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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Greetings my fellow PAs and EAs and welcome to this, the first edition of my very own blog. Over the coming weeks I hope to inform, entertain and enlighten you with a sneak peek at what goes on behind closed office doors in the world of the executive assistant.

 A study from the Denver Business School has revealed that attractive women may be discriminated against when it comes to getting a job that is considered to be “masculine” and for which appearance is not seen as important – this includes job titles like R&D manager, director of finance, mechanical engineer and construction supervisor.

Luckily, there are no such silly prejudices when it comes to being a PA, although your appearance can work against you in other ways. I remember working at a company where one director was notorious for only hiring good-looking, nubile assistants.

A few months after he had been caught having an affair with a much younger member of staff, his assistant asked to move departments and he was told by the CEO in no uncertain terms that the next assistant he employed had to either be male or “older and not in the slightest bit attractive”. The mature woman with horn-rimmed glasses who was eventually hired had no idea she had got the role based on such unflattering criteria.

I like to get out and about as my dear LM (line manager) Mr P is always after interesting new venues for business dinners. Normally these pass off without incident, but there was that unfortunate time with the Japanese clients when an assistant from another department turned up a little the worse for wear and proceeded to address the wife of our Tokyo associate as “Yoko Ono”…

But I digress, I was about to say that I recently paid a visit to Broadway House (pictured), a private members’ club in Fulham. To be honest, I imagined it full of old bores droning on about how they “gave Jerry a damn good thrashing at the battle of Britain” and lots of dreary people sipping sherry. Imagine my pleasant surprise, then, when it turned out to be a funky event space with delicious food (I can definitely recommend the sticky toffee pudding, well worth putting in an extra few minutes on the cross-trainer for) and an amazing roof top terrace.

The only caveat about roof top terraces, of course, is that they do tend to be rather chilly – and I am about as big a fan of the cold as Rihanna is of polo neck jumpers. The clever people at Broadway House, however, have installed a canopy that cocoons the space, as well as heaters all the way around, so you’re sure to be nice and cosy even if the Great British weather is doing its worse.

I was also privileged enough to enjoy a wonderful lunch at Thirty-Six restaurant at Duke’s Hotel the other week. Chef Nigel Mendham’s mouth-watering concoctions included ham hock with pea purée and crispy egg – sublime and such a wonderful change from my usual lunchtime fare of a stale cheese sandwich eaten hunched over my desk.

Until next time, darlings, stay fabulous!