Whether they're called private assistants, personal secretaries, personal assistants or something else, people in this role have one main responsibility: to do tasks their bosses ask of them. Private assistants work with famous people, busy executives, dignitaries or anyone who has little time but plenty of money to have someone else handle the day-to-day realities of managing a home and business.
Private assistants often work with high-profile executives or celebrities who may be highly sought after by the public, the media, companies and clients. That may mean the executive gets a lot of correspondence via e-mail, telephone and social media, so much so that the executive herself can't keep up. The private assistant often steps into the shoes of the executive, and may help respond to emails, maintain social media profiles or otherwise communicate with the many people competing for the executive's attention.
A private assistant is also helpful in handling the day-to-day tasks required of a busy executive or celebrity, including handling her schedule. Private assistants may be the ones to set up meetings, schedule conferences, parties and public appearances or set aside vacation time. They also handle the logistics of the executive's schedule. She may order the food needed for an important meeting or hire caterers for a private party. She may book hotels and plane tickets, make dinner reservations and may even go on vacation with the executive to continue handling day-to-day issues that occur.
The business executives, celebrities or other high-profile people who private assistants work for may have complicated jobs that require specific expertise. While the professional expertise is the responsibility of the executives, their assistants may be the ones doing the initial research or leg work. A private secretary may do the background research on the pros and cons of choosing a specific product for a business, and then provides that information to the executive to make the decisions and write up a final report. The assistant may help develop an outline of a speech that the executive then fleshes out, or may find and purchase the books or periodicals with information a celebrity needs to know before attending a charity event or public speaking event.
When they're hired as "personal" or "private" assistants, they may be paid by the executive herself, as opposed to being paid by the company with which the executive works. This means the assistant helps handle private matters that in-office secretaries may not deal with, such as buying clothing or arranging a date for the executive, says CNN Money. Since they work together so intimately, boss and employee often end up being friends and close confidantes.
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