Saturday Learning

When I was young, I used to look forward to Saturdays. I liked them, because my Dad was home from work and we did things as a family. My Mom didn’t drive and I had school during the week, so Saturdays were “action” days. It was a time to get out and make things or go somewhere and see something different.

Last Saturday, I attended the International Association of Administrative Professional’s Northeast Division Education Forum. It was held in Mystic, Connecticut and there were members from Maine to Maryland in attendance.

It was only a 45 minute drive for me and I took another chapter member with me. I enjoy those Saturday workshops and forums. As a virtual assistant, my days are filled with research, networking, writing and learning – any way I can.

When they announced this forum, I signed up immediately. There is so much to learn in this world and as a virtual assistant, I am constantly striving to learn the latest in all things. This forum did not center on technology, but rather, who we are as working people, generational similarities and misconceptions and how to work with people from generations other than our own.

I learned so much about how to approach people from different generations. I learned about their likes and dislikes and how they see the world – in generalities, of course, but still, it is a great tool to use, when networking.

Another speaker talked about how people are always in a hurry and have to be first in everything. Her presentation was hilarious, but on a serious note, she pointed out how all of us are programmed to go fast and be first and she visualized her presentation with photos of cars and buses trying to squeeze into the same traffic spot, women wearing a piece of clothing inside out or incorrectly for the whole world to see and being too busy to notice they’re doing it.

When we broke for lunch, I made several attempts to reach out to new people and introduce myself. We had an enjoyable lunch just talking about the forum, the things that made us laugh and just being ourselves with a common goal – to education ourselves and stay current with what’s going on in the office environment.

We had one speaker in the afternoon. He was very detail-oriented and considering that I got up at 4:30 that morning to drive there for 7, I was getting a little sleepy by 3:30. He talked about our personalities and how we react to certain work elements.

Unlike the morning, where the audience was broken down into generational characteristics, qualities and wants and needs; the afternoon speaker focused on us as individuals and how we should interact in the office setting and how we CAN make a difference to the company we work for and the other employees.

I was a bit skeptical about some of the things he said, because in my work experience, I witnessed the opposite of what he advocated. As a virtual assistant, I am trying to embrace some of his thoughts about working and reaching out to others.

In this difficult economy, workers are trying to keep their jobs and sometimes all the creative thinking and time-saving ideas, simply will not help them to keep their jobs. The speaker was very positive about what he believes really works in the workplace.

I always enjoy an inspiring presentation. This presentation made me want to dig deeper and put more effort into my business and to understand how other people are motivated.

Just like the Saturdays I used to enjoy as a child, last Saturday, spent at the Northeast Division Education Forum, was like fresh air. I got away from my desk and all the paperwork. I got away from the house and all of the week-end chores I usually do and I went to a place that gave me an educational lift.

The forum was interesting, inspiring, made me laugh (at some of the things I do) and helped me to learn to understand people of all generations. That’s something I definitely can use in my business.

I try to make every Saturday a fun and interesting day and this one was no exception!

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