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We often see business PAs wanting to become private PAs – which is great – and we do encourage career moves that will take you in new directions and present new challenges. That said, it’s actually very difficult for us to place a business PA into a private PA role if they have no private experience. If you want to become a private PA, it will be much easier for us to help you if you first become a business PA or EA with private support included as part of the role. It will then be that much smoother a transition to make!
But would you want to become a private PA? We meet a number of candidates who associate being a private PA with a life of private jets, 7* luxury and red carpet glamour. I have to be clear on this: it’s not!
Get used to long hours
Being a private PA means working hours are not so rigidly set as if you were working in a business. (The concept of 9-5 doesn’t really exist.) More often than not, being a private PA means being on call 24/7, 7 days a week. Private PAs need to be very careful about maintaining the balance between their private PA role and personal life! Work-life balance is incredibly important and while it can be tricky to sustain in a private PA position, you must do this to avoid burn-out. It’s important to find the right mix of what’s right for both you and your boss.
You must be a people person (ALL the time)
Being a private PA to a celebrity or UHNWI means you have to work and liaise with A LOT of people. Fans, business associates, estate managers, household staff, spouses, family members, friends, third party suppliers… the list goes on. As his/her private assistant, you are representative of that person at all times and in all areas of their life. It goes without saying that every move you make and word you utter should be demonstrative of how your boss would like to be represented.
You may be managing an extensive team
Depending on the scope of the role and level of responsibility, you may find yourself recruiting a social media team, international household staff, nannies, PR agencies, family office staff and other third party suppliers. Being comfortable with the breadth of your responsibility should not be underrated. One minute you could be crisis-managing a PR scandal, the next making decisions with the vet about a family pet, the next choosing the children’s school.
Discretion is your middle name
It is tough work, but being a private PA can also mean you’re privy to some amazing once-in-a-lifetime experiences. It’s not uncommon for a private assistant to holiday with the boss and their family, attend important family events, and manage all their personal shopping. While you’ll likely meet some incredible people and take magnificent journeys, remember: You’ll be working, not holidaying; and secondly, you won’t be able to talk about it!
To talk about your next Private PA role, get in touch today.