I have an assistant. You know you’ve made it in the corporate world when, as an assistant, you have your own assistant.
Except that I sometimes wonder who assists who.
Let me give you some background here:
I have been working in my wonderful blue chip corporate company for over 5 years. My work load has increased million-fold. See the economic downturn has done this: you’ve got to do the work of at least 5 people whilst being on the salary of 1/2 a person. I’m basically working an average of 50 hours a week on the salary of a part-timer – Oh cry me a river I hear you say. And I know, at least I’ve got a job. a permanent job. I have some sort of security, but quite possibly a very crap salary that barely makes it possible to live in London. If I told you how much I earn, you’d laugh. But I digress. Again. SO, as I was saying, I’ve got a lot of work, far too much. And after years of complaining, I finally got an assistant (whoohoo!!).
Except that I, i.e. the one who knows exactly what I’m looking for in an assistant, was never part of the interview process. Heck, they didn’t even bother telling me they had finally given in and that I’d get someone to help me out.
It’s just that one day, I got asked to start the proceedings to create a new user, sort out a PC thing & a phone (I dabble in HR as well as IT see…), and that this new user would be in the work station next to mine and would be my assistant. Once I got over the shock (esp. as assistant would be starting the next day), I got cracking. I did however ask to see their CV. I was told there was no CV to see. Baffled yet? Yeah me too. Then I clicked. Family names don’t lie that much, especially weird ones. They had picked the niece of the exec. chairman. Nepotism at its best, and great way to avoid recruitment agency costs.
Anyhow, I like to not make assumptions until I’ve got to know the people and see what they are capable of.. She’s been with me for just about 9 months now (my Early Christmas present!!), and I’ve learnt to tone down my sarcasm, no longer check Facebook during my lunch hour, or go on any websites that could get me in trouble (
job search engines….). Because I’ve basically got some sort of undercover spy next to me. Hardly anybody comes to see me at my desk for a quick chat for fear of being reported. Sad but true.
What ticked me off a bit is that while she’s utterly adorable, she just didn’t have a clue about what working in an office would be like. No idea how to use word, excel, outlook, power point, Acrobat… which, let’s face it are part of the core things to know when you work in an office. There’s a reason for that.
She went to a special kind of school. Performing art school. She majored in Circus stuff. I kid you not. She’s pretty crap at making an excel table, but boy can she mime like Le Mime Marceau, and she can juggle with a pen pot, a stapler, a calculator AND the stickytape dispenser. Pretty cool heh? Except that, this doesn’t really help me.
I did complain about the choice made by the management, I mean COME ON, there are loads of young graduate with a business background, marketing and such, WHY THE FLIP would you pick someone who sees themselves as the spiritual daughter of Zavatta?!?!
I was basically told I was an ungrateful swine and I just had to lump it.
And lumping it I have.
Classic example: I asked her to get me some bubble wrap. Every body knows what bubble wrap is, right? well, she got me wrapping paper with bubbles on it. I facepalmed myself SO hard I still have the mark of my fingers & wedding ring imprinted on my forehead.
I’m not a psycho, there’s nothing I ask her to do that I’d not do myself, so no, I do not ask her to do the boring scanning or get teas and coffees. I explain everything, from how to use outlook to how to turn a word or excel document into a PDF. I never tell her off for asking me a question, even when it is a rather silly one, because I genuinely believe that with the right training she could and hopefully will be good. And I give her a list of things to do everyday, because yeah, even though she’s been here for 9 months and can see that I’m not an octopus, she doesn’t have any initiative. If I don’t tell her what to do, she won’t do it, unless it’s on a list.
But she is lovely.
Rather often, I am asked to do little things, like re-formating a document, or turning something into a presentation. A 10 min job at most. Nope, it’s gonna take her a full morning. I am patient, to a degree. If I was that slow to do trick like that I doubt I’d have passed my probation. What I find really tough to deal with though is her youth. Not that I am ageist and such, but it’s really hard to be made to feel like I was around when the dinosaurs went bust. She doesn’t know who Chuck Norris is. Chuck Effing Norris!! I mean who doesn’t know about the greatest Texas Ranger?!? She doesn’t know about the original 90210. Cannot comprehend why I don’t like Robbie Williams (if it wasn’t for him, Take That would have never split up!). Refers to 90’s band like “Vintage bands“. Oasis, Blur, Nirvana = Vintage. I mean, I’m hardly in the twilight of my youth, she makes me feel like I should wander about the office with a Zimmer Frame or at least already thing about retirement because it’s ‘coming up fast’ – sure, in about 40 years!!!. Oh dear….
Oh, and you wanna know the fun thing? I ain’t getting a payrise because see, they had to hire me an assistant. Oh the irony of it is killing me.
I may not be able to juggle stationery, or swing from a trapeze, or mime my way through an awkward situation, but if you’re after the real tears of a clown, you can come and see me.