We’re accustomed to treating powerful people with respect. Surprisingly, for all the influence that they subtly wield, the assistants of the world get very little of it. They do a great deal of the work, are paid on the lower end of the scale, and have the least status. They’re treated dismissively by those who go through them to get to their superiors, and often by their bosses themselves.
These seemingly unimportant people who schedule the meetings, take the calls, and act as your interface to someone more important are not to be taken lightly. As we’ve seen, they possess a wealth of information and are also well connected. Another thing that people often forget about is the mobility factor.
Yes, this guy is an assistant today. He’s also twenty. Where will he be in his career at forty? If he’s good at what he does, he may well rise to become an important person in his own right, capable of granting your wishes and keeping you working.
How you treat people doesn’t go unnoticed, especially when they’re in a position that’s accorded little value in the eyes of many. Take the time to make someone’s world a little brighter, even if it’s nothing more than offering patience, a smile, or a little casual conversation to distract her from an otherwise-hectic day.
Doing so improves your reputation and establishes you as someone worth knowing. When opportunities are being considered, you’ll often be mentioned because you fit the bill and you’re a really nice guy. Sometimes they’ll pass along a tip that can help you out. They may tell you that they don’t have any work right now but will offer the number of a friend, or perhaps someone a friend works for, who does.
There are many ways you can benefit by treating the working class with respect. It’s also one of those things you can do to improve your career that has no downside. You’re never going to be at a disadvantage because you treated someone with kindness.