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GUILDERLAND: Office tasks done at home

Harris isn't the only virtual assistant making a mark in the Capital District. Rhonda Parker of Clifton Park is a virtual assistant who runs a business called Virtually Yours 925.

"I don't ever have to ask, 'Can I go?' I do the work on my time schedule and not theirs," said Parker.

Parker worked as an administrative assistant for 30 years for senior level management in the Albany area, including Eli Lilly, a pharmaceutical company, and for the state Office of Facilities Development.

After Facilities Development merged with the state Dormitory Authority, the company downsized and Parker started working for lower pay. This, along with having to undergo major surgery and losing her mother within a short timespan, left her wanting a different career path.

She took computer-training classes and applied to temp agencies, but felt bigger companies were reluctant to hire her because of her age.

"I was like, that's it, I've had it with state employment," she said. "It's not about experience anymore, corporate America is greedy. They want to mold the younger ones into what they want them to be."

Now in her second year as a virtual assistant, Parker said she is happy working full-time for small businesses, taking care of the clerical and administrative tasks that small business owner shouldn't have to deal with. She consults and coaches her clients, assists them with mass mailing, scans their business cards and maintains their databases.

"Their work always gets done, but I'm able to do it on my own terms. It is in my best interest to help them be successful," she said.

Both Harris and Parker said being a virtual assistant is a great fit for the right person, especially stay-at-home moms or assistants who have been in the business for several years yet no longer desire to work in an office setting.

"We are extremely resourceful, we may not have all the answers, but we will find them because of the experience we have," said Parker.

For information, Harris can be reached at www.instantassistant.net or 598-2419. Parker is at www.virtuallyyours925.com or 641-1734.""

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