I was (un)fortunate enough to be born in September, under the sign of Virgo. Anyone who has even the slightest knowledge of Astrology is probably aware that Virgos are known to be perfectionists, with an innate ability to annoy, irritate and generally get up people’s noses with their nit-picking attitudes. It is not that we do this intentionally (at least, not all the time …), but most of us have a tendency to find fault with almost anything, on the basis that it does not meet our lofty ideals and expectations. Fortunately, this is handy for admin work!
It’s OK to be a perfectionist – Admin work requires it!
Ever since I can remember, I have been good at spelling and writing, with an imagination which has very few boundaries. I pick up spelling and grammatical errors as easily as breathing. When reading articles in newspapers and magazines, my eye will inevitably hone in on the one incorrectly spelled word, which, of course, I simply HAVE to point out. After all, without a Virgo there to find fault, how will people ever learn the correct ways of working? The eye-rolling and exaggerated sighs of irritation from our peers at our ‘helpful’ suggestions has absolutely no impact on our intentions to return everything to its correct order. We are determined and very little will deter us. No wonder so many Virgo relationships can only survive for long periods with other Virgo or like-minded people!
But jokes aside, the ability to pick up errors in written communications is a vital element in many areas of life. I cannot, for instance, take seriously an advertisement or letter with spelling or grammatical errors. After all, if this is what a company is presenting to the public to attract clients and instil trust in new business relationships, then what sort of sloppy administration and ethics exist behind the scenes? If they cannot be bothered to proof-read or even check their own adverts, what effort will they put into looking after me, their client? This may sound unduly hard but, to me, it is a deciding factor in assessing the professionalism and dedication of the company itself. Technical and medical brochures and texts need to be word-perfect, unambiguous, concise and error-free. The writer often does not see his/her own mistakes, which is understandable, and this is where proof-readers are needed to check the material from a fresh perspective. Proof-readers do not need to be experts in the subject matter they are checking, but they DO need to be able to pick up ambiguities, spelling and grammatical errors, as well as common typographical mistakes.
Learn to express yourself adequately
It baffles me that so many people are unable to write letters, reports or simple prose. They might have the ideas and specialised knowledge of their subject, but cannot express themselves adequately so as to be clearly and unambiguously understood by their intended audience. Whilst this may be difficult for me to understand, it is a real and serious problem which needs to be resolved. The concept of “ghost-writing” for – and with – another person is certainly not new, and definitely fulfils a need which would otherwise prevent the dissemination of the subject matter to its intended audience.
The freedom to work from anywhere, distraction-free
With the introduction and rapid growth of the World Wide Web, many companies have opted to give their employees the freedom to work from their own home offices, this allowing both employer and employee additional benefits. The employer is not hampered by employees arriving late or leaving early and thus shortening their working day and productivity, does not have to provide often expensive office space, lunch, coffee and smoke breaks and is not hampered by office politics which inevitably disrupt smooth work flow and hinder output. The employee has the benefit of working around time-frames which do not include long commutes to and from work, is able to plan working days structured around family needs and emergencies, and probably achieves more production and results in a shorter time period without office interruptions.
For instance, I find that I achieve far more in a shorter period of steady uninterrupted work, where my concentration levels are focused on the task and my thought processes are therefore more cohesive and productive. Office environments are not always conducive to high concentration and production levels. I offer potential employers the advantages of an office which they do not pay for, employee beverages which cost them nothing, deadlines which can be structured and adhered to, and high levels of efficiency by working off-site. One might think that this way of working in relative isolation would have negative side-effects but this could not be further from the truth. Being able to structure your working day to suit both yourself and your employer in terms of production expectations and results is actually an empowering concept which allows for far more freedom and satisfaction than the regular 9.00 – 5.00 routine. In short, it works.
Love the work you do, and you’ll never work another day in your life
My job comes down to loving the work I do, being comfortable in my capabilities and skills, not being afraid to highlight areas which could be improved upon, and actually offering a solution rather than simply adding one more problem to the pile. It is a service lifestyle which produces positive outcomes for everyone involved. It is using both my learned and innate abilities to help others achieve their own objectives and results. Most importantly, admin work provides me with constant new challenges and opportunities to learn.
My job is self-made and self-perpetuating as professionalism never goes out of fashion. It offers ongoing opportunities to learn and grow in both my personal and business lives and, after all is said and done, who could ask for more?