May 18, 2006

Memoirs of an executive assistant

So here was my mistake that led me to write this post. I was chatting with a co-worker, discussing my long held belief that the executive assistant is the easiest way to judge the true persona of an executive. My theory was so enjoyed that it was suggested I blog it. Many thanks, I will eventually return the favor…..
So my theory goes like this:
EA to Exec Match UpI have been an EA for a lot of years, and worked for several companies, large and small. Over the years my theory has almost always held true.
In my line of work, I am constantly communicating with other executive assistants, coordinating complicated schedules and meetings. Sometimes these interactions are very simple and pleasant. Sometimes they are so painful and political it gives me a headache. Whenever these little interactions are over, I usually have a pretty decent picture of the executive’s personality, without ever speaking with them.
One of my favorite things to do is to be around to greet an exec when it’s time for the first meeting (to prove myself right). For example, if the EA is easy to work with, pleasant, always follows up, etc., chances are the exec is a low maintenance, generally nice person who treats them with respect. If the EA is a harried, unorganized mess who can’t remember what the action item was and never calls me back, I assume the exec is constantly throwing them curve balls, leaving them out of the loop a lot and is possibly a yeller. If the EA is just rude, demanding that the meeting happen at their preferred location, at their preferred time, and never tries to be considerate of the other schedules involved, I assume that the executive is a bit of a megalomaniac and has hired a gatekeeper to protect them and to encourage others to be deferential and to stroke the exec’s massive ego.
And then there are the idiot EAs. The ones that make me wonder how they manage to drive to work each day without getting lost. Usually these EA’s are extremely attractive women (think vapid Barbie) who are hired by very vain men. These exec’s are convinced that appearances are more important than efficiency and substance (Many of the EA’s that I have worked with over the years are very attractive people who are also extremely good at their jobs. You know who you are, and I’m not talking about you.).
The final type is the bossy EA. This is the person who thinks that they really, truly run the company. They know everything about the company, and always have their executive’s schedule memorized. They try to keep their hands in everything and tend to have control issues. This exec is usually insanely busy and appreciates structure. Some would say I fall into this category. I can be a bit bossy and perhaps tend to pester if I think a meeting may be missed. I think my boss needs this. Does he think he needs this? I don’t know, I never asked.
— Randi Melo, Executive Assistant to the CEO

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Redgee Capili

General Manager, Plaxo.com

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Comments
  • Julie

    I could not agree more!
    When I deal with EAs that I can’t stand, I will turn on my internet radio and ignore them. I particularly like http://www.radiosherpa.com as I am in NYC.