In 2016 I was one of the proud finalists of the Secs In The City PA of the Year Awards. I had been nominated by several people, and I had passed the vigorous and thorough interviewing process to be awarded with my place at the finals table.
The ceremony itself was held at a lovely restaurant in Central London, and I got to take my boss with me, which was great. It was really nice to have our bosses seeing us take the spotlight for once, rather than the other way around.
There are several organisations (in the UK at least) which run awards like this, including some of the regional PA network groups. The events themselves can range from small, intimate dinners, to rather grand ceremonies at stunning hotels. The categories of awards range from Event of the Year, to Social Media PA of the Year. From Inspirational PA of the Year, to Innovation PA of the Year.
So, what’s the point of PA Awards? Do they add any value to your career? Do they need to?
I’m going to explore this question firstly by explaining what being nominated at these PA Awards did for my career.
In a word…not a lot. But hear me out. I didn’t get a promotion or payrise. I wasn’t instantly catapulted into stardom when I walked back into the office. Aside from some genuinely touching words of congratulations from my colleagues, my career at that time didn’t really change at all. Obviously, one could argue that it was because I didn’t win the award. But for me, as much as I hoped to win, I was proud enough of my achievement of being a finalist. I was an equal amongst these other amazing PAs in the room, and that did more for my confidence than anything in recent years.
I also got to meet a lot of wonderful new people, and I connect with them on social media, and in person, on a regular basis. I contact these people when I need help or advice, and I return the favour whenever it is asked of me. In meeting these new people, it has lead to me meeting even more new people, and leading to opportunities in speaking, writing and presenting.
So whilst these PA Awards didn’t benefit my day job directly, the work I do as a blogger and speaker benefited massively – but indirectly. It was the confidence to be able to stand up and say “yes, I am good at what I do” which lead me to start to drop the cloak of impostor syndrome. Of course, it still rears its ugly head now and again, but I know that at the end of the day, I am an equal amongst great people, and that was the best thing I got from these PA awards.
I mention that my career hadn’t directly benefited from being a PA Awards finalist, but I know other people whose career has. I know administrative assistants who have received promotions on the back of winning (and being a finalist at) PA Awards. I know administrative assistants who have used the status to move departments, and others who have been interviewed by publications which has, in turn, helped promote the company for which they work.
I’ve seen winners and finalists get invited to present or judge the PA Awards the following year, which is an incredible honour. I’ve seen winners and finalists move onto bigger and better roles, either at their current company or at a new one. I’ve seen winners and finalists to on to win further awards as well.
So to answer the question… “what’s the point?”, the point is that every single thing that we do to improve our own careers, increase the visibility of our companies, and to meet incredible new people, makes us better people.
The absolute worst case in being a finalist or a winner at any PA Awards is that you meet some cool new people. And I think that’s the best reason!
Have you been a finalist or a winner at any PA Awards? Share your story below!