I hear the lament over and over, not just in the administrative support field, but in just about every field and industry I know. It happens all the time.
When you start a new job, you usually get a job description. We all know, though, that jobs have a tendency to change over time. As your boss learns what you can do, he starts adding on more duties. You, being the up and coming assistant that you are, offer to take on duties. Over time, the job just changes. Not the job title, though, and bosses often seem reluctant to change the job title. To understand why, we need to know something about job classification systems.
Job Classification Systems are a means to classify jobs based on job descriptions. One of their primary uses is to group together similar jobs for purposes of regulating the pay scale, so all persons doing similar work receive similar wages. By making sure that all persons who do a similar job are making similar salaries, companies can protect themselves against complaints that they are treating disparate groups of employees differently when it comes to pay.
I know what you’re thinking. Shouldn’t this make them want to update your title and pay based on your job description? I mean, it would just make sense. For some reason, though, supervisors are sometimes loath to get involved in the process of updating job descriptions.
Bosses have several reasons for not wanting to deal with the whole title/job description topic. First of all, changing job descriptions and titles can mean changing pay scales and requiring higher salaries. This isn’t always the case, because pay scales within a career path tend to overlap. In other words, the high end of the Administrative Assistant pay scale may be within the low end of the Executive Assistant pay scale. Still, many bosses are afraid you’ll break their budget if they reclassify your position.
Another possible complication is that once your position gets reclassified, others in similar positions want to be reclassified, too. You also run into push back from Human Resources, mainly because of this issue. If Human Resources says that the assistant to a Director is only an Administrative Assistant and only assistants to VPs or higher are Executive Assistants, they will push the Director to make sure you are not working outside of your job description. Otherwise all the assistants to Directors will want to be Executive Assistants, and their classification system goes out the window.
You can see why your boss may just not want to open up the whole can of worms to start with. That doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t, though. If you are working outside of your job description, then it should definitely be looked at. It’s a benefit for you even if you don’t qualify for a higher salary at that point. It would probably give you more room in your pay scale to grow, and it would also give your resume a bit more oomph when you decide to change jobs.