Today marks the end of an era: it’s my last day as a Personal Assistant.
It was 2008 when I first began working as a PA, but 2010 was the year that I really understood the role of being somebody’s assistant. It may look like an easy, stress-free job but in reality it’s so much more than what meets the eye. Yes, there are coffee breaks and nail files, but there is also a complex understanding of a professional’s needs and expectations, anticipating these, and delivering answers and solutions before the question has even been asked. There’s a lot of mind reading involved – no, I’m serious – and there’s a great deal of tact required, particularly when dealing with leading professionals who are internationally renowned in their field. A PA must be aware of internal and external ‘politics’ and must always keep her cool – publically, anyway. Yes, I’ve spent many a time screaming or crying in the loos, but in front of my boss I’d like to think I’ve maintained a level headed approach to most things. I might have cocked up a few times, but I’ve admitted these mistakes, taken responsiblity for them and rectified them – which gained me respect and trust, two very important factors when working as a PA.
The role of Personal Assistant has taught me a lot, particularly in the last few years. I know I’m stronger than I gave myself credit for, and I have finally come to realise that, actually, I’m pretty good at what I do. I’ve worked hard and I’ve often gone beyond the call of duty, but I also know that I’ve been very well looked after. In scoring such a top class boss, I’ve had opportunities given to me that I could never have dreamed of, including being seconded to an external firm to cover maternity leave of the Editor of a glossy magazine – this kind of arrangement is virtually unheard of in the world of administration.
When you’re a PA and you find The Perfect Boss, it’s pretty much like winning the admin lottery. I’ve been very lucky and I’m going to be very sad to leave this part of my life behind – in an age when everyone wants to be the boss, I will openly and proudly say that I love being a sidekick. However, it’s time to move on – new doors are opening and I’m taking an exciting step over a new threshold.