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To take an admin job? Can they ever become something more? WWYD?

(28 Posts)
ConfusedCareerWoman Sat 22-Nov-14 12:44:09

Has anyone here had the experience of starting off in an admin position, but turning it into something high flying and lucrative?

I'm stuck. I left an account executive job in PR having been in that line of work for 2 years, and I am not sure I want to go back into it, but I know that if I stay out of it too long it won't be easy to get back into. I don't know if it's really for me.

An admin position has come up in a field I really like and the money (£25K) is better than I was getting in PR. There would be a small amount of marketing and sales involved, but I don't know if I will just be pigeon holed as admin/ reception and no room for movement.

What would you do in my shoes? Take the admin job, or stick with PR to see if I get on better with another agency?

Does anyone have interesting stories about where you went from an admin type position?

Overthehillmum Sat 22-Nov-14 12:52:34

I was an admin assistant on 3.50 an hour 16 years ago, I gradually took more and more of my bosses work on, loved it, I took an HNC, HND and them an honours degree through day release and night school, I am now fully qualified, and earn in excess of 70k a year ! Been a hard slog, was a single parent and totally skint when I started. Love my job too.

TheWhispersOfTheGods Sat 22-Nov-14 12:58:58

All the admin staff at work who wanted to move into other roles (i work in media so similar to your background) have been very supported to do so, also means usually that senior people know and like you amd will help you where they can.

I'd go for it.

TheFirstOfHerName Sat 22-Nov-14 12:59:14

After an eight year stint as a SAHM, I started a part-time admin job for a small, newish company. Five years later they have grown, sold several franchises and I am the finance manager at their head office.

I think it depends on the company, and the management style.

loveulotslikejellytots Sat 22-Nov-14 13:01:34

Take it. I took an admin job 6 years ago, have been promoted 3 times and love what I do. A lot of people where I work use an admin job to 'get in', prove they are reliable and hard working and grab any opportunities they can.

ConfusedCareerWoman Sat 22-Nov-14 13:03:14

Wow! These are great examples!

Part of what really appeals to me about it is that exact factor - that with a bit of luck it could be something that grows and develops and keeps getting more interesting, even if I'm not quite sure where it might end up. And as I say, I'm not sure my heart's in PR. Not certain enough to say yes I definitely want to dedicate my life to it and ignore all else.

PurpleWithRed Sat 22-Nov-14 13:03:49

I went admin --> senior executive, and know many others who did the same. DS has just started working at the call centre of a huge company, and learned that 90% of the exec staff started there too. Definitely the opportunity to grow, but you will have to make sure it happens.

SorrelForbes Sat 22-Nov-14 13:08:12

Definitely. I started in the NHS as a junior team leader on 10 in 2000. Now I'm a management consultant advising the public sector on records IT and earning considerably more.

Vanillaradio Sat 22-Nov-14 17:53:21

Go for it. I started out in admin at a firm who trained me to do what I really wanted. Left for a higher paid position in the public sector where I met dh who was working in admin. He now has a position equivalent to
mine when I started in the public sector and I have been promoted to a more senior
role. I would take the job, get your foot in the door and work towards where you want to end up.

MrsBertMacklin Sat 22-Nov-14 17:57:02

I started as a junior admin for a construction company, now working as operations director for property developer.

I was shameless about asking for promotions and 'helping' my bosses to identify areas in the company where I could be more useful.

Whippet81 Sat 22-Nov-14 18:01:51

I started in an admin assistant role in what I thought was a stop gap after leaving uni.

My boss retired within 6 months and I got her job as admin manager.

Have done that for a few years and earlier this year went for an acting up position meaning I was deputy manager of two offices - it was unheard of for it to go to an admin person but no restrictions in applying - went for it and got it. Just waiting to see if it will be made permanent smile

Babycham1979 Sat 22-Nov-14 18:04:29

Well. If you've got the ability and the drive, it can turn into a career. I started out doing two public sector admins jobs (because each paid so badly) after university. I'm now 35 and a Director on the Board of a very large public body. I can't say there's a 'direct' path from those admin jobs to where I am now, but equally, I wouldn't be here without doing them.

Are you prepared to work hard and patiently for the next decade or two though? From your post, it sounds as if you're expecting immediate riches and glamour to fall into your lap. That may not be entirely realistic.

