process from good to great and give your new employee the foothold he needs to be a successful part of your team:

Complete administrative paperwork before the employee’s start date – Take advantage of technology and get those forms into the hands of your new hire before he starts.  This will allow you more time to cover important job information and introduce him to important connections.

Set up the new employee’s workspace – Making sure that the computer is ready to go, that the email account is up and running and the cell phone is in working order will help the new guy get up and running quickly.  If his work area hasn’t been used in a while, clean it up for him so that he’s not sitting down to a dusty, sticky desk.  That’ll definitely make a good first impression.

Schedule face-to-face meetings for the employee and his team – It’s important that he meets all his key contacts as soon as possible.  Two or three meetings a day will set a good pace without overwhelming him, as he’ll be trying to learn new names and connecting people with their responsibilities.

Allow for some social time – A team lunch or a cocktail hour at the end of the week to welcome the new employee will go a long way toward creating good will.  It will also allow him to establish a good foundation for work relationships.

Ensure that the new employee has all the team meetings on his calendar – Important company-wide and department meetings should be on his schedule, so he doesn’t look up and find that everyone is gone off to a conference room but him.

Sit with your manager about the new employee – Does your manager need assistance covering the expectations for the employee’s first 90 days?  Does he need your assistance in creating an outline of goals and objectives for the employee?  Asking these questions will prompt the creation of these documents and the discussions that your manager should have with the employee about them.

Give an office tour – Take the employee around and introduce him.  Make sure he knows where restrooms are and who’s “in the know” about the office goings on (that’s you, right?).  When you provide the tour, point out the company’s charitable work and the activities and groups your company supports.  If there’s an employee group for women or diverse employees, let him know.  If there’s a bowling tournament in a week, clue him in: he might have a 250 average!

Onboarding your manager’s employees the right way will set up the whole team for success.  Make sure the new guy knows what’s what, and make sure he knows that he can come to you when he needs something.  You’ll really be helping to smooth out those new job jitters and ensure a productive start to this new chapter in the employee’s career!

Next Post:  Wednesday, June 4

Get Around To Kicking the Procrastination Habit

I am a champion when it comes to procrastinating.  I tell my manager that I’m a perfectionist and that I’ll get him that project when I take one last look at it, but in truth, I’m probably spending a whole lot of time treating that project like Pee Wee’s snakes in the burning pet shop.

Procrastination is leaving the undesirable things for a “later you” in favor of instant gratification for the “now you.”  For instance, when I have a PowerPoint to create that’s going to take time and energy, I will often put that aside and clean up my inbox, answering some pestering questions and deleting messages until it looks pretty and manageable.  It only takes about an hour to do that, but the PowerPoint will take three or four hours of uninterrupted concentration and creativity.  That sounds like something “later me” can deal with while “now me” basks in a glory of productivity.

But we’ve all heard about that Stanford marshmallow experiment.  You’ve heard about it, right?  It was a psychological study where children were offered a small treat now, or they could wait about 15 minutes or so until the researcher returned and get two treats.  Done in the late 1960s and early 1970s, these children were followed for years, and it was found that those that elected to wait for two treats were more successful in life.

The moral of the story: don’t put off that ugly project for “later you.”  Do it now, because procrastinators are less likely to be successful.  And that’s not you!

I have to admit, once I jump into that “snake in the burning pet shop” project, I usually find that it’s not so bad.  So how do I make myself get to it right away?  Here are a couple of helpful hints:

Start with the biggest, ugliest project at the beginning of the day – If you do the hard stuff first, you’ll be fresh and have a clear head, and tackling the project will be easier.  You’ll also have a lot to look forward to with all the fun, easier tasks at the end of the day.

Get up early – To go along with the hint above, if you get up early, it’s nice and still in the house/office.  You’ll get more done, and the work will go faster, if there are less interruptions.

Set up reminders – If you know you need to jump into a task and complete it, there’s nothing like a nudging iPhone our Outlook reminder to pester you into finishing it.  Of course, we could be like kids and have our moms do this for us, but if mom’s told you to grow up, this could be the next best thing.

Make yourself accountable – When other people are expecting you to have a project done, you’re less likely to put it off.  Shout your intentions from the rooftop and have some faithful friends and co-workers check in with you to make sure you’re following through.

Eliminate electronic distractions – Shut off your social network feeds and close your email program.

