Are You Getting Lost in a Support Role?

Michele Warg
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As an administrative assistant, you know you're a vital part of the office as opposed to just having a support role. Without you, some people may fall apart because you're not running the show. Here's how to tell if you have a support position in a company or if you serve a greater purpose, because it's all based on your attitude toward the work.

Career vs. Job

You may have a support role if you believe your administrative assistant position is just a paycheck. You bring home a regular salary, pay your bills, and do the same type of thing every week. You may call in sick every once in a while, or take a two-week vacation. In general, the regular work brings home money. Perhaps you always see yourself in another career or another position.

If you see your job as part of a larger industry, you may want to advance in your career path. Perhaps you want to elevate your role to an executive assistant later in life. Once you gain enough experience, you might find yourself as a virtual assistant or independent contractor who works at home. You might even run your own business as a placement service for administrative workers. Your career path has no limits if you embrace this type of work rather than see yourself in a support role.

Your Learning or Your Space

Perhaps you're there just to learn the ropes of a particular industry. You want to get your foot in the door in sales, marketing, advertising, acting or whatever field you choose. The administrative job is a means to an end so you can learn inside information about a particular industry. That's a support role on your way to another career track.

On the other hand, if you want to climb the ladder for administrative work, then own it. Make the job yours, turn your position into something irreplaceable and live the part. Attend conferences, become a leader in your field and fast track your way to better administrative positions in the future.


Take credit when it's due, no matter if you're in a support role or if you just see admin work as a stepping stone. When you understand the daily minutiae of your job, that translates well to a LinkedIn profile, personal brand and a resume. You may not get credit for everything at the office, but at least you know what your role means and what you get done at the office on a daily basis.


Do you want to make an impact on others with your job, or do you just want to stay invisible? You may see an administrative job as a profession unto itself if you make the office better because of your work. For example, you create a newsletter that the company didn't have until you worked there. Perhaps you have a group of admins who meet for lunch each week because of your leadership.

A support role versus an actual career are both about the attitude you have about your job. Either way, you learn the most from the experience when you do your best at the job every day.

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