So, What Does An Assistant Do, Anyway?
Boss is off to China now for the next five weeks, and I am left alone with Dog, Bengals, Cats and Fish, in a big old house, in the middle of nowhere.
Not a bad plan for someone who is learning to play the Bagpipes. eh?
Not, mind you, that there won't be a lot of work, hardly, No lying around eating Bon-bons for this Assistant. Doesn't stop just because he is gone. I've been meaning for some time, since Boss told me I ought to one day after I lost my cool at an idiot, to do a Post on Assistanting.
Coupled with the fact that I got a mention on the most wonderfully cool site ever, Save the Assistants , I thought now would be as good a time as any. And there are things I can talk about that I couldn't before.
(Do you have ANY idea how hard it was not to tell the world that Bela Fleck was recording Dans Macabre, and how amazing it turned out? When he wrote and Boss told me he wanted to, I said, when I could speak, "YOU SAID YES, RIGHT????" I am SO a fan of his)
(or that I have been considering getting Boss's Chinese VISA application published as my first Novelette? They now know more about him than I do. That was the House of Cards that kept collapsing, over and over...)
There's a lot people don't know about Personal Assistants and what they do, and go thru, daily. And yes, for me, it is the best job ever. And if you want something from my Boss, you should read this.
The Assistant is your best friend. Or your worst enemy. Don't piss them off. In fact, go out of your way to please them. Do you have any IDEA how many requests they get, and that are passed onto them by their Boss's?
They control the schedules. They say Yea or Nay, when asked "Should I do this?"
If they tell you a you can have an interview, or a quote or whatever, but not sure when, it means they DO NOT know when. Travel for the Boss changes daily. Sometimes hourly.
If you try and do an end run around to the Boss, you will not like what happens.
Personal Assistants work long hours. All hours. They don't start nine, end at five Monday thru Friday. And they very often don't sit in an office all day.
I run errands, manage the day to day of the house, shop, cook, drive to the airport, take care of pets, make the garden grows. and am the person who everyone comes to saying "Quiche, what, where or how..." and dozens of other things, to numerous to list. And don't get me started on the amount of books, cd's and paper that comes in.
I make tea, make him get places on time (despite his best efforts) and actually did tell him the other day that he was still wearing the store pants. Sometimes I transcribe from tape, or what is written in notebooks. Sometimes the sound quality is very bad and the handwriting not to be spoken of.
And take care of travel, trips, schedules both at home and away, get an insane amount of e--mail, all of which is important. I make sure contracts are signed and sent off (me and the post office, Fed Ex and UPS are tight) I sort the mail every day. (It does come in a tub)
I make cars, hotels and planes happen. I am very good with airlines. And I make sure the tickets are changeable. Because, oh yes, they will change.
Every time he travels, I sign off on the schedule, the travel, hotel, and what is happening when, and make sure it goes right. When it goes wrong, I fix it. And it will go wrong.
When we do interview days, I set them up, slot them a time and stack them up like air traffic control, making sure each ends exactly when it has to.
I think the most important tip I can give you, is if you are writing with Boss, and he has agreed to something, copy me, tell me, feel free to (Very nicely) write back and keep it on the radar. Not to sound puffed up, or as we used to say "Act Big" but if I know what's going on, you will have a far better chance of it happening.
That's my job, I make it happen.
Boss once told me that the indicator of how well I was doing my job, was in how much time he had to write, which is what he does best.
No day is ever dull. If you want to be a Personal Assistant, check your ego at the door. You are not the one who is ending up on the cover of the magazine.
But your Boss would not be there, if you didn't make it happen. In the sense of you were the one who arranged the interview, got them the shots, scheduled the shoot....
And you will get blindsided every day and think "Well, sure didn't see that one coming..." Deal with it.
I've never talked about my job before here at this blog, simply because at the end of the day, when I have some me time, I want to talk about the other things I do, and be done with the job. (And PA's who talk too much are out of a job) But reading on Save the Assistants gave me something to think about, and how I think people don't know what we do all day, and just how much it is. And how important.
I'll answer questions about my job, and talk about it for the duration of this post. can't promise I will tell you everything, but I will be as honest as I can.
I can tell you I haven't told the half of it, and if you are a PA too, you know. Yes. You do know.
And if you need something, drop me an e-mail.
I love my job and am not going anywhere.
Love and Assistanting,