Make lists – I am a list-aholic, driven by accomplishment.  If the task is on my list, it’s going to get done.  I actually even fake myself out on the list – I’ll put “take a shower” on it, knowing that it’ll give me something to cross off.  A list with a bunch of crossed off items…well, it brings tears to my eyes, it’s so beautiful.

Are you a chronic procrastinator?  Well, maybe you want to dig a little deeper into why you do what you do (or don’t do).  I encourage you to take a look at “How to Quit Procrastination Once and For All” by Leo Babuta on  He’ll give you a lot to contemplate.

Allow yourself to be even more successful and stop procrastinating right now!

Next Post:  Wednesday, May 28

Helping Your Manager Encourage Meeting Participation

I’m back on my Harvard Business Review blog again, and I read a great article by Andy Molinsky, “Encourage Foreign-Born Employees to Participate More in Meetings.”  Here are some of the points he made about why our non-native counterparts might not chime in during meetings:

  • The culture of the country from which the employee came does not look fondly on, or considers it inappropriate, to speak one’s mind in front of others.
  • Joining in the conversation requires that an employee has a better command of language than he perhaps feels he has.
  • She just doesn’t have the personality that would allow her to speak up.

As I was reading the article, I could definitely understand why it might be a challenge for a manager to successfully encourage a foreign-born employee to talk.  But I know a lot of wallflowers born right here in the United States that could really have an impact on their organization’s direction if they just spoke up a little bit!  How can you help your manager get the most from his whole group?

Here are a few suggestions:

Help those who are not clear understand what participation in a meeting looks like – As Andy Molinsky mentioned in his article, “Make it clear…what effective participation looks like:  point them to models of others who participate [in meetings] effectively and connect them with mentors who can help them learn the tricks of the trade.” Additionally, your manager can start the meeting by providing participation guidelines and expectations.  Write out some bullet points to give him a head start!

Frame the quiet meeting attendee as the expert in his area and solicit his response – Your manager might be more successful with a quiet meeting attendee if he points out to that attendee and the rest of the group that his perspective is unique and his opinion valued because of the knowledge he possesses on the subject.  When you’re preparing the agenda, you can star areas where you feel your manager might be able to coax participation from certain quiet members.

Link the results of group participation to actual business results – Help your manager do this when you’re preparing the agenda and reviewing the minutes from the last meeting.  Did John or Sue mention something in last week’s meeting that was put into action and resulted in an uptick in numbers?  Remind your manager to say something about that in the next meeting.  The group will realize very quickly that participation equals results.

Acknowledge – don’t discount! – participants’ contributions – When your manager says, “That’s a good point!” or “Please go on,” he appears to be engaged with what the group is saying and will encourage the meeting attendees to say more.  Conversely, saying, “That’s irrelevant,” or “Is there anything else?” will discourage participation.

Intentionally keep quiet during a meeting – People hate silence!  If your manager poses a question, he might be tempted to keep talking when no one comments.  Sometimes the pregnant pause is just enough to get other people talking.  And maybe they’ve just been waiting for a chance to speak up!

Give people who are reluctant to participate an extra boost – An unusually quiet person might need to be encouraged and supported more than your manager thinks.  Schedule time for him to sit down with his direct report and find out exactly what’s so intimidating or unpalatable about participating in meetings.  Is it the high level of assertiveness, the directness?  Finding out more about it, and talking about it one-on-one, might be the start of solving the problem.

Everyone is walking around with a good idea, and it’s that good idea that might take your organization’s success to the next level.  Help your manager get people talking in meetings, so those ideas are uncovered sooner rather than later!

Next Post:  Wednesday, May 14

Dealing With Change in the Workplace

A fear of change certainly isn’t a new thing.  People will stay in jobs, stay with companies, stay in marriages…all because it’s familiar and they’ve invested time they don’t want to “throw to the curb.”  Sometimes that’s a good reason to resist change, but most of the time, it’s not.

Change has to happen in order to keep up with the times and keep things fresh.  Your business has to navigate change to stay competitive in today’s market.  So how do you help your employees understand that change is good – not something to be scared of?  We already talked about helping your manager understand the benefit of leveraging change agents, but there is more that can be done!

Your manager has a big job on his hands when he’s initiating change in his area, but here are a few things he can do to make sure that he’s successful (and that his people don’t freak out!).

Make sure everyone understands the need for change – If your team doesn’t understand that change is necessary, they won’t be behind it.  Ensure that your group understands that if you don’t make some changes, you won’t stay competitive or you won’t stay in business.

