The life of a Private PA is not for everyone. I only excelled when I left the corporate world and took on my current role in a private office, which to this day is still my dream job. I am asked so often about the main differences between the two and hence I thought I would list some key points. These are not applicable by any means to all organisations or private offices but they are generalisations that will give you a fair idea and hopefully some food for thought.
- Often more bureaucratic: rules/regulations such as Health and Safety
- Ready-made infra structure: departments to call upon: IT, HR, Accounts & Finance
- Structured in terms of routine of job, set hours 9 – 5.30 with 1 hour for lunch (in an ideal world!)
- Roles more clearly defined and delineated
- Sub-standard performers or employees can more easily be ‘carried’ by colleagues due to larger workforce hence less chance of being exposed too quickly
- Can be hierarchical with multiple layers of seniority
- Easier to take set holidays as in-house support can deputise
- Larger companies more often than not will offer on-going training
- Often more political as not just one decision maker particularly in larger Public companies
- Most companies will have their own established culture which filters from the top downwards
- Often no set job spec – spans across business and personal evolving and expanding with time; often resulting in the PA becoming almost an extension of the family with no obvious or set boundaries
- No set hours; often on call 24/7; equipped with a smartphone to access emails and be contactable out of office at anytime
- No set routine, no day is the same – for me this is a blessing!
- Often one decision maker, i.e. the Boss hence easier to get things done fast
- Given a lot of responsibility quickly
- Often a small office, working alone
- More exposed so no room for errors or mistakes
- Dealing with household matters – from domestic staff to decorators, plumbers, gardeners etc.
- Often no departments to call upon such as IT; have to be “Jack of all trades and master of all”