The line between a balanced work and social life can often get blurred when you’re a Personal Assistant or Executive Assistant, due to the demand of the role. I have dedicated 6 years of my adult life as an EA. It’s not just a job to me, it’s a part of who I am and what I know. I have worked for some very influential women and have never thought of changing careers, it can be highly stressful and fast paced, but that’s why I love it. It’s exciting and it’s different every day.
There is something truly satisfying about applying your natural abilities to a job and making it work for you and for the person you’re looking after. I am ridiculously organised in my own life, and this flows into my work life, thankfully, if not I would be a pretty poor excuse of an EA!
One thing incredibly important to this type of role, is to allow yourself to switch off from your working day, I know some of us PA’s have a round-the- clock role, where you are available for contact at all hours, but it really is important to have some down time, even if you can only get 1 hour, that’s better than nothing… however it doesn’t scream balanced life? (Think about that for a moment).
‘One thing incredibly important to this type of role, is to allow yourself to switch off from your working day…’
I have been in roles in the past where I am non stop travelling, working and on the go, and to tell you the truth my personal life completely failed because of it. The person I was looking after had more of my time than even my own family, and I began to resent the role, I just wanted 1 hour to myself. The way I say this, makes it sound silly doesn’t it, like why would I not be able to find 1 hour out of my day to do something for me, for myself? Well, when you are a lifestyle PA, it’s the nature of the job, to be readily available always, for whatever they desire, literally this could be anything, and at any time.
A few years on though, and through the blood (only a bit), sweat (a lot of it) and tears (definitely), I feel I have grown in my capabilities as an EA and climbed up the career ladder that little bit further. I am truly blessed to be where I am today. My role is brilliant. I support an absolute babe of a boss (I know she won’t mind me calling her that) who respects the work-life balance, and although I will be on email or the phone majority of my evening at home, or when I am out, I don’t focus entirely on it.
I do have down time, I do make time for yoga or dinner with friends and spending time with my family, especially on holiday. I was recently away on holiday for 1 week, and my boss told me not to go on emails, remove them from my phone… I thought to myself “Is she crazy? Am I really hearing this?!” But yes, I was. Me being me though, a bit of a control freak, couldn’t possibly be out of the loop on what was going on back in the studio!
‘My role is brilliant. I support an absolute babe of a boss (I know she won’t mind me calling her that) who respects the work-life balance, and although I will be on email or the phone the majority of my evening at home, or when I am out, I don’t focus entirely on it.’
Also, if you are extremely organised you’ll understand me when I say that the thought of returning to a million emails in your inbox is just such a sickening thought! (Told you, I am mad)! Long gone are the days when I would be at the pool desperately trying to connect to hotel Wi-Fi to deal with whatever it was going on back in the “real” world of work. Now, when I am on holiday, I can be in the pool, on my swan float sipping on a Pina Colada, relaxed and stress free!
The relationship between boss and EA goes a lot deeper than what people might think, I don’t just put meetings in a diary and make tea and coffee all day! Personally, there must be a bond, a real connection, especially when you look after someone’s personal life. It is important to understand one another, to know about them, how she likes her tea for example (OK so I do still make tea)!
Knowing the diary like the back of your hand is crucial, I know where she is at all times, and I know her movements for the next few weeks also, (my boss finds this weird ha-ha) but that’s my job, to be able to manage someone’s life, you have to pay attention, you see more than any other colleague does, you are the closest person to them and you have to earn that trust, and prove it.
‘The relationship between boss and EA goes a lot deeper than what people might think, I don’t just put meetings in a diary and make tea and coffee all day! Personally, there must be a bond, a real connection, especially when you look after someone’s personal life.’
If you are struggling with the getting balance right, try something different, force yourself to step away from the world you’re in, grab a cup of tea (or something stronger if you’d prefer) and a book, or a film or even a workout class. Do something for you, and only you. The key to succeeding in a positive work-life balance is to prioritize between work (career and ambition) and lifestyle (health, leisure, family and spiritual development/meditation).