Assemble a team of people to lead the change – Like having “change agents” in your corner, you should have a team of people – including team leaders or even senior leadership – that helps put that change into motion.  Your team should represent all areas the change will touch.  If the change is company-wide that means you should have someone from every discipline from finance to distribution in the room.  If you know of someone who’s an agent of change, help your manager by suggesting that this person is added, even if he’s not a leader.

Communicate the change as a vision – A sentence or a even a slogan that sums up the goals of your change and the future vision of your area will do wonders for keeping people on track.  Communicate it often.  As a Revolutionary Assistant, you can help your manager by taking charge of these messages, the cadence with which they’re broadcast, etc.

Be compassionate – Your manager should understand that people have legitimate concerns and fears, and he or she should do everything possible to quell those concerns.  Not only is it the right thing to do from a human standpoint, but worry is unproductive and can get in the way of the project.

Remove obstacles – A manager clears the way for his team to get work done, and executing change is no exception to the rule.

Measure results – Your manager should have plans to collect and interpolate hard data in order to support the change initiative.  That data will go a long way toward continued buy-in from upper management and his team.  If hard data isn’t a part of the plan, encourage your manager to think a little harder about it!

Celebrate wins along the way – It’s better if you don’t just have the big goal in your sites.  Break the whole change project down into bite sized pieces, and celebrate when each one of them is complete.  That will increase your team’s buy in.

Bringing about change in your business can be easier than you thought, even if your culture is one that’s naturally resistant to change.  Give these hints a try and see if you and your manager can’t create something fabulous that helps your business grow and get to the next level.

Next Post:  Wednesday, May 14

We’ve Got A New Look for Administrative Professionals’ Day!

Happy Administrative Professionals Day, and welcome to the NEW Revolutionary Assistant.  We’ve got the same great content, but now we’re adding so much more!

Our blog entry is still front and center on our new home page, so you can check out what we’re talking about every week, right here in this spot.  But now we’ve added new Revolutionary Reference Pages to make it easy to find helpful administrative information that will help you be a better partner to your manager.  All our information is organized there for easy, at-your-fingertips research on topics you need to know more about.

We also have three more new areas at the bottom that we think you’ll really like:

Revolutionary Quotes are quotes that we really like here at Revolutionary Assistant.  An inspirational saying or thoughtful observation is sometimes just what we need to get through the day.  On top of that, we’ll pull a link to a related article from our wayback machine to go along with it!

Revolutionary Tips will hone in on a handy practice that you can put into action right away.  It might be a quick key stroke in MS Word or a clever calendar management trick, but it’ll be guaranteed to make your life easier!

Revolutionary Apps highlights a cool mobile application that is guaranteed to make a difference in how you do your job.  Mobile is here to stay and growing every day.  Keep up with the apps that can help you look like a movie star!

We hope you enjoy our new look!

Next post:  Wednesday, April 30

Help Your Manager Stop Flying Around The Office Like A Maniac

There are never enough hours in a day to accomplish all we want to, and that’s especially true when you look at your manager’s list of tasks and try to fit every part of it into the day.  Sometimes, it just can’t happen.  Sometimes you have to prioritize and let some people down easy.

Even when you prune your list to the bare minimum, it still seems there aren’t enough hours in the work day to conquer it all.  After all, sometimes things HAVE to be done.  Your manager is needed in two places at once.  A presentation needs to be completed, an RFP filed with an organization your company really wants to do business with.  Time stops for no one.

Sometimes time management tips aren’t enough.  If you need time management magic, here are some suggestions you and your manager might want to put into action:

Take 20 minutes every morning to plan your day – Sit down with your manager and your morning coffee and figure out what you need to do and when.  Block your manager’s calendar, and dedicate the time blocked for the task to which it’s dedicated.

Don’t answer the phone or check your emails compulsively – Plan time for phone and email just like you would any other task, for both you and your manager.  Phone and emails compete for attention with important projects, and they have to be prioritized as well.  Unless you see someone very important pop up on your caller ID, let it go to voice mail.

Try establishing office hours for your staff and co-workers – Office hours, just like your professors had in college, are for planned interruptions.  It’s an hour or two of your manager’s time when people can file in without an appointment and start that conversation that’s going to take 20 minutes of his time.  This is a very successful habit I learned while I was at Google. Not only does it save your productivity time, it cuts down on other meetings your manager might be dragged into.  Give it a try!

Hang a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your doorknob – If your manager is seen sitting “idle” he’s likely to be interrupted.  Let everyone know he’s  working on a project and need to focus.  They’ll understand, and maybe they’ll adopt the habit, too!

