PA of the Week: The Secret PA
The Secret PA is a PA to a Managing Director at a high profile fashion company. She also works in a Non-Exec PA role. We caught up with the Secret PA to ask her for her top tips and advice.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Those moments when my two very busy and very serious bosses go out of their way to thank me for a good job, recognise my efforts and fully support me when I approach them crazy career-progression ideas. Feeling that my work is worthwhile and appreciated – whether it’s as simple as making sure that the boss gets a full cafeteria of coffee on his desk each morning, or as difficult as booking a hotel room last minute for a Director stuck in an airport due to a delayed flight – is the most enjoyable part of being a PA for me.
What are the most challenging parts about your job?
Working in the fashion industry, everything is very fast-paced and artistic decisions can change at the very last minute. Our company work with a number of different designers who all have their own demands and needs, so learning their needs in addition to my boss’ needs and always keeping one step ahead of events and designers is a big part of my job. Sometimes the opinions from clients and my boss will clash also, which involves a lot of mediating and perseverance to reach the point where all parties concerned are happy.
What do you do to relax in your spare time?
I love fashion, which is the main reason I work in the industry, and I find lazy Sundays exploring fashion exhibitions and retail therapy with my sister and friends the best cure for a busy week in the office. I also love catching up on the fashion and lifestyle blogs that I follow – and, of course, blogging myself when I can find the time!
What social media networks do you use regularly?
In my job I use Twitter and Facebook daily to promote new lines, events and partnerships. In my personal life, I use them to keep in the loop with friends and colleagues – and I follow lots of PA associations and Assistants on Twitter to keep up-to-date with the PA industry. I also use LinkedIn regularly for connecting with clients.
What are the perks of your job?
I often get first dibs on the sample pieces that come in – mainly because I deal with all the couriers and post! I’m also always involved in the big fashion events – including LFW – and usually have complimentary tickets for the biggest shows of the season (all work of course, but I absolutely love it). My bosses will often pass on tickets or freebies that they receive too – this year I got to go to the men’s semi-final at Wimbledon, all because my boss couldn’t get out of his Mother-in-Law’s birthday party!
What are your top tips for other PAs?
Network as much as possible with other PAs and always have an up-to-date book of contacts that you can share with your PA friends. You never know what your boss will ask you to do, or what you’ll need to be organising, so having as many contacts as possible for every eventuality is essential.