Being a personal assistant can be challenging today. You will probably need to juggle several roles, including that of a receptionist, secretary , maid, travel agent and be a walking calendar with alarm clock functions.  Be prepared to do some serious multi-tasking as you take on the role of a personal assistant.

1) Know the preferences of your boss. Observe and pick up details of how your boss likes things to be done. Ask questions when necessary. For example, if you are going to buy a turkey sandwich for your boss at lunch, know what sauce he prefers. You wouldn’t want to be spending time in the pantry scraping off the mustard sauce he didn’t want.

2) Be organised in everything you do. Organise important documents in labelled files and keep it at an accessible place on your work desk. Schedule your boss’ calendar and keep track of both personal and business dates. Stay ahead of him and know what events are coming up. Remind your boss of upcoming events such as important meetings, travel, birthdays etc.

3) You may be required to show up early for work and stay in late. Reach the office before your boss does and stay late to display your willingness to work hard and get the job done. You do not have to go overboard, arriving 15 minutes early to make sure that the newspaper and coffee is set for your boss to start the day should suffice. Ensure that you get enough sleep every night to be stay abreast of your work and be productive.

4) Always anticipate your boss’s need. If you know your boss has a tight schedule for the day and has no time for lunch, pop by his office and check if he would like you to get him a takeaway meal. Get your boss a new day planner in December for the following year. These are small actions that you can do that will pleasantly surprise your boss.

5) Keep confidential information confidential.  As a personal assistant, you will be exposed to classified documents and conversations. It’s essential that you maintain and guard the security of the information. Keep the documents with sensitive information in locked cabinets and avoid leaving it exposed on your desk.

The role of a personal assistant may not be easy. You may sometimes feel overlooked and undervalued.  Bad mouthing your boss may be tempting when you’re frustrated but remember to maintain a positive attitude. Do your job and be a good personal assistant as this might open doors to additional employment opportunities.

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