From the desk of Penelope Alice, Britain’s most fabulous PA – PA Life Club

From the desk of Penelope Alice, Britain’s most fabulous PA

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As management assistants, we are often called upon to go above and beyond the call of duty. I remember a friend telling me in horrified tones of how she had to accompany her female exec to a fertility clinic, as her husband was out of town at the time, and hold the woman in question’s hand while she received IVF treatment – that surely crosses the line in terms of employee/manager relations.

On another occasion a different female boss decided she wanted to spice things up a little at a conference she was attending and despatched her trusty aide to fetch some frilly (and frankly embarrassing) underwear from home. Registering maximum on the Richter scale of outrageous demands, however, has to be the tale from Italy that relates how one lecherous employer apparently requested that his personal assistant sign a contract specifying that she have sex with him once a week. Personally, I blame Berlusconi…

So we are all in agreement that bosses sometimes overstep the mark when it comes to their requests, but now one blogger in the US has turned the whole scenario on its head and set out an amusing list of personal tasks she would hire a PA to do for her – the “PA’s PA” if you will.

The kind of duties she would like her assistant to perform include “doing the laundry and putting clothes away properly folded”, “pose for the family Christmas card photo, print cards, sign with touching message, address and post them”, “massage my feet”, “reupholster the living room furniture”, plus – and this one definitely breaches personal boundaries – “scratch that spot on my back I can’t reach”. Read the rest of the list here:

The best way I’ve found to deal with unreasonable requests is to try to get your own back and I managed to do so with one extremely annoying manager, when I played him at his own game over submitting expenses. This particular director thought he would chance his arm by adding in a lot of personal expenses along with the professional ones, meaning that I ended up inputting his supermarket receipts (including food for his pet dog) and a shopping spree at Heathrow Terminal 5 that comprised a carton of 200 duty free cigarettes.

When I questioned his receipts I was told that he normally expensed that type of purchase and I should stop being so nosy and just put them through. I don’t think he realised, however, that I also did the expenses for the company’s CFO and he wasn’t best pleased when I accidentally on purpose left his expense report on the CFO’s desk, who unluckily for him turned out to be equally as curious as me!

Anyway, that’s all folks, as they say – I’m taking a well-deserved break with my BlackBerry switched firmly off (dear execs, kindly take note) and a glass of sherry in hand (purely medicinal, you understand). I will return to lighten up your lives with more tall tales in the New Year – until then, have a cool Yule!