Title: Save the Assistants: A Guide to Surviving and Thriving in the Workplace
Author: Lilit Marcus
Genre: Non-fiction, Business/Career Advice
Publication Date: 2010
Purchase Price: $15.00 (paperback)
In a post-The Devil Wears Prada world, the job of Abused Assistant has gained a lot of attention. Chronically overworked and underappreciated, assistants often have little recourse but to band together and muscle through the long hours with only the promise of happy hours and a job offer.
Save the Assistants is part horror story, part career advice, and completely a tribute to assistants everywhere.
Workin’ 9 to 5
Because The Gloss (where Marcus is now editor) tends to be a little silly most of the time, I don’t think I was expecting this book to go that same direction.
It’s true that there are lots of funny bits, but overall Save the Assistants is actually a remarkably good reference for anyone who is up to their eyeballs in their first job (no matter the position).
Marcus spends the first few pages talking about the phenomenon in which a person gets their college education, and enters the Big Wide World just knowing that they’ll be successful…only to end up with a job whose main duties involve making coffee and “fannying about with the press releases” (alluding to another good story). No wonder the older generation thinks kids today feel entitled: we’ve been duped into thinking that a college degree is the magic bullet that gets us the perfect job, but all we can find in this economy (with no previous experience) is something for which we feel we are overqualified.
There are several horror stories submitted by assistants; there are quizzes like “What TV Assistant Are You?” and “How Beleaguered Are You?” and definitions of phrases such as “Going Assistantal” and “The Combo Job.”
But sprinkled in all the humor is genuine advice on how to make it through your first job: what to do to break the ice with co-workers, how to deal with a horrible boss, and how to tell the difference between a job and a career.
Thankfully my first job is proving to be exciting, challenging, and rewarding, and I’m lucky to have a great boss who boosts me up rather than tearing me down; but I still mined some great gems from Save the Assistants, and I think you should check it out, too.
“Remember the first time you had sex? A job is sort of like that: you romanticize it, you fantacize about it, you’re convinced that once you do it you’re going to feel different and glamorous and important, and then…eh. But luckily your career, like your sex life, will improve. It just takes some practice.” (p. 4)
Do you have any horror stories from your first job? What advice would you give your younger self if you could?