The best piece of advice I have ever been given was from my dear Nana. She used to be a secretary and told me many a story of travelling into central London every morning on the tube. One day she was telling me how she had been typing up an invoice for some machinery that her company supplied. She had been given the incorrect amount, but didn’t notice the error since she had no idea what this equipment was. Her boss went berserk and couldn’t understand how she had got it so wrong. She exclaimed how she didn’t know what it was that she was invoicing and made him take her round to the warehouse to show her what it was (no health and safety in those days!). That way, she would be sure to not make the same mistake again.
She told me “the more you know about your company’s business, the more you can help your team”.
This stuck with me since the day she said it. It sounds so obvious, but I speak to so many PAs who seem to have a complete lack of interest in what their teams do on a day to day basis. And the worst thing is that they don’t want to know. In my opinion, this is laziness at best. How are you meant to know if that document needs to be sent by courier or email? How do you know if the person who wants to speak to your boss is worth interrupting him for?
Now, I try and get involved with as much of my company’s business as I can. I sit in on meetings if I have time, and I take notice of news articles which could have an impact on us. And I always say “us”, not “them” – I’m part of the team, after all.
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received? And the worst?