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How Long Can I Expect My Virtual Assistant To Stay With Me?

That’s the number one question I’m asked by clients, future clients, and interviewers. So how long can we expect virtual assistants to stick? My answer is always the same: “it depends”. It depends on many things. But first we need to realign our thinking a little bit and better understand today’s workforce. As a small or home-based business owner, are you basing your perception of how long a worker stays in a position on your own work history? Yeah, me too. Big mistake.

Personally, when I take on a position I intend to stay with it – I don’t give up. I’ve enjoyed lengthy tenures at my places of employment throughout my career. All except one and that’s a story for later. What we need to remember though is that everyone is not like us. Especially the current workforce.

I mentioned in a previous article (http://www.teamdoubleclick.com/news/free_articles/workingwithnewgeneration.html) that the days of staying in your job for the rest of your life are long gone. As business owners, we tend to forget that and we are frustrated by it. Let me say it again in this article: A recent study said that the average tenure in a job for Generation Y is 18 months. That’s realistically the max you can expect someone – anyone, bricks-and-mortar or virtual, to stick with a job. Let’s leave that thought to stew for a while and talk about the “that depends” I mentioned earlier. Depends on what? • Things change in people’s lives – everyone’s lives. Mine and yours and your virtual assistant’s.

Think back to the reasons you have changed jobs in the past. What things in your past have caused a need for job changes? Pregnancy, sudden depression, death in the family, shift in financial obligations, relocation, change of career goals, a decision to go back to college, ill parents, ill children, ill spouse? Of course, and there are many more. Your virtual assistant is a human being too and they’re also subject to all of these normal human occurrences. Any one of these or many more reasons are cause for a virtual assistant to move on elsewhere or even stop working altogether. • Job likeability. You’ve got to like your job. I hope we can all agree on that. If you don’t like what you’re doing you’re not going to do your best and you’re always going to be shopping for a better job or better opportunity. Virtual assistants, as with bricks-and-mortar assistants, are not immune. I’m not talking about being a virtual assistant in general – though that happens too – where a virtual assistant decides she can’t handle the isolation and hangs up her computer.

I’m talking about all of the tasks a virtual assistant does on a daily basis. For one client she may answer phones, for another she may do data entry, and for yet another she may be asked to cold call. If she doesn’t like those duties she’s not going to like the job and will ask for reassignment or quit entirely. • Boss likeability. For me, the only one I didn’t stick with for a good length of time was one where I was treated like a prisoner in a concentration camp, neck breathed down and so on. I left one day for lunch and never looked back. Have you ever had a boss you just couldn’t stand? How about one with whom you just couldn’t see eye-to-eye. Or maybe there was the one you always thought was creepy or shifty. Would you stick with a boss that gave you those feelings? Certainly not! Yet we expect our virtual assistants to do that and we can’t. With 6.

6 billion people in the world every one of them is not going to like each and every one of us. And you’re not going to like every one of them either. • Then of course there’s Big Bad Team Double-ClickSM. At Team Double-ClickSM our job, as we see it is this: to help you determine your needs in a virtual assistant; to locate the best virtual assistant for you, our client, based on your personality needs as well as your skills needs; to locate problem virtual assistants and send them packing before they do damage to you; to nurture the relationship between you and your virtual assistant; alert you to potential problems with a virtual assistant; to stand by what we do and what we offer; and locate a new virtual assistant for you should things not work out. Now, sometimes the virtual assistants we contract don’t like this. This is when we become “Big Bad Team Double-ClickSM”. You see, we’re the good guys when we’re offering work to virtual assistants. However, when we have to take that work away or ask a virtual assistant for reimbursement for a client due to negligence in their actions, we’re no longer popular with that virtual assistant. This quite often causes a virtual assistant to quit.


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