Getting things done at work: wise words from a great mentor

Digital & Online

Many moons ago when I was first working I took a job with Community Service Volunteers (CSV) in England.

In fact, I held several positions with them working up from admin assistant to press officer over a two-year period.

For much of that time my boss was a woman named Rebecca Rendle. Sadly we haven’t been in touch for years.

Rebecca was director of corporate affairs. CSV is a big volunteering charity in the UK. And so it’s natural that hers was a big job: lots of lobbying Parliament, many meetings and being in demand.

It’s fair to say that Rebecca was one of several very important mentors in my life. And during my advancement at CSV I was fortunate to end up as her executive assistant for a time.

Most folks loved Rebecca. She was level-headed, fair, diplomatic and I liked her as my boss.

Sometimes she would be out at meetings all day. For days.

Internal meetings with her almost became a commodity.

When she was in the office I usually had a million and one things to ask her, a zillion things that needed signing and many phone calls that needed to be returned.

Today, because of Rebecca, I have applied a certain ethic to my work – one which I’ve come to realise is quite unique.

Even when Rebecca was up to her eyeballs in things she always got other stuff done: she always answered my questions, signed everything and returned all those phone calls.

Why? How?

She just did it then and there.

Whenever I needed something she would do it right then.

I asked her once, ‘How do you organise your time Rebecca? This is crazy.’ And she told me she just tackled things as they came.

For some reason, this stuck with me. It only occured to me last year that it was Rebecca’s words that ended up dictating my work method. I wondered why I was able to get so much done. Even when I had lots of people calling for my time.

Pretty much when anyone asks me, ‘Liz, do you have a moment?’ I always do. Unless I’m in troubleshooting mode, I’m on that phone, at that desk or in the office of the person that needs me.

I’ve learned it’s the only way to get stuff done and be part of a team.

So to Rebecca: thank you.