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How Not to Have a Meeting

1. Take your Phone with you When you are in a meeting with your colleagues, make sure you have your phone with you so that you can answer it. Remember, that PPI isn’t going to claim itself, and you still haven’t had a call about that car accident you were in four years ago. It will be any day now! The more times it buzzes on the desk, the more important you will look. People will feel honoured that you have given your time to be there. Be sure to check your messages every four to five minutes to make sure you don’t miss those memes in the group chats, or that special offer text from your local pizza delivery company. When it rings, be sure to answer it in front of everyone, exclaiming that you are in a meeting and cannot talk. This will make the caller realise that…

“Just An Assistant”

We assistants are “just” there to manage your diary. I “just” book that meeting with your client where you secure that crucial contract. I “just” make sure that you are not disturbed when you are working on that important report, but I know to “just” knock on the door when it’s that one call you really need to take. I “just” made sure you had that business visa for your trip to Moscow, even though you thought you could get a tourist visa when you arrived at the airport. I “just” corrected that typo in your presentation before you stood up in front of your managers, and changed the font so that it was the same throughout. I “just” changed your taxi booking to match the re-arranged meeting which you failed to tell us about, and “just” let the PAs to the other attendees know to…

Top 10 Tips for Working at a Start-up

Embrace the opportunity You will be working with some fantastic people who are all determined to make your new business work. You will be able to learn from some highly intelligent people – many of whom you would not normally meet in a regular job, let alone sit next to. When you work for really large companies, it’s really common to not even see the CEO. At a startup, you will be speaking and interacting with them on a day to day.  Here you have the chance to be the right hand person to the CEO of a company which still has the potential to be huge. Imagine being the PA to Bill Gates back in 1975 when he launched Microsoft, or to Elon Musk when he co-founded PayPal in 1998. You have the amazing opportunity to go and ask them about anything in the business and they will probably…

The Future of Corporate Travel

In the last decade I’ve witnessed corporate travel change exponentially before my very eyes. We no longer have physical plane tickets being delivered to the office. Nor does the currency man pop over once a week to top up our stocks of Euros and Dollars. Business class travel is rarely used on short-haul flights, and there seems to be an app for literally everything these days. So what’s next? Flights Let’s start with plane travel. I predict that there another major airline fail in 2018, after the sad demise of Monarch. People are becoming more and more savvy with their search for the cheapest travel that it’s only a matter of time before another airline fails to keep up with the reducing prices. Business travel will reduce, now that we have a generation of millennials who would rather do everything via Skype or instant chat. Airlines will have to…

What’s the difference between a PA and an EA?

I’ve asked this question to a lot of people over the years – and get different answers every time. Answers such as: A PA supports just one person, whereas an EA can support multiple A PA is more junior to an EA (suggesting that there is some kind of career jump to EA from PA) A PA works for a private household or for some kind of celebrity, whereas an EA supports people in business My answer? Firstly, you can be a PA to multiple people. I have had PA roles in the past where I have supported more than one person. Going forward, PAs supporting just one person seem to be getting fewer and fewer. Companies cut costs and the technological advances in the areas where PAs work (such as diary management and travel booking) make things less time-consuming. This then frees up our time to either do more…

Not all Recruitment Agencies are Equal

As a result of two team assistants resigning in quick succession, I have been thrown into the world of Recruitment Agencies from a company perspective, rather than a candidate one. This is the first time in my career that I have dealt with multiple recruitment agencies at the same time. This is also the first time I’ve had a real appreciation of what they do. During my career, I’ve registered with dozens of different recruitment agencies. Large ones, small ones, independents. They have largely been all the same. I send in my CV, they ask to see me, and then they tell me that they will be in touch if a role comes up. Eventually I get a job, and the chances are that I couldn’t tell you the name of the agency which placed me. Working with recruitment agencies to find a candidate, I feel, is where you find…

Case Study 1 – Office Manager for Boutique Finance House

*All names have been changed The Candidate Michelle* came from a large corporate background. Her experience was mainly in supporting large teams within large financial institutions. She came to First Recruit* looking for something similar. She was at risk of redundancy and wanted to make sure she wasn’t left without a job. She had only been with UK Bank* for 18 months so she knew any redundancy package wasn’t going to be brilliant. She had just moved into her first home on her own and needed some security around her professional life. She was doing some work on her property and didn’t need the stress of not knowing if she was going to have a job every morning when she went into the office. The Company Boux Finance* was a small boutique Asset Manager. They had been set up by Brian* who, after building up a 12-year track record…

10 Ways Your Office is like FRIENDS

When a colleague tries to talk to you before you’ve had your morning coffee: It’s impossible to say “pivot” table without doing Ross’s voice There’s that one good looking guy who has just started When your boss announces to the company something juicy which you have known about forever There’s that one meeting where no-one has a clue what’s going on 6.  There’s that one person who talks absolute bollocks all day 7. When you announce the company offsite 8. When someone suggests team building 9. People who insist on coming into the office, even though they are sick 10. But when you make it to Friday

Do you Promote your Company?

We hear time and time again that EAs, and all secretarial staff want to be included and to feel part of their teams. Mainly because we are a part of the team – a super important one at that! But how often do we go out of our way to help promote the company for which we work? From my experience, surprisingly little. So where can you start? I work in financial services, and have done for more than 10 years. When I was working for a global investment bank, I didn’t think there was possibly a way I could promote my company, basically because they were too big and I was the tiniest fish in the biggest pond. But I still did. Social Media I utilised my network, including LinkedIn as well as past employers, to help build connections. By understanding what my company did (one of my tips…

Why SMART Objectives Aren’t SMART At All

I’m sure we have all had to make SMART objectives in the past. Either at school or at work, or even for our personal lives. We are taught from a young age that objectives must be SMART. The reasons for this sort of make sense, but all they do is encourage us to be average. Mediocre, even. We are scared to fail, so we make up targets that we are likely to reach. Attainable. So if we work hard and reach them in less time it takes than we thought, what’s the incentive to carry on with that momentum? What’s the point of putting more effort in now when we can wait until next month or quarter or year when it will count towards the next target? I once worked with a guy who was set Attainable targets. He was a trader, and he was tasked with making X…