Pippa’s look back at 2016

Hello one and all – Pippa here.

How are you? How is the ‘build up’ going for you? Are you feeling glittery, warm inside and as though you’re starring in one of those brilliantly cheesy American Christmas movies which Channel 5 seem to love? Or are you strung out, toxic and cynical with a complexion like suet? I’m sort of oscillating between the two. One minute I’m trotting through the streets of London marvelling at how beautiful it is all lit up and twinkly, the next I’m twitching and terrified as yet another commitment my liver can’t cope with looms on the horizon.

It’s the same every year. I over commit, go to work as per normal, struggle with the huge organisational challenge that is present buying and sleep about four hours a night until I reach a point I feel like if there wasn’t any time off coming up I might die. So that’s nice.

Still, nearly there everyone, final push and all that and then we can all head home, slump on the sofa and eat our body weight in cream and sausages. Hooray!

And in the meantime I’m taking advantage of the fact that my boss is at home with some form of flu so thought I’d take a look back at 2016 and the thoughts we’ve shared together.

Of course 2016 is the year which will be remembered for Brexit, lots of celebrity legends shuffling off this planet, a man who shares his name with something we do after eating Brussel sprouts getting into the White House, war in Syria and a general feeling that the world is changing around us rapidly.

But of course in the midst of all of this, good things happen too and all of our lives rumble on. Our careers still matter to us, as do relationships, family and the intricacies of our own small existences and for as long as that is true we must recognise how lucky we are. No matter what is going on around us all any of us can do is to live our lives in the best way we can. That is to say to work hard, play hard and be kind to those around us.

Gosh. Forgive me for going all philosophical on you. Not entirely sure where that came from. It’s probably the time of year combined with a hangover that has rendered me really quite vulnerable. For goodness sakes do not let me listen to small children singing carols or watch It’s a Wonderful Life. Thank you.

Right, back to business. So, I for one have loved sharing thoughts with you all during the year and the fact that we’ve looked at topics as varied as ‘team bonding’ and ‘what it’s like working for a micro manager’ pleases me.
We’ve also talked about working for an introvert, discussed how to make your executive happy and explored tips on managing time and efficiency.

Here come just a couple of my favourite snippets –

On listening to your body….
I have a friend, for the purposes of this let’s call her Cynthia (clearly not her real name…who the hell calls their child Cynthia?) Anyway, Cynthia is a real dynamo, an energetic, party lover who also works an astounding amount of hours every week. Around Cynthia I sometimes feel like a bit of a boring fart because I tend to limit my ‘going out’ nights to the weekend with perhaps the odd Wednesday or Thursday thrown in occasionally for good measure. The reasons I am rather routine are twofold.

Firstly, I don’t earn enough to go out in London every single night and pay my rent and bills. DOES ANYONE?? Sorry, my Northern roots are still flabbergasted by how much it costs to live in this great city. But I digress…….The second reason I don’t burn the candle at both ends all week is because, despite being young and in my twenties, I don’t have the energy. When I have had one of my ‘occasionals’ I end up yawning my way through the following day, wishing the hours away, achieving little and ultimately regretting my silly ways. So I just prefer going out knowing I’ve got the next day to recover. But not our Cynthia. Oh no. Cynthia is incredible and has been known to go out every night of the week and yet still be at her desk at 8.30 am the next morning looking bright and breezy. I used to be in awe of what seemed like her super powers until last month when Cynthia’s body decided to give her a sharp reminder that she is in fact only human and gave her shingles. Ouch.

So my point is that in order to be happy, we need to look after ourselves. We have to have fun but also get sleep, eat right, and then we’ll feel good. Until that gets really dull of course and we need a right good blowout on a Saturday night followed by a kebab and chips at 3 in the morning. See, it’s all about what I said earlier. Balance……..

On Networking and being the best version of yourself
There is absolutely no point going out to network then getting so drunk you make such a complete and utter fool of yourself that the next day you have to phone in sick, when in truth the only thing you’re sick with is embarrassment. People won’t mind you being fun or the life and soul so long as you are in control of what you’re doing and saying and still able to function the next day. So be aware of how you are and save the naked conga for your friend’s birthday party instead. At work events do loosen up and have fun (that’s the point) but bear me in mind that no one wants to promote or work with a total lunatic. So dress to impress and entertain but keep your wits about you.

And…on not promising the earth and keeping your boss happy.
It will stand you in great stead if now and again you can over deliver on something. From time to time your boss will set you a task which they will appreciate is challenging yet if from the outset you have already said ‘don’t worry about this one, won’t be a problem for me at all. In fact, consider it done’ and then you run into difficulties and can’t deliver, you will only disappoint. If however, you accept the task and then go back to them having surpassed expectations you will have earned yourself major brownie points.

A great example of this is something like the Christmas Party. This is a task I have been given a few times to sort out, and it’s a big one. Finding the right venue then ensuring everyone has a great time, on budget and without any catastrophes is no mean feat. So, if your boss approaches you a few months in advance and asks if you’ll take on the task, it’s in your best interests not to say ‘Leave it with me, it’ll be the best party you’ve ever been to. Think Ibiza closing parties crossed with a black tie dinner at Buck Pal with a smattering of Vegas.’ Because if then, come one night in December, your boss is in fact standing by the stationary cupboard, plastic cup of warm Lambrusco in hand, having over indulged on twiglets whilst watching Colin from accounts, Debbie from HR and Dave from the post room humiliate themselves during a slightly unsavoury round of Twister, your words could come back to haunt you.
So, under promise, over deliver……

It’s been fun re reading some of the pieces from the last year. If you’d like to do the same they’re all on the Tate website of course and do give us a follow on twitter @pippablog

And in the meantime thank you for reading and I look forward to seeing what 2017 will bring.

Let’s aim for it to be a good one my fellow PA’s. Let’s keep this city ticking over. Let’s assist. Personally!

Have fun peeps. Have the merriest of Christmases and the most wonderful New Year and I can’t wait to see you all again the other side!! Peace out.

Love Pippa xx

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