Build in margin time – If you build slack time into your manager’s calendar, you’ll have something to go to when that important meeting comes up.  It’s the breathing room he needs when meetings run over and unexpected issues rear their ugly heads.

Be the bulldog for meeting start and end times – Your manager might take an extra five minutes here or there to meet with someone, and it’s your job as the Revolutionary Assistant to make sure that meetings start and end on time.  When the first meeting of the day runs 65 minutes, the next meeting has to start five minutes late (and probably end five minutes late, too!)  Pretty soon, your manager’s stressed out and missing important face time with people on his calendar.  Nip the “running over” in the bud to keep the stress at a minimum.

Keep your time estimates accurate – I’m forever being told to put 30 minutes on the calendar so that my manager can meet with our investors.  Those meetings never run less than 45 minutes.  I will purposely not book anything for 60 minutes just to make sure that he has enough time to have the conversation he needs to have.  He underestimates that time, but I give him a much needed cushion.

If your manager is flying low in the office, these helpful hints might be just what he needs to come in for a stress-free landing and get some work done!

Next Post:  Wednesday, April 23

Nailing Punctuality

Make promises you can keep.

Really, that’s what punctuality is all about, isn’t it?  Making a promise to be somewhere at a certain time, and actually being there.  So why is it so hard?

People who are chronically late share some common characteristics.  They will underestimate how long a task will take, or misjudge the passage of time.  They are sometimes just overly optimistic about how much they can get done in a certain amount of time, or maybe they like the power trip they get from knowing someone is waiting on them.  Whether your motivation is honorable or not so nice, if you’re not punctual, you’re being less than thoughtful.

If you’re like me, you want to be thoughtful and considerate of other people’s time.  Not only that, but being punctual makes you look like you’re in control, shows integrity and shows respect for others.  And that’s not a bad professional image to convey.

So here are some hints on how you can be more punctual in your work and home life:

Wake up when the alarm goes off – Being on time is harder when you start your day behind the 8 ball.  If you’re rushing to get out the door, you’re already at a disadvantage, so pop out of bed when the alarm goes off and give yourself plenty of time to look and feel your best.

Stay on top of local weather and traffic reports – Being caught on the road longer than you want to be just adds stress to your day, and that’s no way to kick it off.

Check directions before you leave to go somewhere – Nothing saves you time and anguish like knowing where you’re going.  Even if you have a GPS that leads you by the nose to your destination, it’s helpful to look at a map and get your bearings.

Be realistic about how much time a meeting or activity will take – If you’re like my manager and ask for 30 minute meetings to discuss a subject that will take 45 minutes to cover, do yourself a favor and plan for 45 minutes (or even an hour).  If you find that you’re unable to determine what will put you behind schedule, just add some time in to be sure you’ve got it covered.

If you’re unsure of your estimates, spend a week timing your regular activities so you’re fully aware of how much time you really need.

Arrive 10 to 15 minutes early for every appointment – You may think that’s a waste of time, especially if you’re one of those people that try to cram more into your day than actually fits.  Well, you can still cram if you plan ahead!  I get all of my business periodicals and whitepapers electronically, and I take that extra 10-15 minutes and get some of my reading done on my iPad.  It makes me feel like I’m still accomplishing something, even when I’m waiting.

Try making appointments off-hour – A meeting at 3:10 says “My time is precious!” and people will be more likely to show up on time for it.  True story!  It’s the same case for you – holding a meeting at 3:10 conveys a psychological urgency that will have you showing up on time as well.  Give it a try and see if it works!

Punctuality conveys respect and dependability, and that’s what being a Revolutionary Assistant is all about.  Make your on-time arrival a priority no matter what you’re doing, and your friends and co-workers will appreciate you all the more.

Next Post:  Wednesday, April 16





The Person I Work With Is Awful – What Do I Do?

I feel your pain.  It’s no fun when someone you work with – a colleague or even a manager – makes your entire day unpleasant.  I remember times when I’ve dreaded even going into the office and thought about quitting just because I didn’t want to face the evil and nastiness that was inevitably going to be hurled at me.

Everything you read about mean people in the office advise you to do the same thing.  Take the high road.  Very difficult when what you really want to do is take a two-by-four and swing it upside her head.  Still, it’s very good advice to heed if you want to stay in good standing with your organization.  Here are some steps you can take on your way to (hopefully) solving your issue:

Don’t retaliate – You may want to scream and swing that two-by-four, but that only adds fuel to the fire and makes your adversary feel powerful.  Besides, yelling and screaming just puts you down at her level, and it’s easier for her to make you look like the bad guy that way.

