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As I conveyed in my 2017 article of 5 Steps to Shifting your EA/PA Career When You Have Hit the Top:

“There comes a time when you have hit the top of your ‘ladder’ as a Senior EA/PA, Assistant to the CEO/Chairman, a Chief of Staff, or any other number of titles that let you know that there are no higher Administrative titles in your company that you can apply for, nor a significantly higher pay grade that you can break into.”

The goal of the above article was to offer options on how to transition out of the EA/PA role into a cross-functional position because, at that time, if you truly wanted to developmentally progress in a significant way and/or access higher pay-grade opportunities within the administrative field, there seemed to be no proposed framework or methodology in which that could be accomplished.

One year later, in a single day, I had encounters with two separate professionals, both with the title of “Chief of Staff” but with entirely different experiential backgrounds and responsibilities. One had just been promoted to Chief of Staff from Office Manager and had under 5 years of administrative experience overseeing the administrative logistics of a start-up business composed of an estimated 25 employees. In the afternoon, I had a schedule alignment call with another “Chief of Staff” who had previously been a Vice President at two separate well-known global financial institutions, a Managing Director at another two, and was now functioning as an accountable business-development decision-making partner with the CEO of a 1000+ employee company.

These two interactions, in such a short span of time, stopped me in my tracks and made me realize how confusing (and therefore limiting) the administrative career landscape had become.

If the spectrum for a single title had become this broad with such egregious gaps of baseline expectations and accountability, how could Executives (and/or the businesses they are a part of) build a robust developmental career model for the administrative function?

This epiphany, coupled with the frustrations I continued to read, hear and witness first hand via the passionate administrative community (including lack of professional respect, non-existent learning & development resourcing, and misalignment of compensation associated with responsibility scope), prompted me to take up the cause of creating an updated career-pathing framework for the administrative function. Work associated with this project has been driven by my personal belief that for successful and sustainable increase of career opportunities to occur, you must first focus on changing the systemic lack of precision and clarity in career levels and responsibilities.

The Administrative Title Recalibration Initiative intends to prompt such a change.

This proposal is a labor of love that took me eight months to complete. It is a compilation of significant online research, conversations with US and Global counterparts who have parallel role calibration efforts, and 10+ years of personal observation as a passionate administrative professional.

I have decided to make it an open-source project that can be accessed by anyone who resonates with moving the administrative profession forward. My greater hope, however, is that the proposal will be seriously reviewed and adopted by Human-Resource advocates and the Executives who benefit from the time and talents of career administrators every day.

The Administrative Title Recalibration Initiative serves as a newly-aligned framework consisting of:

  • 14 grade levels of growth (with new titles and expanded professional levels beyond the traditional EA to CEO title)
  • Newly structured and highly detailed job description documents (as aligned with each level) that more explicitly conveys baseline expectations around behaviors, role scope responsibility spectrum, technical requirements, etc.)
  • Supplemental “Future of Jobs Report” white papers from the World Economic Forum discussing in demand skills for 2022 and beyond
  • A starting point for businesses to offer a defined developmental path where value impact is amplified for both the admin function and the business as a whole

Additional alignment details (as associated with the efforts noted below) will be integrated as soon as they become available:

In reference to the introductory presentation material (which is currently Administrator-focused), in the upcoming weeks I will create a more detailed complementary presentation for Human Resource and Recruitment stakeholders that includes integration/development/communications content.

By making it as easy as possible for stakeholders to plug & play a proposed framework, I truly believe we can take advantage of industry transformations that are already in play but not systemically acknowledged.

I know we still have a long way to go in reference to shifting decades of outdated assumptions about and perspectives on the administrative profession, but as one of my favorite philosophers, Lao Tzu, so aptly stated…

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

Are you willing to take that first step? If yes, I look forward to our exciting evolutionary journey together!

Watch Lynn presenting on this topic at a recent conference:



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The Backbone Blog is all about the modern Admin. Created by the Admin Awards, Backbone is all about leveling up and inspiring Admins to do their very best work. It’s also about overcoming outdated stereo-types about the profession and those that serve in it. We work hard to tell the stories of innovators, change agents, thought leaders and pioneers who area making a phenomenal impact to their organizations and profession and inspire others in the process. We believe the best ideas and insights come from Administrative Professionals themselves, so that’s what you’ll find here.