• What does ‘PA’ stand for?

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    In today’s modern world a PA wears many hats, from booking business travel to organising a boss’s schedule, they always ‘bend over backwards’. Here, Georgina Hathaway, freelance PA, explains why when an exec welcomes a PA, they are not just getting an assistant, they are also gaining a superhero.

    Personal assistant
    “Do I need one?” If you’ve asked yourself this question then the answer is likely yes, however if you can’t justify how an assistant will benefit you then either it is the wrong time to hire, or you haven’t figured out what you need an assistant for. Once establishing whether you require, and then hiring your PA you begin developing the most important relationship within the dynamic and culture of your business.

    Private aficionado
    Your PA is your biggest fan. They’ll have drive and passion – exactly what you asked for – and will learn and adapt to your personal preferences and idiosyncrasies. Clear communication in expressing your expectations is of the upmost importance, for them to do their job and for your mutual sanity.

    Physical athlete
    Running around on your behalf has never been more literal than when referring to a personal assistant, no task is beneath them. Should they struggle at the first hurdle they will resort to PA default mode ‘persistence’ and bend over backwards to meet your needs. Kept on their toes, PAs live for the variety of the next project and the satisfaction of a job well done. Be prepared to tolerate a highly energetic individual ready to jump when you ask.

    “When you hire a PA you don’t just get an assistant, but your very own superhero.”

    Public announcer
    You have employed someone to answer your phone, pass on your sincerest apologies and express why you are unavailable, while you pace the room waving in silent mime your horror at the prospect of speaking with said caller. Communicating on your behalf is 50 per cent of the job, so do not underestimate or castrate their ability to make many and much more important decisions for you.

    Parental advisor
    An assistant allows you to relinquish self-sufficiency. Easier said than done when you’re used to being in total control of all aspects of how you operate. Developing trust in your PA requires letting go of some of the more difficult tasks that you usually would not entrust to another. Once they have your preferences mastered expect to be constantly reminded and advised of your tasks and responsibilities. Try not to be belittled by this nagging influence in your life as figuratively speaking you employed the individual to organise you.

    Pain in the arse
    Developing this trusting relationship will unlikely differ from how most relationships evolve, therefore there are going to be times when you disagree and god forbid even argue with your assistant. It is important to remember that you have hired this person to be your intelligent, enlightened, ‘right-hand man/ woman’ whom you expect to have an opinion to be valued, so do not expect them to back down from you especially when they have yours and the best interests of the business at heart.

    Positive analysis
    In short you need someone to develop relationships, manage expectations, complete tasks, adhere to deadlines, make executive decisions and manage your time, all the while smiling and handing you coffee. When you hire a PA you don’t just get an assistant, but your very own superhero.

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    AUTHOR

    Jade Burke

    Jade Burke, Editor for PA Life

    All stories by: Jade Burke