Confront her – Take the person aside and let her know that her behavior is bothering you, or even ask her why she’s so intent on making your life at work miserable.  Express interest in resolving the conflict, and dodge her cheap shots.  Remember, she just says those things to get under your skin.  Put the two-by-four down…

Think hard before you approach Human Resources – If you go this route, you’ve hit the point of no return, especially if the other person is ranked higher than you in the organization.  Choose this option only when real harassment is an issue.

Don’t let her chip away at your confidence – When you have someone telling you all day long that you’re worthless and mean, you may start to believe it.  After all, bullies like her are trying to make themselves look bigger and better than you, right?  Remind yourself that you are the better person because you don’t retaliate and fight back.

Don’t badmouth her behind her back – Lunch room conversations will get back to her, for sure, but beyond that, most of your co-workers will want to remain neutral in this issue.  If she hasn’t given them a reason to hate her, you’re not going to give them a reason to hate her by telling them your woes.  Best to stay quiet on the matter, or even find someone outside the office to confide in, just so you can vent and keep your sanity.

Move along and leave her in your past – If you’ve tried to resolve the conflict but just can’t put up with it any longer, it may be time for you to move on.  Look to another department or, if worse comes to worst, you may even choose to move on to another company.  Better that you remove yourself from the situation and leave yourself in good stead with the company than make a bad name for yourself by getting out that two-by-four.

Remember, too, that sometimes this behavior is a sign of insecurity or a sign that the person is dealing with difficult issues in her personal life.  Not an excuse for this kind of behavior, of course, but keep that in mind when you confront her.  Bad behavior can be a cry for help, and taking the approach above will keep you from adding insult to injury.

I hope these hints are helpful to you as you try to conquer this issue.  Work should be a nice place to go.  Don’t let your awful co-workers take that away from you!

Next Post:  Wednesday, April 9







Following Your Boss to a New Job

We Revolutionary Assistants and our managers work like well-oiled cogs in a machine, and so when the boss decides to take a position with a different organization, we can find it very jarring and disruptive to our lives.  After all, breaking in a manager takes time, and once you learn her personality and habits you’re really clicking.  Building a new partnership with another manager sets you back and square one…and then it might not even be successful.

What makes you feel better?  Those words, “I’d like you to come with me.”

Yay!  You think your manager is great and want the partnership to continue.  It seems like a no-brainer.  But is a move to a new company really the right one for you and your career?  Here’s some good advice to follow:

Check out your manager’s new company thoroughly – Find out everything you can about the new company.  Is it a start-up with great potential or a solid company that’s been in business for fifty years?  Start-ups are great if you’re a risk-taker, but if you appreciate financial security, this might not be the right move.  Ask yourself if you’d consider a position with this company if your manager weren’t moving there.

Talk with people who work at your manager’s new company – Discover what you can about the culture and atmosphere.  Does it match your work style?  Perhaps they’re all in the office at dawn-thirty and don’t leave until midnight each day.  Or maybe they don’t advocate the same kind of flexible schedules you currently have. Whatever their culture, make sure that it fits well with your habits and the other expectations you need to meet in your life.

Make sure your manager is leaving for the right reasons – Usually we Revolutionary Assistants have a handle on who’s worth their salt in the office, but make sure your manager isn’t on the verge of being laid off or fired, or is just leaving for the wrong reasons.  Following your manager to a new company means being tied to his reputation.  You don’t want to put yourself in a position to be dragged down.

If you do move with your manager, make lots of new friends – People who are hired as a team can easily be fired as a team, so make sure you establish a new network quickly.  Being well-liked, helpful and otherwise indispensible can help you keep your position even if your manager is let go.

Are you deviating from your career goals? – If your manager is moving into a different position, you need to consider if the work you’ll be doing is beneficial to your long term goals.  Will you learn new skills in this position, or will you be stepping back to a level you haven’t seen in a few years?

How long does your manager intend to stay with this new company? – Is this just a two-year stop on his career trajectory?  If his potential won’t be filled in this new position and he just moves on again in a couple years, you’ll be uprooted again or left to navigate this new place of employment on your own.

It’s such a nice feeling when your manager asks you to follow her to a new company.  And if your relationship is good – and the stars are all aligned for you – you should definitely make the move.  After all, good partnerships are hard to find!

Next post:  Wednesday, April 2