06Jun

There’s a community of personal assistants so small and secretive that should you meet one, you might suspect they work for the CIA. Non-disclosure agreements may not be unusual among executive assistants working for high-level corporate leaders, but this group requires you to sign one just to attend a meeting assuming a member vouches for you.

This rarefied group of assistants works for celebrities.

Where a typical private personal assistant may be hired to help with errands and handle some of the boss’ administrative affairs, a celebrity assistant is more likely to be booking a private jet to London, arranging a party in Los Angeles, or as one recalls in a magazine article, shopping in the middle of the night for gourmet ingredients.

The job of these A-list assistants in some respects isn’t far different from that of a corporate executive assistant. Both jobs demand the ability to multitask, good organizational skills, excellent communication, diplomacy, flexibility and the technical skills to get the job done. The difference is in the hours – celebrity assistants are on-call 24/7 – and in the intimacy of the employee-employer relationship.

“Every star has different boundaries and there are certainly those who try to keep their personal information private from their team as long as possible, but more often than not the assistants have access to almost everything in a matter of weeks,” writes Seija Rankin in E! Online.

There’s no shortage of jobs for personal assistants. Thousands are listed online with salaries ranging from around $15 an hour for the errand runner variety of assistant to $78,000 for top tier executive assistants.

ZipRecruiter says the average celebrity personal assistant pay nationwide is $53,000 and lists several openings. But real celebrity assistant jobs rarely show up online and when they do it’s usually by one of the boutique firms in New York or Los Angeles that specialize in placing assistants to the stars. Those A-lister will earn north of $125,000.

Landing one of those jobs is all about connections. You need experience, of course. After that, says the ENews article, “It’s purely by accident… Placements are so random that the assistants could barely give advice to aspiring celebrity assistants if they tried. ‘I don’t think any of us go to college and say, I’m going to be a celebrity assistant,’ stressed one person.”

You might find these tips helpful.

Keep in mind that personal assistants work in fields besides entertainment. As the exclusive New York Celebrity Assistants organization says, “Our organization’s membership represents such diverse fields as film, television, music, philanthropy, fashion, sports, finance, law and politics.”

Photo by Craig Adderley

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Green Key

Some Like It Hot, Some Like It Cold

With summer promising to be a hot one and workers returning to offices, the perennial battle over the thermostat is about to heat up. (Yes, the pun is intended.)

It’s a battle office managers are all too familiar with. Their struggle to reach the perfect Goldilocks temperature is never-ending. Some like it hot; some like it cold, and there’s rarely agreement on the “just right” office temperature.

BusinessNewsDaily attempted to help out in an ambitiously headlined article, “How to Resolve the Office Temperature Debate.” But does it? Of course not.

The article mentions that OSHA, which has no specific requirement, recommends an office temperature setting between 68 and 76 F. The article then cites a study by Helsinki University of Technology’s Laboratory for Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning declaring the ideal office temperature to be exactly 71.6 F. But then, the annual average temperature in southern Finland is only 43.7 F.

A study the article doesn’t mention puts the ideal temperature at 77 F. That study measured typing output and errors in an insurance company headquarters, so don’t expect to convince the men in your office to bump up the thermostat.

Men prefer cooler temperatures. This 2019 study from the University of Southern California has men doing better when the temperature is at or below 70 F. Women, on the other hand, did much better as the temperature went up.

Concluded the authors of the study, “Our findings suggest that gender mixed workplaces may be able to increase productivity by setting the thermostat higher than current standards.” Obviously, the authors were never office managers, otherwise they would be keenly aware of the loss of productivity to bickering, surreptitious thermostat resetting, and formal complaining caused by those finding the office too hot.

Because it’s easier to warm up by wearing a sweater – or a Snuggie as one interviewee told BusinessNewsDaily – office managers tend to dial down the thermostat.

Jared Weitz, CEO and founder of United Capital Source, told the publication he keeps his office at 73 F. “We encourage people to bring in sweaters or jackets if needed, and desktop fans are allowed.”

No matter what you do, you’ll never please everyone. CareerBuilder found that out years ago when it surveyed office workers on the issue only to discover half of them thought their workplace too hot or too cold.

So how does BusinessNewsDaily resolve the issue and justify its headline? The article makes two suggestions. Consult an HVAC professional to set the temperature, then you can blame them. We added that last part.

Or, says the article, “You may be better off enforcing one temperature and requiring your employees to stick to it.”

Photo by gryffyn m on Unsplash

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