Sunday, September 14, 2008

Email Deluge: How Helping Someone Get Out From Under Could Further Your Career

A friend of mine who is a medical doctor at a large university told me that she gets so many emails a day – close to 200 – that she can’t keep up with them. And that sometimes she misses deadlines for important grant projects because of the magnitude of keeping track of all the emails she does open.

I explained to her that many professionals are now using a VA (virtual assistant) to check their emails and keep track of such things as which emails needed responses and which didn’t need to be followed up. Then I realized that she couldn’t use just any VA. She needed to use someone who could understand the scientific and medical discussions in her emails.

And that’s when I got the idea for a way to help an undergraduate student at the large university and help my friend. If she got a student majoring in pre-med or science to be her VA for her emails, the student would be able to understand the content and also learn just be reading the emails. This would be great for the student to put on her/his resume and great for my friend.

Then I realized that there must be many, many professionals who are overwhelmed with their email inbox. And, therefore, an enterprising student with an interest in a specific area could approach professionals in that area about being a VA. Of course, the student would have to understand the need for confidentiality of everything he/she reads. But this is the same as for any VA.

If you’re looking for a way to demonstrate a passion of yours and, at the same time, learn more about that passion, look around for a professional whom you could help get out from under the email deluge. This could be a win-win for both of you.

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