I never thought I would be working as a Personal Assistant. It just didin’t cross my mind.
For a series of fortunate events, I happened to be at the right place at the right time, so two years ago I started my job as a Personal Assistant.
Do you know what a PA does? No, I didn’t either.
Do I just make teas or do I also book flights? Well, both and much more.
I came to understand that being a PA is like being the shadow of your boss but also his office wife/her office husband. Because you’re the one reminding him what’s in the diary, where is he flying to next, organising his work meetings and his personal life meetings. But you’re also the one reminding him not to eat too much for his upcoming wedding (happened for real!). So you’re basically the glue that keeps all the pieces together.
To get to this, though, you first need to know the person you’re working for.
So first things first: get to know your boss.
Find out what he likes and what he doesn’t from basic topics to more serious ones: does he like to travel with a certain airline? Does he hate queues? (Tip: most people do!) What does he like to do in his personal life? What are his priorities at work?
Try to collect as many info as possible and either write them down or try to remember as much as you can, everything could be useful some days!
Second: get him to trust you. I don’t know how you do that but the only thing I can suggest is to be on time, be reliable, be fast and be on top of things, always.
If he knows you’re there when he needs it, then he will trust you and a wonderful work relationship will start.
Get ready, though, sometimes you’ll think you’re losing track of your life because you’ll be super busy organising someone else’s life.
It’s difficult to draw a line, especially if you’re hyperactive and you like to get things done as soon as possibile.
So, try to remember this:
1. Everything is fixable and there is always a solution to any problem you might face;
2. No one has ever died if you don’t reply to your emails at 10pm on a Saturday. If you see it can be done on Monday morning, read it and leave it.
3. Keep calm: plans change all the time and there’s nothing you can do about it. Or actually, the only thing you can do is to adjust everything accordingly.
4. Remember that this is actually a very cool job: you’re helping another human being to have a smoother life.
It’s not an easy job, I have to say, but when you find someone that appreciates you, then it’s definitely worth it. On the contrary, if you’re doing all of this and no one says thank you or sees you for the life saver that you are, then walk away. I am sure there is someone else in the world that can appreciate what you do and there’s no need to stay in a job where they don’t treat you with the respect you deserve.
My PA experience ended this summer, I enjoyed every single moment of it and I am aware that finding another role like that one will be extremely difficult (if not impossible!). But I am so grateful I had the opportunity to learn more about the job. I could do it again later in life but I am not sure Italy is ready for a role like this, unless it’s a bigger organisation.
I know my former boss is reading this, working with you has been a wonderful experience and I felt I was really where I was supposed to be. Thank you!
For all the PAs out there, you have my support and I am sure you’re doing a wonderful job. Keep it up!