“Other Ad-Hoc Tasks” is present on virtually every single job description for PAs, Team Assistants and pretty much every administration role.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
Do they want me to fetch the COO’s pizza from Pizza Express every friday lunch time and then write a formal complaint when they change the menu?
Will I be expected to chaperone Barry* from IT to the tube after the work christmas party because he drank too many Blue Lagoons? (*He wasnt really called Barry but I don’t want to embarass him)
Do they want me to trapse through old Management Accounts to find out where we have been over charged for inter-departmental services?
Or perhaps I’ll get the honour of tracking a senior manager’s phone as it travels around London in the back of a taxi where it was left, and then having to go to Greenwich to meet a very nice lady called Debra to get it back!
All of which are things that I have had to do, but were missing from the job description.
I’m not complaining. As a supportive role, it’s our job to make the lives of our colleagues and Executives easier so that they can do their thing and run the company (even though we know who really does that!!).
I just think that a lot of us go into these roles virtually blind to what we actually have to do, especially those who are at the early stages of our careers.
An analyst wouldn’t rock up on his or her first day and get told that instead of researching healthcare, they are actually going to be putting up some shelves (I did that too).
So why is it only PAs who have this pot luck when they get to the office?
Do we end up doing all of these things because it’s in our nature to not say no? Or is the whole concept of an admin role that we do whatever our team needs us to do?
I think most will agree with both of these, but why still is this not reflected in those pesky job descriptions?
Wouldn’t it be more realistic if they read something a little more like:
Main Duties will include:
Loads of things that will come up and we will need help with. We have no idea what they are, how long they will take, or when they will come up, but you will have to be responsible for all of them and do them all really well.
Changing meetings every five minutes, often for no reason whatsoever
So, to all the recruiters and hiring managers out there – how about a little more realism on your job descriptions please! Then Jeanette* will be less likely to resign when she finds out that she has to dress up like an elf for the kids’ Christmas party your office holds every year.
(*I changed her name too – because she asked me to)
What are the random things you have been asked to do? Have you ever resigned because you’ve been asked to do something so absurd?