Becky – Administrative Assistant

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AWIC interviewed different local professionals for an inside look into their work. You can learn more about Administrative assistants (NOC 1241 ) through a detailed Career Profile.

Becky Ewald is an Administrative Assistant with ELNOS located in Elliot Lake.

What does a typical day look like for you?

As an administrative assistant, I keep the office organized and up to date – so in a typical day I am answering phones, greeting walk-ins, maintaining stationary & supplies, checking emails, filing, recording & resolving tenant concerns, scheduling our boardroom and client appointments, and updating our website & social media. The tasks are fairly regular, but every day is different as you never know what will cross your desk!

What was the education and training needed for your job? Any additional training for your current position?

A high school diploma is all that is required for an Administrative Assistant. You may find it helpful to take some courses on the subject matter of your office industry so you can better understand the documents that come across your desk. Our office represents a local First Nation community, so we try to take advantage of any seminars that may help us learn how to build our relationship and serve them better.

Why and when did you choose this career? What have you learned since you started?

I started at my current position at the end of 2019, but have been in various types of administrative positions since High School. I love learning and I’ve found that this position provides the greatest opportunity for learning about all the different departments in an office. Working as an administrative assistant at various types of offices has given me a unique knowledge base of many industries and topics.

What skills do you have that make you great at your job?

I am highly organized, can multi-task and be flexible, and I know how to efficiently prioritize work. These skills are very important as your work is often interrupted by phones, walk-ins, and colleagues. I also work very well under pressure, am self-controlled, and can problem solve. This is key as you are the first person people speak to at your business, and not everyone is happy or pleased and they will often take it out on you. This is something almost every position faces, but as an administrative assistant, we have the opportunity to provide a listening and understanding ear and oftentimes can resolve the issue, making for a very happy client!

What is the biggest thing you have learned on the job?

Take advantage of every opportunity. Take the opportunity to learn about each department. Take the opportunity to network with clients & colleagues. Take the opportunity to do any training or courses made available to you.

What is the best part of your job?

You get the calm of routine in daily tasks and at the same time the excitement of the unknown of new things that come up – every day is the same, but every day is also different!

What is something challenging about your job?

Getting everything accomplished that you need to in the day in the midst of all the distractions. You are constantly pulled in different directions to assist other people, and that can make it hard to get your work completed some times. This is where organization and knowing how to prioritize work comes in handy!

What advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing the career?

Invest in a nice agenda. Writing everything down from schedules to to-do lists will always be a good idea! And surprisingly, it makes a difference if you think your agenda looks boring or has a sleek design. You want to be happy when you open that agenda because you’re going to use it all day, every day. So pick one that makes you feel good when you look at it!

How would you say COVID-19 has affected your day-today-work? (Job duties, commute, check-in process, etc.)

Our office has adjusted to mostly virtual meetings and our door is locked so we can ensure proper mask protocols and limit the number of people coming in. We tend to support a lot of events and fundraisers and there has definitely been a drop as well as being unable to do some of our own annual events.

What has it been like to be an essential worker during a world-wide pandemic?

I’m grateful that my job is secure as an essential worker. Our office has had the opportunity to support new & existing small businesses in our community, which has been inspiring and I’m glad to be a part of that.

Have you experienced loss or personal struggles since the beginning of the pandemic? How have you and your co-workers coped with working through the shut-down?

I have been very blessed during this time to have a good boss who is understanding and works with us to ensure we have what we need to do our job, but also not stress about things that can’t be controlled. I’m extremely introverted, so I’m lucky in that sense as I didn’t have the same mental and emotional struggles that a lot of people have been suffering through.

Could you share how being an essential worker during the pandemic has made this more personally fulfilling career?

As I mentioned, our office was able to support small businesses through this time financially through grant programs and loan suspensions. Being in an office that truly cares about people and is able to do things like this is very fulfilling. We also had the chance to help many new businesses open during the pandemic and it feels great to help people move forward with their dreams despite a pandemic and all that comes with it fighting against them. It’s been very inspiring – I know many other essential workers have faced mostly negative aspects of the pandemic, so I know I am blessed to have the career that I do.

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