No matter how important you think your job is or how high up the ladder you are, it’s very important that you always humble yourself and treat everyone with respect. You never know who you may need in the future, or who will be able to dictate your next career move.
Sometimes it is the assistants, the employees that are on the lower end of the corporate ladder, that really have more power than you think. These people, also known as the “gatekeepers”, are the ones that are in upper management’s ears, giving suggestions, looking over resumes, etc.
If you want to succeed in your job, get to know the assistants, the people that are not in upper management. Figure out how you can be of service to them, because by helping them, being respectful, and making a great impression, they can connect you with that supervisor or executive that you desire to work closely with in the future.
In a recent Breakfast Club interview, producer, author, preacher, and motivational speaker DeVon Franklin spoke of his humble career beginnings. “I started out as an unpaid intern working for Will Smith when I was 18. What I realized the first day that I showed up is that I didn’t know anything, so I figured ‘why don’t I serve?'” Devon said. “I thought ‘let me go to the assistants, find out what they need – do their filing, get their coffee order, lunch order’ – and that was what I did day by day. By servicing the assistants, that’s what ultimately helped me get the relationship with the principals of the company. This ultimately helped me get the relationship with people like Will Smith.”
Besides being the gatekeepers, sometimes these employees may be ranked lower than you on the corporate ladder, but could soon surpass you. This exact thing recently happened to a friend of mine. Someone that used to be her assistant eventually became her boss once she transitioned to a new department, on a new career path. When her former assistant worked for her, the assistant was in school, working on her second degree and a HR certification. Once she obtained both, she switched departments and became a recruiter. My friend, who was working in sales at the time, decided she wanted to change her career path and interviewed to work in HR. To her surprise, the person she interviewed with was her old assistant. Eventually when she got hired, her same former assistant became became her boss! Luckily for my friend, when her former assistant worked for her, she never treated her as “the help”, but instead treated her with respect and with a high level of professionalism.
You truly never know who you may need, or will have to work for one day, so always treat everyone with the highest respect.