Whether you’re already a working personal assistant, or aspiring to be one, your career can benefit from a number of qualifications and certificates. Several organisations offer specific PA courses catered…
The media industry would certainly be considered a ‘sexy’ sector. Many young women and men aspire to work in this vibrant environment and if this is you, Sarah Peach offers a fantastic insight into her time working at Sony Music. As Executive Assistant/Personal Assistant to the Vice President and Legal Affairs, this is undoubtedly an enviable role for countless job seekers.
Sarah chose to begin her day by cycling to work (unless it was freezing!) and with an active start she was seated at her desk by 9am, geared up for the lively day ahead. Upon arrival at the office, she greeted those few married to their desks before switching on her own PC and making a cuppa. Her boss arrived at around 10am, which meant she had one hour to check emails, deal with any outstanding tasks and get on with the general duties which could only be squeezed into this quiet hour of the day. After that, the mayhem began.
Sarah started her career as a law graduate and initially wanted to work in-house as a Lawyer within the music industry. She also attended drama school and as well as chasing up acting roles, she worked as a legal PA. Her theatrical career sadly never took off but she continued to work as a legal PA and then progressed to senior EA roles. She began to develop her skills and enjoyed absorbing information from her surroundings and colleagues.
Sarah describes Sony as a fun and extremely sociable environment to work in. As a music company, there was, of course, always music being played. With a large open plan office covering two floors it was the perfect layout to provide a positive atmosphere and sustain fantastic relationships between staff members. Sarah learnt a lot from her boss and described their relationship as ‘happy and successful’. With the smart/casual dress code, Sarah said it was nice to not always feel like you’re actually at work.
Sarah is a true advocate for work/life balance. She is someone who loves to get out 2 or 3 nights a week. When she does stay at home, she makes sure that she spends time relaxing by reading, working-out, meditating and playing the piano. Her weekends are reserved for her son.
Sarah is a firm believer that her IT skills were a crucial factor in order to fill this role successfully. She recommends that people should gain a good understanding of MS Office suites and keep updated with the latest version’s functions. Unyielding organisation was also a strength that put her in good stead throughout this position. If Sarah was given the opportunity to learn a new skill, she would like to pick-up a language or two and suggests that any course taken outside work hours is always helpful towards developing your CV.
The progression opportunities at Sony were endless. The music industry is a competitive world so she would advise those looking to enter it to be prepared to start at the bottom and learn the ropes. You have to work hard on the actual job at hand rather than eyeing up the future in wishful hope. Sarah has the view that being a PA doesn’t have to be a life-long course. If she wasn’t a PA, Sarah would re-start her legal training and become a Para-legal or Lawyer.
One of her biggest pieces of advice for any aspiring PAs is to attempt to remain as calm as you can under pressure. It is important to remember that it is only a job. Keep smiling, don’t lose your cool and make sure you go out with a friend to unwind later. She also suggests that learning the names of those in more junior positions than yourself will help you to gain respect.