Good Afternoon,

I work as an administrative assistant recently I was tasked to do a project which I finished in a timely manner. When I finished I asked the Executive Director if she had anything else for me, she responded that there wasn't and to continue working with what I am doing.

There wasn't anything else for me to do, except do a rundown and ensure that my work was accurate. I approached her again recently and asked if there was again anything else to do, she had assured me that I was doing a great job and to just stay focused and "continue on with what I was doing" (Assuming this meant the rundown). I am feeling self-conscious because it has been 4 weeks now, and I am technical if anything doing nothing, kind of. I am trying to keep myself busy with the rundown but there isn't any accountability and without any responses or feedback to my work, it puts me in a state of anxiety.

Overall my question is am I doing something wrong by "continuing what I am doing?" or should I be assertive and request more work just to feel valued or important at work (if that makes sense)?

  • 1
    "Continuing what I am doing" meaning continue doing whatever it is that I am doing in relevance to the original project. Which is technically the rundown of my work. Jan 14, 2021 at 22:39
  • Have you made it perfectly clear that you are actually done with the task, or could your question of “Have you got anything else?” be misinterpreted as “I want something else to be able to switch between tasks”?
    – AsheraH
    Jan 15, 2021 at 11:32
  • Yes, I have made it perfectly clear to her, and of course, she has even confessed this to the marketing director. This was during a conversation when they realized that two of the HR reps would be gone at the same time due to COVID restrictions and they wanted to appoint me to handle secretarial work for them. So there is interest to have me available, but much like Thieupepijn posted I might be feeling as though I want to do something but because I am an Admin Assistant my job may be limited because I am there to make sure things go smoothly. I don't know. I am not used to this. Jan 15, 2021 at 16:11

1 Answer 1


A common and natural assumption is that people/employees are hired to perform certain (productive) tasks. However the lately deceased David Graeber explains in his excellent book Bullshit jobs that this is not always the case. Based on your job title having the word "assistant" in it and that your boss, the Executive Director doesn't seem very interested your production, I think you might be what David Graeber calls a flunky. That means that your primary function is to add status to your boss. After all an Executive Director without an administrative assistant is like a Playboy without a fancy car.

If you just can accept the fact that your main purpose might be to add status to your boss you can have a pretty relaxed job. If you want to become an actual asset to the company you could learn/study during working hours and/or take some initiative finding useful to do yourself.

  • I'll have to read that book, thanks for the suggestion and I also appreciate your response. I don't know if this scenario is inclined to that particular book, considering that David Graeber seems to have a function or a particular system of approval, and well it may be the case that I am an assistant, not all job titles meet the same purpose. I could agree that I could study or find something useful in the meantime. Jan 15, 2021 at 16:30
  • @AndrewManor many testimonies in Graeber's book look similar to your experience. It is definitely a good use of your time to read it. In many cases the most positive outcomes in those testimonies seemed to happen with people who used that free time to study things they are most interested about, to the point when they could change careers and live from their passion.
    – wip
    Jan 17, 2021 at 0:40
  • the Audiobook version is free on Amazon, so I'll definitively consider listening to it. I have done exactly that but I think just in the middle of while I am studying to improve myself and my work, I get of anxiety that I am doing something wrong because I am using company time to improve on other things as opposed to what is related or beneficial to the organization. Jan 19, 2021 at 16:15

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