Thursday, May 18, 2006

Sorry, what was that? I couldn't hear over the size of my TROPHY

At lunchtime today, I received my award for Times Crème, DHL PA of the Year – Runner Up 2006. I KNOW. Who on earth would’ve thought! Certainly not my parents, who are so excited I think they may have misheard and are telling all their friends I’ve won the X-Factor. See, they always thought I’d be some cruise singer or something, eeking out a living in rhinestones, blasting my way through showtunes, all the while crying inside over someone called Juan.

But, actually, even though I never expected to be one, I’ve ended up absolutely loving being a PA and feel justified in my award. Kind of.

I mean, generally, I know that I can do my job and I’m pretty much okay with stuff. But better than other people? I hadn’t noticed a change of location for a meeting on Tuesday until the very last minute: surely that’s proof enough that I’m really just fluking it?

You see, there are two kinds of people in this world. There are the people who are supremely confident – Sayeed and Paul from The Apprentice are two perfect, recent examples – who never doubt that they are number one. The other are people who get on with things in the background, hear the negatives before the positives and are never really bothered about setting the world on fire.

And I think that, by the very nature of our working life, the majority of PAs tend to fall into the latter category. Being seen isn’t top of our list. We like to look after, to nurture, to push from behind the scenes. We don’t actively seek out praise or get top kudos from a deal that’s gone through. Professionally speaking, that is, because outside of this place, I will not be outdone on the karaoke machine and will wrestle you without warning if you try and do one of my numbers.

But this is exactly why it’s ace that I got this award. I don’t feel like a fraud in the workplace anymore. I feel competent, strong and capable. Of course, I’ve felt like that before, but this time, it’s been acknowledged in a way that only stars tend to get. I am so proud of who I am and what I do. I’m not ‘just a PA’. I’m an award-winning PA. And, apart from this red wine hangover, I’ve never felt more inspired in my life.

I’m now campaigning for a PA of the Year, Europe competition, followed by PA of the World competition to be held in Hawaii, where the highlight of the judging process will be the bikini minuting section which, well, kind of speaks for itself. Anyone who’s interested, sign up below …