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The Daily Routine Of An Executive Assistant
When I worked as a temping Executive Assistant (EA) or Personal Assistant (PA) - fancy names for secretary - it was easy to get stuck in a rut and a routine. I enjoyed the different jobs I had at the different companies but the actual job day in day out did get repetitive.
Here is a breakdown of my typical day as a PA
Get the train to work. If there was a choice between catching the train that made me 5 minutes early or getting the one that got me to work 5 minutes late, guess which one I would choose? Oh yes, I might need the job but I didn’t want to look too eager.Get in and switch on the computer. Technology might have improved over the years but it still takes time to boot the old system up and connect to the various servers all around the building, the world, the universe.
Time For Tea
Make a nice cup of tea. You cannot start the day without a nice cuppa. The good thing about arriving a little late to work is that you might just miss out on doing the tea run. It is ok making one or two cups of tea at a time but when you work in an office with 9 other women, well you do the maths.
Check voicemail. Time to check who has been trying to get in contact with the boss. Write down the messages and pass on ASAP.
Check emails. Always look at my personal emails first. Work may be important but I think my social
life trumps that. I would try not to use
the work email for personal stuff but some companies tend to block access to
hotmail and gmail accounts so it would sometimes be necessary to use the work
Time for another cup of tea. In some places there would be a trolley service where someone would come round with cakes and stuff. I could not resist a morning blueberry muffin. This is the time when I would usually succumb and head off to make the 9 cups of tea as well. Good excuse to get away from the computer. Sometimes it is the only way to get away from your desk.
WaysTo Avoid Working
The smokers have an excuse to be up and down every 5 minutes since they now have to leave the building for their nicotine fix but what about us non smokers? There’s only so many times you can head off to the toilet without people thinking you have bladder control issues.
Other ways to get away from your desk – offer to do some photocopying. This always works but it is only a good idea to offer if the photocopier is in another room or part of the building otherwise you have to do it at the normal speed and that would be, like, working and that’s just not on. I would tend to find my way to the photocopier room via a colleague’s desk so that I could catch up with some office gossip. It is important to always have bits and pieces of paper in your hand so that if the boss sees you, you can look like you are actually negotiating some issue that needs to be sorted out. Then walk off looking as if you have just solved a major world crisis.
Offering to photocopy also means you can get your own stuff copied. There is always a document that you need to make copies of, your travel documents, invitations to your planned BBQ etc. Look, these are the perks of the job. Free photocopying, free pens, notepads, post-it notes (who buys their own?), laptop (ok that last one was a joke).
You get back to your desk with a pile of papers to be sorted, filed or posted. It looks like a big job so – time for another cup of tea.
As you can see, the drinking of copious amounts of tea is a big part of my working life. I don’t think I would be able to make it to the end of the day without it.
Time To Go Home
End of the day – You have to give yourself at least half an hour to clear your desk and shut down your computer, well I do anyway. Last chance to check my private emails and to make calls to confirm where I am meeting friends for drinks later on.
Shuffle together all the papers that
are on my desk to look as if I have been busy all day. Stick them in the In tray to be “dealt with”
tomorrow. Have a quick chat with the
boss, make sure he is happy. Doesn’t
really take much. Some bosses have no
idea what a PA does so you really can get away with doing very little while
they think you are rushed off your feet, especially when you are a temp. Some think it will take too long to explain something so tend to leave work for their real PA to do when she returns to work.
Last but not least, leave the building 5 minutes early (or as soon as the boss has gone off to another meeting.)
Repeat the whole process the next day. Oh what fun!!
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