Pastamancer Sat 22-Nov-14 18:06:18

£25k for admin? It would be about 12-13k around here so are you sure it is just straight admin and not something else?

ConfusedCareerWoman Sat 22-Nov-14 18:12:24

Babycham, I am intrigued - what about my post leads you to question my work ethic and suggests I am expecting immediate 'riches and glamour'? hmm If anything, it is the vapid nature of the PR industry (where yes I have had a little taste of excitement and glamour, though not riches) that makes me doubtful it is for me.

Pasta - I am in London, and yeah it's pretty basic stuff, but not solely filing and photocopying.

wobblyweebles Sat 22-Nov-14 22:18:45

Husband started as a temp doing admin. He's now Vice President of Development. Travels all the time, builds hotels, manages a team. He just does a really good job whatever position he takes, and is always looking for ways to improve things.

Wantsunshine Sat 22-Nov-14 23:06:27

Admin is the route in for so many people I know. I started out that way and in senior management with no degree earning 6 figures in a permanent role. If this admin role does not work out try another company or coordinator roles

ShinyShinySpoons Sat 22-Nov-14 23:20:58

Yep. Do it. I started out in an admin role and have been promoted several times, have professional finance qualifications that my employer funded and am now in a senior executive position.

ConfusedCareerWoman Sun 23-Nov-14 15:06:51

Thank you so much all! These stories are all exciting to read smile

It can be so hard knowing what direction to go in, what to do for the best sometimes, with work choices.

notinagreatplace Sun 23-Nov-14 15:23:00

I think it can work well for the reasons that others have stated. The only cautionary thing I would say is that, for it to work, you have to be genuinely good at the admin job. I'm not at all good at admin but I'm very good at the management role that I do have. I would never have been appointed to my role if I'd had to go through admin first - because I'm absolutely awful at my job when I'm bored by 90+% of it, I'm fine if a certain proportion of my work is dull but when almost all of it is, I start to make stupid mistakes.

cailindana Sun 23-Nov-14 15:30:24

IMO admin is one of the best "starter" jobs as it puts you in contact with a lot of people and gives you a great opportunity to show you're reliable, intelligent and hardworking, which is the main criterion for being good at a lot of higher up jobs.

Be prepared to move around a bit though. It might be necessary to move up the ladder in another company if the one you start with tends to pigeonhole admin people as too "lowly" for other jobs.

Also, be very wary of looking too far down the road. Throw yourself into the work you are given, do it well, even if it is boring. That is what will get you results. If you're always sniffing out the next level you can come across as uncommitted and flakey.

MillionToOneChances Sun 23-Nov-14 15:52:51

My sister joined a start-up as a receptionist and by the time the company was bought out and she was made redundant (maybe ten years later) she was the office manager, with HR manager and IT manager reporting to her. She was earning a fortune and made a bomb from stock options. Does depend on the company, though, I would guess.

MillionToOneChances Sun 23-Nov-14 15:59:20

Also depends on the person - my sister worked very hard for her success.

aermingers Sun 23-Nov-14 16:10:14

You need to ask in interview and get concrete advice on the kind of progression they offer, perhaps now give them a ring to clarify before taking the job on. There are a lot of admin jobs where they do just want you to come in, do the filing, do a bit of typing keep your mouth shut.

There are others where if you go in and do a good job and have a good boss they will recognise your talent and progress you.

You need to find out which sort this is.

ConfusedCareerWoman Sun 23-Nov-14 16:18:29

Thank you for the advice and personal experiences smile

I'm not actually worried about it being dull at all - there will be boring bits realistically (part and parcel of most jobs, if not all) but lots of stuff I am good at involving meeting clients and making them feel comfortable and reassured (it is working with older people in a healthcare setting) before they see their doctors and therapists, etc. And then a certain amount of marketing/ sales, which again, I am quite experienced in and good at.

aermingers Sun 23-Nov-14 16:39:05

If it has marketing and sales involved and you have experience in that I would say that is a very good omen. If they've got someone there with a talent they're hardly going to fail to utilise it are they? If it was perhaps a role which was more focused on data entry or document production you might have reason to be concerned as that would not be giving you an opportunity to utilise those skills, but this role sounds like it may well do and could be a door to bigger things as a result. I think it sounds very promising.

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