So, I wanted to explain my reasons for falling into PA work, well there you go, I just said it. I ‘fell’ into it. I left college and didn’t fancy uni. so I thought I would just go out and work, so I joined a local recruitment agency and this was back in 1998 and the job market was booming and there were job opportunities galore! As I had no experience in the office world, they had me temping on a reception at a big corporate American Software company, which I actually did love to start with as, I got to talk to people all day! I then went permanent after 3 months and got paid an OK salary for my age back then (18).
Unfortunately though, this is where is started, my first female boss from hell (there are many more to come!) She was fine at first. Her name was Liz, I don’t mind naming names here as it was so long ago and if she reads it then so be it! At first she was fine, we got on well, I even babysat her children for her! But then, I am not sure what happened, but she turned, whether she thought I was some kind of threat as I was good at my job and got on with everyone there really well, or maybe she was having issues of her own, I feel it was a bit of both. It started when I smelt alcohol on her and I asked her if she was OK and she started acting a bit ‘manic’ is the only way to describe it, she was very defensive and always said she was fine, but I knew that deep down, she wasn’t. This is where is went dramatically down hill, she went on holiday for 3 weeks, or was it rehab?! (sorry) They got a temp in to cover the reception with me, which is what she used to do too, she was office manager/receptionist. So I ‘assumed’ (lesson 1: never assume) that I would take over her role while she was off and the cover temp would just be the receptionist, as it would take far less time to show her the ropes of switchboard than the office management tasks that I already knew. But, no. Liz decided that I wouldn’t be able to cope with that kind of responsibility (??!) and asked me to train the temp in her job and I stay on reception?! I was not happy about it and from then onwards, our relationship broke down as there was no respect, she used to belittle me at every opportunity and the temp got made permanent as a receptionist with me and Liz was then just office manager, but any help she needed she would ask the new person to help and only get me to do the menial tasks.
After being treated like utter crap for 6 months, I decided to hand my notice in as I didn’t deserve to be treated like that, having worked on reception for two years with no praise, no respect I just couldn’t take much more.
I remember the day well that I handed my notice in. I can laugh about it now, but at the time I was fuming. I asked for a meeting with Liz and I gave her my letter and instantly felt better knowing I would be free from this in a month and this is what she uttered out of her mouth ‘ Oh I knew this was coming, I didn’t think you were coping were you, the job’s too much for you isn’t it?’ in the most patronising tone I had ever heard. I am not sure what I said or did but I remember being so angry at the time, as she knew full well that I was more than capable of doing my job and hers too, but wanted to hold me back for what reason I will never know.
All I know now is that, she was obviously battling her own demons at the time and decided to use me as her pin cushion to make herself feel better, I now just feel sorry for the woman, she had issues and obviously needed help, but, she did me a favour in the long run, as I then went on to work in London and had the time of my life!
To be continued…