Dear YPG: Should I be worried if I am not doing the same things as other new assistants?

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Are you secretly still not sure about the difference between an ARC and a galley? Do you cringe at the thought of someone asking you what a kit mailing entails? Are you curious about how a sales call actually works, but too afraid to ask?

Have no fear—Dear YPG is here! Like your older sibling who has all the answers, YPG experts are ready to dish out the knowledge in our advice column. Whether you’re wondering about the ins and outs of acquisitions, how to survive New York on a publishing budget, or anything in between, send us your pressing publishing questions via this anonymous form or Tweet them to us @YoungtoPub using the hashtag #DearYPG.

Dear YPG: I’ve been at my job for a year. Should I be worried if I am not doing the same things as the other new assistants are? I feel like I am behind the curve.

Dear Year On the Job,

The best person to discuss your progress with is your direct supervisor. This can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Before you ask for an informal chat—preferably outside the office and over coffee to make it feel less intimidating—make a list of points you want to address.

Does she think you are on course for where you should be at this point in your role?

Is there more you should be doing or thinking about?

Have her expectations changed for you? (This can happen if your boss’s role changes, i.e. she gets promoted.)

You should also think about what YOU want out of your position. Are you ready to acquire? Then you should ask her about that, and what steps you need to take to reach that goal. What other goals do you have? Ask her about them and any advice she can give.

These types of conversations often happen during your annual review, which means that issues or concerns aren’t necessarily addressed in a timely manner. You don’t, and shouldn’t, wait for a review to bring up concerns. Often, managers don’t know what you want or are thinking until you tell them.

But in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t help to compare yourself to others. Everyone’s career goals and paths are unique. Good luck on your publishing journey!

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