In the private staffing industry, it’s important to examine experiences from both the employers’ and the employees’ perspective. At Irving Scott, we value the satisfaction and fulfilment of both equally, as this is instrumental to productive, longstanding relationships. To follow on from our previous article, “Qualities Employers Look for in a Personal Assistant”, we reached out to several PAs to examine their favourite elements of their diverse, evolving, and busy roles. For those seeking to break out into a PA position, or for employers querying what job functions PAs relish most, the below list is a valuable tool.
The Variety of the Role of PA
Variety can be the spice of professional life, and is an oft-lacking component of our working lives. Based on the responses from Irving Scott’s PA staff, variety is not missing from their job description. Chandra Varona stated that being a PA, gives her that “buzz of never being bored, and always having something to improve and manage.” Agnija Jach reiterated this statement, claiming that being a PA meant “opening new opportunities: to meet new people, growing communication skills, opportunity to travel.” As a representative for your client, this means engaging as their spokesperson in any number of different professional capacities – this requires excellent interpersonal skills, but also allows you to gain fluency in discussing with businesspeople from extremely varying backgrounds. Anne Hagen attested to this, in saying there is “variety experienced daily – no two days are exactly alike.”
Being One Step Ahead
Individuals who require PAs are undoubtedly preoccupied, often juggling demanding personal and professional lives, as well as instructing your daily tasks. As a result, the most efficient PA must be able to anticipate and premeditate their principal’s needs. Chandra said one of her job’s greatest satisfactions is derived from being able to “anticipate my CEO’s requests and I can say “that’s dealt with/ done””. Indeed, Rizwan Kazi stated that her favourite aspect knowing “you have gained the confidence of the principal, to speak on their behalf, undertake responsibilities and decisions as they would. This to me is stepping over an invisible line between being just an employee and actually representing someone in a very personal capacity, always maintaining and never crossing that line of distinction though.” In this way, being a PA instructs an individual in the ways of their principal’s business, and requires them to anticipate the way their days will flow as a result. Another of our staff, Rossi, said her “favourite aspect of the job is being able to give back time to my boss; freeing them from their workload and organising their lives so that everything runs smoothly and they have more time to get on with other things.”
As a crux of your principal’s business, being a PA demands a high level of business nous and professional know-how. As such, you often up-skill in a way few anticipate at the outset of the job. For Chandra, these professional skills also complement an upskilling in social and interpersonal skills: “I have gained so many skills, not only work-wise, but in general for my whole life. I have learnt to be fearless and push being polite. I used to be very shy and took the first negative answer as an absolute. Being a PA has taught me there is ALWAYS a way!” For Pamela Moyes, there were three key ways that being a PA has expanded her professional horizons: “you will enhance your organisational skills, time management skills and the ability to multi task.” Many of our PAs responded by stating that, even if at the outset they were daunted by the sheer immensity of tasks and time management requiring, this ease at multi-tasking was the skill that was most finely tuned and improved. Rossi stated that being a PA has enabled a kind of “continuous “learning” process; working with different personalities gives you the flexibility to adapt to different characters and needs.” Even if you’re an adept multi-tasker and skilled PA at present, the role can, as Stephen Stephen Micallef-Grogan explains: “I was a very organised and meticulous person before. I am even more now!”