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A day in the life of... A senior PA

Have you ever wanted to run your bosses life? Do you have a hankering to be at the heart of a major company, but you don't want the pressure of sitting in that CEO's chair? Do you like working with people and employing all of your organisational skills in a way that will be noticed? A role as a senior PA could be for you.

In the third instalment of our day in the life series, we asked one of our senior PAs to run us through her typical day. As the right hand of CEOs and chief executives everywhere, senior PAs are at the heart of the business world. They act as gatekeepers and minders – tracking and arranging meetings, flights, drivers, lunches and even organising personal shopping and finances. A senior PA is also responsible for arranging conferences, corporate socials and managing the front of house receptionists. The job can demand long hours, but the relationships you build, the breadth of experience and variety of work can bring huge satisfaction.

I work at an advertising agency, so it's quite an open plan, fun place to be. I get in at about quarter to nine -mainly for the free breakfast, which is great! I start off like most people - going through my e-mails and clearing my desk. I work for the Chief Executive who's just been made CE of Europe and throughout the day my desk constantly fills up with personal cheques, clippings, books he'd like me to get and papers relating to projects I'm working on.

The basic structure of my day revolves around making sure he sticks to his timetable. I update him in the morning about where he's got to be, when and who he's going to meet, then the rest of the day is spent getting him back to that timetable, out of meetings that are running over, into cars, planes, other meetings and conference calls that I've arranged for him. I provide that framework so he can just slot into it and not think about the routine, which means I help with organising his personal life as well. So the course of my day really depends on his, which can be quite varied. I could be out of the office at 6pm or 9pm.

My day is usually pretty full on, but I used to be an Account Handler, so I'm used to juggling a lot of things at once; I usually eat lunch at my desk. I have quite a few other projects to arrange. I look after the secretaries - so I check they're trained and organise any holiday cover or HR issues. I also organise corporate days for our clients at Cowes for Cowes Week and I've set up a library in the learning zone of the office, so I'm always on the look out for interesting books to buy for that. As part of that learning programme I also organise a speaker to come in one lunch time every week - a few weeks ago we had a professional voice coach who came in and showed us interactive voice exercises to help improve how we present.

I became a senior PA because I wanted a break from the stress of being an Account Handler, but I certainly wouldn't say it was a calmer job. It's sometimes hard to remind yourself that it's his life and the stresses he deals with aren't mine, but in such a close relationship, you'll inevitably get caught up. There's always lots going on and it's great to be at the centre of the company, I like my portfolio of responsibilities but at the end of the day, it's my relationship with the CE that's most important - it's a good one so I really feel like I'm valued and tha's quite rare in many jobs.

Regan & Dean provided a high level of support and advice during my time spent job hunting.

Gemma Brumage

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