Farrer & Co
00:00:03 My name’s Tracy F, I’m a PA in Farrer and Co in London. A lot of my job week to week would involve diary management, quite extensive organising of meetings, I arrange management board packs for board meetings, so I liaise quite a lot with some of the Partners within the firm. I think which makes my job quite different to other secretaries, because they would perhaps just work for their team. I deal with all the other secretaries, I do event management as well, like firm Christmas party, arrange away days for some of the Team Leaders. As well as general typing, and minutes, and telephone calls obviously.
00:00:50 When I was at school I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do. I did things like Child Development, because I thought at one point I might have wanted to work with children. And then we did a third year activity week, where we could work on site at a given career or choice. And I worked at a primary school. And although I really liked it, I just was quite bored and wanted something a little bit more hands on. And then when I started doing more and more of the Business Studies, I just sort of found a bit more of a flair for that. I liked the organisational side of things, and the multi-tasking, and just the variety of work – I just couldn’t do things day in, day out, that are the same. I stayed on and did Sixth Form in Business Studies to pass my exams. And instead of going on to college, was actually offered a job locally to help out in a office.
00:01:49 I sort of fell on to my very first job helping out, which should have only been for the six weeks holiday, and just ended up enjoying it so much, within an office environment, that, as I said, I stayed for five years. And only ended up leaving because the company went into receivership. So I think if the company hadn’t have gone into receivership, I probably would have stayed there and actually not moved up the career path, because I was probably quite low in the PA role that I was doing. And now I’m more at the higher end of the role. So I think with the company going into receivership actually did me a favour, and gave me a kick up the bum to go out and do – sort of better myself.
00:02:35 Well I’ve recently been diagnosed with Addison’s Disease, I was diagnosed January 2006, the month I was due to start where I am now. I’d been hospitalised a few times, had my interview for this job, ended up in hospital a few days later, and over part of Christmas. Obviously we then – my parents contacted the firm to explain the situation. I think they went away, had a think about it, consulted the company doctor who, strangely enough – this disease affects 1 in 100,000 people, so it’s quite rare – knew somebody who’d got it, and said as soon as Tracy’s on the tablets, she’ll be absolutely fine. I was very fortunate that they held the job open for me. They didn’t really know me, so they just took me on face value, and decided that I must have fitted in with the environment, with the people that the job was for. So I was very lucky that they did that for me, and I think that helped an awful lot. Because I think they showed loyalty to me, and I’ve naturally shown it back to them.
00:03:50 I wouldn’t change anything that I’ve already done, because I think it’s made me the person I am today. I enjoy my working career, and I love and adore being a Mum. So yeah, I think I’m pretty lucky that I can have the best of both worlds.
Tracy F is a Personal Assistant at Farrer & Co in London. A good work/life balance is important to her, “I enjoy my working career, and I love and adore being a Mum. So yeah, I think I’m pretty lucky that I can have the best of both worlds”.
More information about Personal assistants and other secretaries
The UK average salary is £28,758
There are 37.5 hours in the average working week
The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male
- Acts as a first point of contact for a manager or team with colleagues and people from outside organisations, fields telephone enquiries, takes and passes on messages;
- Arranges appointments, keeps business diary, organises travel arrangements, makes reservations and organises a variety of functions;
- Opens, sorts, distributes and files correspondence (in hard copy and electronic) and deals directly with routine correspondence;
- Uses appropriate software to produce correspondence, memoranda, reports, presentations and other documents from drafts, handwritten copy or by transcribing dictation;
- Arranges and attends meetings, takes minutes and prepares records of proceedings;
- Translates documents and liaises with overseas clients and suppliers.
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