6 months on…

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…Well I am still in my new job & guess what? I actually love it. Yes there are times that I want to pull my hair out & scream, but the majority of the time, I really enjoy it. I thought the picture was quite fitting, as this is how I feel, like I am juggling everything all at once, but still having a smile on my face, helping anyone that asks.( I also look a bit like her if I get caught in the rain!!)  My ‘official’ title at work is EA to the CEO. But really it should be ‘ Assistant to anyone and everyone that asks’ As I work for a small start up and it is all hands on deck and everyone mucks in. So I do feel like I am the go to person for literally everything. You name it, they ask me. Here are some good examples of what I get:

  • Do you know when the lift will be working?
  • Do you have any AAA batteries?
  • Do we have any pink Nespresso capsules
  • Can you order us some breakfast from Pret
  • Can you get some keys cut
  • Do you have a fan heater

You see, you name it, I get it. I am more like an office manager / skivvy ;o) I don’t mind it though, I actually like helping everyone out and I am lucky that the CEO is more like a friend and not demanding in the slightest, which means he isn’t precious about me helping others as well as him.

I also feel like this job was meant for me, as the CEO called me asking if I was available and weirdly enough I was. I was feeling a little lost job wise as well, after having quite an horrendous experience with a female boss in the previous job, I felt like I would never get the ‘right’ job again. So I do feel lucky that he remembered me and offered me the role without even an interview. I do believe in fate and I feel this job was fated. I am back in the industry I know & love, with a lovely boss.

The team I work with are great also, which makes a huge difference too. As you have to see them most days, so you have to get on on with them. Bar one or two ‘annoying’ ones. Everyone is lovely. I just try to ignore the annoying ones as much as possible. There is always one or two everywhere you go isn’t there?

I have to be honest though, I did think I would get fed up with the nearly 1.5 hour commute there and back every day, but, I think because I love the actual job, the commute doesn’t feel so bad. I always get a seat and love listening to my music and reading my kindle, it is my time to chill and wake up before another manic day starts in the office. As I don’t get a minutes peace there! Don’t get me wrong though, there are days that I ask myself ‘why am I doing this to myself’ But they are rare thankfully. But this is when my trains have been delayed or I have had to deal with rude commuters, which I have come to realise, there are quite a few of them & mostly are men!! Unfortunately there are very few ‘Gentleman’ that travel into London, not that I have seen anyway. They literally push you out the way for a seat! I have to just laugh it off otherwise my mouth would get me into trouble… Thank goodness for soothing music in my ears! ;o)

So, I can’t believe 6 months have gone by already since I told you I was starting this job. The time has literally flown and I see that as a good thing. I just hope, when I update you again in another 6 months, I will still be able to say positive things!

Fingers and everything crossed!!

So, for anyone that is job hunting, or in job they don’t like right now. I am proof that, you can find something you love, don’t give up. or settle for something that is ‘OK’ keep looking and searching and the right job will find you. Trust those instincts of yours, they are never wrong!

Don’t get me wrong. My very ideal job is working for myself and writing a novel. but… until I have time to work on that… this job keeps me happy enough for the time being and for now that will do! :o)

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Why finding the right job is a job in itself!

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I thought I would write a blog about the struggles that come with finding a job, the ‘right’ job.

I have been a PA (Personal Assistant) now for the last 12 years and have enjoyed it, mostly, other than a few other females making it miserable for me. I have worked in various big, global organisiations, so when I deiced to leave a job I loved dearly after nearly 5 years, it was a hard decision, but the company were re-locating to London and not central either, so I had to think of my sanity as the hours were long as it was and boss used to call me at all hours so I didn’t fancy the long 2 hour commute on top of that!

So, now I am job hunting and it is harder than I ever imagined it would be. It looks like there are 1000’s of candidates registered with the recruitment agencies and you are unfortunately just a number. I have been unemployed (hate saying that!) for a week, and I hate it already, I want to be working, I am good at what I do, someone give me a break and a job! 

