I never saw myself as a personal assistant, it is a big enough struggle to try to organise my own schedule, now imagine what it would be to organise someone else’s. My housemate on the other hand, always told me that she would love to be someone’s assistant, and that she found satisfaction in helping someone else organise their life and be successful. This led me to think that there are people that are truly gifted for the position and that they should be acknowledged as a great help for those who need them.
But what does being a personal assistant look like? What are some of the challenges that this job involves? Are there any benefits? Is it worth investing your time and energy into it? Let us have a look!
The art of adopting priorities
The main characteristic of this job is that the priorities of your boss have to become your priorities. If you will manage someone’s life, literally, you will always have to be a step ahead and as a personal assistant you agree to be available for that person not from a certain hour but for specific projects and life in general. Suddenly you become someone’s life companion and you will have to start managing your life around this person’s life so that you can be there whenever they need you.
This does not mean that you suddenly have no rights to have your own boundaries and personal life, you do possess that right but you will have to develop it around your new job. This might mean modifying vacation dates, nights with friends, phone usage during the day or night and sometimes it will even include your location, since some jobs will require you to live close enough to your client in order to help when needed.
The multi task job profile
As a personal assistant you don’t have a specific role or task for each day, this varies a lot and it goes from picking up the kids to answering e-mails and reserving flights. This is a job that requires a big capacity, a fast thinking mind and an organised structure. It is your job to make sure the person you are assisting does not have to worry or invest their time in arranging all the details that you could handle. In theory, it is your job to release them of minor details so that they can focus on the big picture of their career.
This is what not many people realise, but thanks to the assistant’s effort and amazing job, a lot of successful people can handle what their job involves and can flourish in it. These helpers end up being not at the bottom because they are less than the person they serve, but at the bottom because they become the solid foundation on which the boss can stand with confidence.
Learn by doing
When you work so closely with someone, there is a lot of learning involved. Whether you realise or not, you are learning the business’ structure, the communication lines, the thinking process and the different steps for delivering a project by simply helping out with certain stages of it.
My sister works as a personal assistant and part of her job is checking and adding some reports, which at the end of the day she will know how to make from scratch simply because she read them so many times. Never underestimate the job you get to do, there is much learning behind it if you choose to pay attention.
Last but not least, being a personal assistant teaches you how to manage life in general. You might learn from your own mistakes or from other people’s mistakes; you even might learn from the way they choose to prioritise things and this is an experience that no one can rob you.
Being a PA will stretch your capacity like never before but it will teach you life lessons, boundary lessons, it will show you the size of your capacity and how to grow it, it will teach you to build relationships and to communicate effectively, and more than anything it will teach you to manage your time.
So if you decide to join this life bootcamp and become someone’s assistant, be mindful that it will take you a lot of effort and sacrifice, but at the end of the day you will learn a lot and you are helping someone to reach their dream by living your own dream.
Do you think you have the heart and skills to be a personal assistant? What else do you think should be considered before you enter the world of organisation?