Last year, one of my clients recommended me as a virtual assistant to one of her contacts. When I spoke with her, she was in the midst of a large project and already had admin support in place, so we agreed that we would connect again once that project was complete. She quickly realized she needed another person on her team and gave me a call, however, what she wanted me to do wasn’t admin work at all, but calling employers to invite them to take part in a job fair. My immediate reaction was “I don’t do that” so I told her I wasn’t sure I had time. She realized that it was right out of the blue and told me to think about it, but it was clear that she needed my decision that same day.
When I got off the phone, I realized that although I had committed to working on three other client projects, I hadn’t actually received the work for any of them, and money is money, so I called her back and agreed to work 10 to 15 hours per week. I figured it might not be too bad, because it wasn’t really selling, although I am not and have never been a phone person.
The work was really challenging, and I admit that I much preferred the other parts of the job – searching the Internet and the newspapers for companies to contact, organizing information, and developing a schedule for the people who were volunteering on the day of the event. All in all, it was a good experience, and there is definitely a strong sense of satisfaction when you can successfully do something that takes you so far out of your comfort zone.
In fact, I enjoyed it so much that if I hesitated a little when I was asked to join the team for this year’s job fair, it wasn’t because I was reluctant to do telephone work, but because I wasn’t sure I could fit it into my schedule. I agreed partly because I knew there would be fewer calls required, as we wouldn’t waste time calling the companies that we found to be clearly not interested or appropriate last year.
What I didn’t remember was the experience of the actual day. Picture a large convention centre, with 75 exhibitor booths, each with 2 or more representatives; 10 staff members, 60 volunteers, and 2700 job seekers throughout the course of the day. Fortunately in my role I was able to sneak off for a quiet break now and then, a luxury some of my colleagues did not enjoy. By the end of it all, I was absolutely drained, and that night I kept dreaming about being surrounded by people and constantly answering questions. Two days later, I think I am myself again.
Would I do it again? You betcha!
The Introvert Retreat blog where this was originally published is no longer online, but if you’d like to network with other introverts, join us in The Original Introvert Retreat Group!