The problem I find with ‘some’ agencies are this; They tend to like people who have degrees over experience. Well I am the latter, I have tons of good old fashioned experience, I didn’t want to go to uni, I chose to start working as I just wanted to earn money, so therefore I started on reception and worked my way up. Graduates have just come out of uni, having probably never worked in an office and they get given the job over someone like me, who has worked hard to get where I am. Now, I know they may be able to pay a graduate a cheaper rate, but surely a grad has gone into the company, wanting to do the PA job for as little time as possible, to then move into a role more suited to their degree? So then the recruitment process starts all over again? Otherwise, why would you go to uni to become a PA? Now, I am not dissing us PA’s, it is a worthy job that is hard-work and bucket loads of common sense is needed. I am also not slating graduates either, maybe there are some out there, that do want to be a PA/EA, but many of them don’t I am sure of it. So can companies and agencies please stop being so obsessed with the ‘Degree essential’ bit on their job ad’s. There are so many great PA’s out there looking for work who have worked hard to be where they are, they need to be given a chance, I wish people would stop looking at qualifications so much over good old fashioned experience.

So, as you can see. I am finding job hunting a bit of a struggle in itself, it feels like a full time job, one that I am not getting paid for! How unfair is that? I am doing all I can, I with countless agencies, OK I will count them.. 8, OK, that doesn’t sound like loads, but the one’s I have tried to register with say they cannot help me with my search? I assume because they are overloaded with CV’s that look just like mine!

I also find some agencies a little OTT, don’t get me wrong, you do find some gems, but some are just soul destroying for me. I walk out of there, knowing I probably won’t hear from them again, or I will, but they will call me with a job that doesn’t suit me at all and not the right salary etc.. (this happens frequently) So, they don’t tend to listen to what the client actually wants or needs, surely that is vital, to stop wasting both mine and their time?

I find LinkedIn a good website to search for jobs, along with secs and the city. I have had a few interviews but the end results were no’s which, I will admit doesn’t feel great. Being rejected feels crap, it really does, as your confidence then takes a knock and you then think, why wasn’t I good enough, did I come across badly at the interview.. it must have been my personality etc.. That is what happens to me anyway. I am a wee bit sensitive, something I am working on 😉

I just have to keep thinking that, the jobs that I didn’t get were not for me, and not meant to be and that a job I sorely deserve is out there somewhere soon. I just have to keep plodding on and stay positive, when sometimes all I want to do is sit on the sofa and cry lots. I deserve a break, as I am sure many other PA’s do too. We just have to keep at it and the right one will find us when it is good and ready.
Oh and tips for people that in the same position as me is:
1: Don’t let knock-backs get you down – unfortunately it is part and parcel of the job hunt, there are so many candidates going for each job, you might just not be the right ‘fit’ for that certain company, doesn’t mean you weren’t good enough. Ask for feedback if it helps put your mind at rest.
2: Be persistent – Agencies have 1000’s of people on their books, so keep reminding them who you are and that you are still looking, even if it sending them a weekly email to tell them rather than calling them all the time. This helps them keep your name fresh in their minds, I am not sure if it works, but it doesn’t do any harm and could help you bag that job.
3: Don’t give up! – Even if you feel like you will never get there, you will. It just sometimes takes time. It can be depressing and draining, but keep going, keep applying for jobs you know you can do well at and are worthy of. Soon enough something will come up that is right and meant just for you.
4: Job site alerts – Obvious one, but keep alerts on your job websites that you are registered to, as then any new jobs come flying into your inbox and you can apply for straight away.
5: LinkedIn – If you are not on there, get yourself on it! I can’t tell you how helpful this has been for me in the past for networking and jobs too. Recruiters in-house tend to look on there for suitable candidates. Make sure your profile is up to date with all your job history on and turn the job alerts on there too. Also, ask for any recommendations from previous bosses as this can help too, as it is an instant reference for an employer to see straight away.

 

Why did I become a PA again..?

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…