Monday, 24 June 2013

The Bad Vibe

I really love networking nights.  I can’t say I always have.  When I started my business I dreaded them but now I view them as a social outlet as much as a business event.  I’m not a business person who can aggressively “tout their wares” at these functions.  I’m happy with a polite conversation and an expression of common interests and if a business alliance forms from the conversation down the track, it is a bonus.  Being a Virtual Assistant in a very solitary role it is important for my personal and professional development that I mix with other people.

Last week I attended a really great networking night.  It was well organised and there were some fun activities and a great venue to explore, however it is the very first time I have not felt entirely welcome as a Virtual Assistant.
Mostly, when I tell people what I do, the feedback is positive.  People are still curious about VA’s and what they do and generally the reaction from most people is one of polite interest.  Very rarely have I encountered a vibe where a Virtual Assistant is not a popular addition to a networking event.  Imagine my surprise at this event when my profession raised a few eyebrows. 

Now I should explain this particular event was aimed at Executive Assistants and their managers.  Most of the people in attendance were Executive Assistants with a smattering of corporate sponsors and companies employing large numbers of EA’s & PA’s.

Most of the Executive Assistant’s seemed to feel that as a Virtual assistant I didn’t really belong there and I should be at home in front of my computer. (Maybe for fear I might make their job redundant???.  I’m not sure)

 The corporate contingent seemed anxious I was going to steal their staff and convert them to the dark side (i.e. self employment).

It was a highly unusual situation for me and I am still puzzling over the “vibe” of the event.  Surely I wasn’t the first Virtual Assistant to attend?  What were the others like?  Had these people had bad experiences with Virtual Assistants?   I must emphasise here that I did not meet any overt statement of disapproval.  It was just a vibe with an odd hint in a sentence here and there.  I’m kicking myself I didn’t delve a little deeper into the reasons for it.  I think I was more than a little surprised at the reactions.

The vibe didn’t stop me from enjoying the event.  I actually bumped into some EA’s I knew and we caught up on old news and did some reminiscing.  I might have to go under cover as a regular EA at the next event and uncover the reasons…..I’ll keep you posted.

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