A few weeks ago I wrote a post on the phenomenon that was Things I’m Afraid to Tell You. This was such a great movement in the blog world and was even featured in the Huffington Post! When I shared this post with you I was a wimp and didn’t join the fellow bloggers in disclosing any hidden fears – to be honest I thought it might all be a little too heavy and a little too public (very English of me!). If I put my mind to it, I probably could’ve come up with a list of mild concerns and kept the biggies filed away, but I don’t think I would’ve done myself any favors. You see, I’m an all or nothing kinda girl – black or white, there is no grey. Vagueness drives me nuts (it’s as infuriating as indecisiveness!), so laying out a list of peripheral thoughts seemed pointless to me. When I read blogs I like to read things I can relate to, and assuming you think the same, I didn’t want to write about some luke warm fears and for anyone to read them and think ”you call that a fear?!“, because that’s what I’d think if I were you! Right now I’m thinking of Dane Cook’s Dad’s reaction in this video (watch it all the way through – it’s very funny!).
So I thought that rather than giving a list of tepid fears, I would give just one that is full-on 100% – no grey!
Two months ago I gave up the flat I loved in London and sold most of my belongings, moved to my parents and found myself stood in their living room, bin bags full of my clothes at my feet, feeling free and lost all at the same time. For months I’d felt like I was trapped in a hurricane and knew that I was the only person who could get myself out. With the support of my friends, family and Mike, I pulled myself out of the head-spinning ordeal. Feeling shellshocked, the only thing that made sense to me was getting on a plane to New York, to Mike and having a hug.
Sitting on that plane to New York, with every mile I flew away I felt like I was escaping the horrible situation I’d just been through. True enough, it takes a little more than 3400 miles to shake all of that off but I’m working on it. Building yourself back up and coaching yourself into believing in yourself again takes a lot of effort. It’s tiring. I’ve gone round in circles and back the other way many times, getting bored of my own thoughts! The trouble is (and this will sound very silly), I don’t know how to relax. I am the worst at relaxing – as Mike said, on the outside it may appear like I’m relaxed, but inside my mind is racing and I’m wearing myself out. I even tried Googling “how to stop your mind racing” – hence the reason why I recently took up yoga. It’s a work in progress!
Recently I’ve dipped my toe in the water to see what the London job market is like in the PA field. My own hang-ups about the role of a PA are mirrored in what you will have seen if you watched Mad Men, but I know that I have the power to control this if I have enough conviction…
There are many different kinds of PAs, and many different types of PA roles. The trick is to identify what you want from your role and stick to your guns. I’ve been asked a number of times what I’m planning on doing with my career long term. I know that the people asking this don’t mean any harm, but it gives me this worthless feeling inside to think that some people don’t consider being a PA a real long-term career choice.
Over the last 7 years I’ve come to the realization that the role of a PA is not hard and fast – it is a very broad term for someone who can wear many different hats. Which hats that role requires you to wear, and what you bring to the role, are up for negotiation. It is for this reason that I have pursued this profession for 7 years. Being able to pick an industry is great! I really enjoy making a role my own.
It has dawned on me that by choosing what skills I want to learn that are of interest to me, will enable me to offer more when job hunting. This is why I have been working hard on developing new skills that really interest me, are relevant to the world we live in and are useful! It is my intention to find a role where I can apply these new skills. If I’m fortunate enough to find a role that enables me to use the skills I’ve chosen to acquire because they are of interest to me, this will help me feel passionate about the role. Being excited about what I do is really important to me. That is not up for negotiation.
Obviously, as a PA, it is vital that you get along with your boss and strike up a good working relationship – a team. Ideally a boss who values their PA, treats her with respect, encourages and supports her in her role and development. Presuming that PA is enthusiastic and loyal, to me those traits in a boss are entirely deserved. Surely it’s just commonsense that a mutual respect makes for a happy working environment.
Imagine I’m a house… at the moment I’m working on building an extension, but before I do that I need to repair the roof damage from a recent storm, and fix the guttering from a few years of neglect. Once I’ve done that, have the extension underway, and have repainted the windows, I’ll be ready to put myself back on the market!