Dear YPG: I’ve been at my job for a year. Should I be worried if I am doing the same things as the other new assistants are?

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Dear-YPG-logoDear YPG: I’ve been at my job for a year. Should I be worried if I am doing the same things as the other new assistants are? I feel like I am behind the curve.

Dear Year On the Job,

One important thing to remember is there is no one, right path when it comes to navigating a publishing career. Especially at the assistant level, job duties can vary widely depending on the needs of your department. However, the best person to discuss your progress with is your direct supervisor. This can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be! There are several things you can do before your meeting to help the conversation feel less intimidating.

  • Ask your supervisor for a career development meeting While annual reviews are a natural moment for career progress conversations, they are by no means the only time. Instead of having a formal office sit-down, consider inviting your supervisor to coffee or lunch. Sometimes stepping outside the building can help break both parties out of their traditional roles and put you both at ease to talk about the office dynamics.
  • Prepare before you meet – Before you go in for your meeting, make a list of the points you hope to address in the conversation such as:

    Does your supervisor think you are on course for your current career track?

    Are there additional areas where your manager feels your work can improve, or are there projects or opportunities where he or she hopes you could step up?

    Have your supervisor’s expectations for you changed? (Sometimes job duties can alter over time especially if a manager’s own role has transitioned like they received a promotion)

  • Think about what YOU want – Prior to the conversation, it’s also a good idea to think about your goals for your current role:

    Do you feel ready to acquire?

    Are there specific projects where you’d like to take on more responsibility?

    Does your manager have any advice for helping you achieve your own career goals?

    Understanding what you hope to achieve from your position demonstrates that you take your work seriously. It also might help your manager identify new opportunities for you to hone your skills now that they know what areas you hope to strengthen.

While it can be nerve-wracking to approach your boss, a productive conversation about goals can go a long way to helping you feel more fulfilled in your current position—or even help you make the next steps to advance your career. Just remember, everyone’s career goals and paths are unique. Good luck on your publishing journey!

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