Personal assistant

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U.S. President Barack Obama with his personal secretary

A personal assistant or personal aide (PA) is someone who assists in daily business or personal tasks.[1]

For example, a businessman or businesswoman may have a personal assistant to help with time and daily management, scheduling of meetings, correspondence, and note taking. There are also personal assistants who work specifically for disabled people, and whose salaries may be paid by an individual or by social services on an individual's behalf. The role of a personal assistant can be varied, such as answering phone calls, taking notes, scheduling meetings, etc.

In business or personal contexts, personal assistants are people who provide services that relieve his or her employer from tasks that are associated with managing one’s personal and/or business life. They assist with a variety of life management tasks, including running errands, arranging travel (e.g., travel agent services such as purchasing airline tickets, reserving hotel rooms and rental cars, and arranging activities, as well as handling more localized services such as recommending a different route to work based on road or travel conditions), finance (paying bills, buying and selling stocks), shopping (meal planning, remembering special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries and purchasing gifts) and fitness (exercise monitoring and motivation, as a personal trainer may do).

Personal assistants in business-related phenomena[edit]

People who cannot afford to hire their own personal assistants to run errands or answer phone calls full-time can hire a personal concierge or a part-time assistant. Most companies offer secretarial personal assistance as well as basic assistant services like research, scheduling, travel arrangements, and more. Costs of a part-time employee can end up exceeding the amount it would have cost to hire a full-time employee. Other companies charge a flat monthly fee for personal assistant services based upon the number of requests expected to be placed each month. In addition to the personal assistant services that are provided with the membership, other incentives such as local discounts, concierge services, dining recommendations, and overall knowledge and expertise may even outperform the skills of a regular personal assistant staff member. Newer personal assistant companies instead charge a monthly flat rate, which saves money.

Smaller companies, especially start-up and real estate development companies, may desire the services of a personal assistant to manage an individual executive or to assist in the office as the new company goes about setting up their new business. These personal assistants may develop great skills at the birth of a new company and have opportunities for advancement. Other personal assistants will have garnered valuable knowledge and experience if they choose to move into other positions.

Career development[edit]

Personal assistants in the business field can be offered positions elsewhere in the company. Some are asked to consider full-time positions elsewhere in the company, depending on the level of ambition and education required/desired. Some employers will not see the potential for a personal assistant immediately and thus the personal assistant will remain in that position until other positions become vacant.

In more recent years, the celebrity personal assistant has been thrust into the spotlight. Many celebrity assistants have used the celebrity's exposure to create their own companies, like Madonna's former assistant.

See also[edit]

References[edit]