My last blog entry, Top 5 Worst Job Interviews, highlighted the absurd and often funny things that may come along as we pursue our careers as personal assistants. These extreme circumstances are by no means the norm, but as cited, really do happen.
In contrast I feel obligated to write about the extreme good stuff, the warm fuzzy moments you don’t often hear about unless you are in the “in.” Sure there have been stories swirling around about celebrities buying cars and even homes for their career assistants, and many of us have been in the SWAG suites with our celebrity bosses and received thousands of dollars worth of stuff.
But I’m here to tell you that as great as these perks are, and believe me getting free things is fantastic, it’s often the private recognitions or behind the scenes knowledge that make us feel the most appreciated and keeps us working at jobs we love and loyal to the people whom we’ve come to respect. Like the Worst Job Interviews, these are short summaries of what happened to several different assistants and told with their permission.
5. No – thank YOU.
This personal assistant reported that they were having the worst day no scratch that worst week ever. Everything that could go wrong did. From complicated travel plans falling through to household staff and vendors not showing up it was a tough 60 hour week. Finally on Friday at about 11pm this employer stopped by the office to pick something up surprised that the assistant was still there. “What are you still doing here ” he asked. “I’m working on the travel schedule ” the assistant replied. Silence stretched as the employer contemplated this. “Have I told you how much I appreciate you?” the employer stated. The assistant smiled. The very next week that statement was backed up by a raise….the assistant’s salary had been doubled!
4. You deserve a break.
This famous employer and assistant had worked for six months straight out of town on a very difficult movie. Once back in town and in their offices the employer announced that he and the family were leaving town on a month long vacation. The personal assistant thought about using the time to catch up on the “in town” work that had been neglected in their absence. It was to the assistant’s surprise when the employer announced that the assistant was banned from work forced to go on her own month long vacation…. and the employer proceeded to give the assistant two open plane tickets to anywhere in the world along with a check to cover other expenses.
3. Represent me.
This employer decided to forgo the premiere of his latest blockbuster movie on another coast. Instead he asked his assistant to represent him… and requested the studio send the private jet to pick up the assistant and five of the assistant’s closest friends to attend. A limo (which they had at their disposal the whole time) met the jet on landing and took them to a 5-star hotel (which the boss paid for not the studio). Once in the room a large bouquet of flowers greeted the assistant with a note from the boss’ wife that read “We have been blessed every day you have been in our lives. Your hard work does not go unnoticed. Enjoy.” Attached to the note was a gift certificate for a spa service every day of the assistant’s stay.
2. You mean so much.
When this employer heard about a devastating health diagnosis given to his assistant’s mother this employer called in a favor at the best known cancer centers in the world and chartered a jet to take the mother and assistant to it. Then the employer sent the same jet to pick up the assistant’s extended family that was scattered across the U.S. Unfortunately the assistant’s mother passed but her loving family was at her side thanks to the kindness of this employer.
And the nicest moment as a personal assistant goes to….
1. What a difference a door makes.
During the holidays this employer asked his assistant “Are you up for a difficult task?” “Ready” the assistant said. The employer had his son’s U.S. map closed his eyes and picked a state then a city.
“Find something good we can do with our money in this town” he said. The town picked had less than 5000 residents. Speaking to the town’s Mayor the assistant said she represented an anonymous donor who wanted to do something nice for a person in need or for the town. “We need a door for the community center,” the Mayor replied. “The kids can’t use the community center in the winter because we don’t have a door to close off the cold air.”
Besides not having a door budget the town didn’t have access to new doors or a way to transport or install said door. The door had to be special ordered (due to the size) half a state away and transportation of the heavy door was twice the cost of the door. Additionally the closest “door hanger” drove in from over 100 miles away to install it.
Although quite a logistics challenge the door was hung. A month later the assistant received the following note from a child in the town: “My wish finally came true. Thank you for the door. It is the best Christmas gift ever. Not as good as a puppy but better than a Spiderman action figure.” Not only did the employer feel great but the assistant was proud to have had a hand in such an unselfish act.