Year of You

Pippa’s Guide to January 2017 – The Year of You

Hi everyone, Pippa here with my first column of 2017.

Did you have a lovely break over Christmas? I certainly did. It’s unbelievable how exhausting the build- up is though isn’t it? By the time I’d made the long train journey home, up North, with bags so heavy and stuffed with presents they nearly snapped my spine and fingers, I felt utterly broken. Nothing to do with the serious hangover I had from my work Christmas party the night before of course…..

Anyway, Dad picked me up from the station, like a wonderful mirage, a true Christmas angel of the North, promptly relieved me of my bags and bundled me into his nice warm car at which point I feel asleep and dribbled onto his upholstery.

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Pippa’s Guide to Team Bonding

Hello, Pippa here. How are you all? Have your thoughts turned to Christmas yet?

Yes… I know I said the ‘C’ word and yes… I slightly hate myself for it. Every year I myself berate my mother for ringing in October to ask what present I want and what time she can expect me home on the 24th. My stock reply is always ‘the best present you could give me is not asking me to think of one in October and if you want me home on the 24th you need to calm down.’

The trouble is, she always thinks I’m joking so it’s become a tradition almost. Instead of changing her ways and realising she’s totally OTT she just laughs at me. If anything my plain speaking encourages her dubious pester tactics further and the volume of calls increase. So please now forgive me for my own premature Christmas chat.

In fact, maybe I should rephrase that opening gambit? Okay, I’ll ask this instead. Have your thoughts turned to ‘getting ready for the run up to Christmas’ yet? Mine have because two things have taken place, which signal that the run up is indeed upon us (mother’s phone call not included.)
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Pippa’s advice on… Questions to ask a New Boss

Hello my fellow PA’s. I hope this finds you well and enjoying life. I think it’s fair to say we’ve definitely had the last dregs of what has been a fairly prolonged Indian summer. In fact, as the leaves fall from the trees, the temperature drops and we head towards winter, this time of year often feels more like New Year than New Year itself!

Certainly my thoughts have turned to clearing out my cupboards, choosing soup over salad, buying a new winter coat and perhaps acquiring some smart boots or shoes to go with it. Though maybe I’m feeling particularly inspired to get shipshape because I’m about to start a new job (hence justifiable clothes buying….).

Of course, a new job means a new boss and along with a streamlined wardrobe comes a strong sense of determination to do really well in my latest role.

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micro manager

Pippa’s Advice on Working for a Micro Manager

I’ve been working as a freelance PA for many years now, often on short contracts. With every new contract comes a new boss and over the years I have noticed that most bosses tend to fall into one of four different categories.

There are the ‘power’ bosses. This type of manager or boss is quite common. They’re the sort who quite enjoys throwing their corporate weight around; making sure no one is under any illusion as to who is in charge. It follows that people who have risen to the top are likely to be assertive, go getting and driven and power bosses are certainly all of these things. Power bosses are usually good at their job and can be both manageable, interesting and inspiring, on the proviso that you are doing your job effectively. Power bosses struggle to like anyone whose work ethic and output they don’t respect. So, if you are good at what you do, fairly tough and prepared to pander to their ego occasionally, you’ll be fine working for a power boss. Otherwise you’re stuffed. In short, they’re not for the faint hearted.

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Pippa’s Guide to Working for an Introvert

Have you ever taken the Myers- Briggs test? It’s very popular in the business sector and is a test designed to indicate what an individual’s psychological preferences are. If you take it, (there are lots of free versions online) depending on what you answer to a string of questions, you will be assigned one of sixteen different personality types. It’s quite interesting to do and far more enlightening, revealing and useful than doing one of those cheesy multiple choice personality tests in a magazine or on Facebook, which I’ll admit to being partial to doing from time to time. As a result I leapt at the chance to give the Myers-Briggs test a go. The description of the personality I was allotted is me in a nutshell and the difference between silly magazine quizzes and this is that the former certainly wouldn’t be taken seriously by an employer whereas this would.

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Pippa’s Guide on: How to Make your Executive Happy

Hello fellow PA’s.
Are you all well and enjoying this rather ‘dramatic in terms of news’ summer? I hope you have some holiday to look forward to and that the sunshine has warmed your bones during at least one or two of your lunch breaks.
I’m a huge fan of a proper lunch break by the way. Plenty of studies show that if you have a proper break during the day (and by that I don’t mean a snatched sandwich, stuffed in your mouth at your desk over a quick glance at Facebook), your performance will be far more effective overall. In fact, if you never stop and don’t schedule in the odd ‘proper’ rest/break, you will end up becoming totally wired. Of course, the culture of working endlessly has become common practice but that doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Still, this is all for another time perhaps, for what I want to focus on today is something I was musing on over a salad and a cappuccino in a nice, sunny square one lunchtime last week during one of my most pleasant breaks.

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Pippa’s Advice on Recruitment

With the third ever London PA Awards looming, I thought it might be nice to talk a bit about the business of recruitment itself and what the process of becoming a Tate PA entails. It seems particularly timely because this year Tate are sponsoring the above wonderful awards; in itself a huge honour but perhaps not surprising given how many career PA’s have been produced by them, myself included!

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Pippa’s Advice on Networking

When it comes to ‘networking’ people naturally tend to fall into one of two camps.
The first camp consists of those who love nothing more than the sniff of an opportunity to socialise with people who could help them progress in their careers. These people won’t even pause before accepting an invitation to work drinks or to a professional event. They actively look forward to work focussed occasions, will embrace the chance to impress and will invariably have a stack of business cards tucked away in a pocket, ready to be handed out to anyone useful. They will ‘work’ the room and come away from events with new contacts and useful information.
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