November 1, 2007
Things I will not do when I have an assistant:
*Make my assistant go to meetings about things that don’t involve her in any way and then make awkward small-talk with executives who are all “Oh, and what do you do? …You’re an assistant, you say? So… Are you here to take notes?”
*If I do make her go to meetings that don’t concern her, I will not make her participate in the go around the room, who has a question, if you don’t have you you need to invent one so as not to appear lazy or disinterested thing.
*CC her on emails about TPS reports when she has never written or read a TPS report and has no plans to do so except under extreme duress.
*Tell her to get me an impossible reservation for that evening and then, when I’m walking out the door, go “Oh! Yeah, that’s been canceled, didn’t I tell you? Geez, you should probably call the restaurant and let them know.”
*Ask her to go get me some sushi for lunch when the sushi bar has already closed for the afternoon because I forgot to get lunch until 3:30 even though she had been asking me every thirty minutes since 11:45 if I needed lunch.
*Sneak up on my assistant from behind and give her a fond, joking punch in the shoulder.
Something I find really endearing about my current ladyboss:
She gets slightly perturbed when I offer to bring her coffee:
Can I get you some coffee?
I can get my own coffee.
I know you can, but I’m offering, so it’s okay to say yes.
Well. Hmph. Really, I can get my own.
But you look sleepy.
I used to hate it when people made me go get them coffee. It’s– it’s offensive!
But I like you. And I’m offering. So it’s okay. Really.
LOOK. I were to go get coffee for myself, and I happened to find myself with an extra cup, what do you think I should put in that extra cup so it wouldn’t go to waste?
…I see what you did there.
Something terrible and assistant-related I recently did:
I was standing around, and this girl walked by. It’s a girl I met when she started as someone’s assistant a year and a half ago, and they corralled me into helping her figure out what she was supposed to be doing. Which was already odd, because I had no idea what she was going to be doing, and I didn’t even work in that department. But okay.
“Hey,” I said. “How’s it going?”
She looked at me oddly, said nothing, and tried to keep going. Hmph, I thought. That’s kind of rude! As though I didn’t spend three hours teaching her how to roll calls!
I smiled at her passive-aggressively:
“Ahem. How’s it going?”
“Um, fine,” she said.
“Cool. You’re still on the same desk?”
“…yeah,” she said, trying to edge away. Like I was some kind of crazy person.
“And everything’s cool? Your call-rolling skills are totally up to par?”
Now, see. I was by this point kind of irritated that she was pretending not to recognize me. I mean, I had imparted to her the secret wisdom of how to calm down her panicky boss! (A handful of those peanut-filled pretzels, holding all calls, and a cup of tea-with-honey that should arrive unannounced, so as not to draw attention to the fact that the boss was panicky and required soothing.) And I let her know which sandwiches to avoid at the commissary! And I told her who on her floor was crazy in non-entertaining ways! And she couldn’t even say hello?
“Yeah,” she said. “Everything’s cool over there in International Legal.”
“…Oh. …Um, great! Have a good day!”
And as she walked off, I realized that this was a TOTALLY DIFFERENT PERSON, SOMEONE I DIDN’T KNOW AT ALL.
SORRY. So awkward! Naturally, I wanted to apologize, but by the time I recovered my brain equilibrium, it was too late, and she had vanished!
I’m a terrible person. When I have an assistant, I will probably totally make her go to meetings and read TPS reports. I’m sure all executives, when they first get an assistant, think I’m gonna be different. A cool boss. You’ll see. and then before you know it they’re all “Hey, my phone is broken! I NEED HELP. Oh… you just plugged it in. I see what you did there.”