(pur-suh-nl uh-sis-tuhns) (n.)
The practice of providing assistance to individuals with business and personal tasks. Personal assistants provide services that allow their employers to focus on more important activities. Duties normally include the scheduling of meetings, note taking, answering phone calls, arranging transportation and other day-to-day tasks that their employers require. The average personal assistant works anywhere from 40 to 80 hours a week.
People who cannot afford to hire full-time personal assistants to maintain their immediate needs often hire secretarial companies who can provide part-time personal assistants to cover basic services. These types of companies usually also provide local discounts, dining recommendations and concierge services.
There is no specific path any one person can take to becoming a personal assistant. However, most personal assistants must demonstrate a strong work ethic and the ability to multi-task under extreme pressure. Personal assistants normally have secretarial experience and a good deal of self-discipline. Many employers will also look for a good personal rapport between themselves and a potential assistant in order to maintain a good working relationship.
Personal assistants often interact with high-level executives, which could eventually lead to potential promotions or other job offers. When an employer goes on a vacation the personal assistant normally goes along as well, thus receiving a working vacation on their employer's expense. Other perks can range from being invited to gallery openings, concerts and even other high-profile events. Most personal assistants will have gained a lot of valuable knowledge and experience during their career which will allow them to easily transition in to new positions or careers if they choose.