To My Assistant

Notes for my future assistant. Let's both of us hope that I don't change too much in between now and whenever it is I have enough wealth and importance to hire you.

Paperwork (unreasonable expectations)

I will not toss a massive packet of papers at you with the words, “Fill these out for me,” only for you to quickly discover that they are new patient paperwork for my new plastic surgeon, and that you are expected to fill in the family medical history section without any of my help.

Job Offers (insulting)

When I’m dissatisfied with your job performance, I will talk to you about how to improve your work, rather than spending the afternoon going around the office and asking various interns if they’d like to be my assistant in your place, more than halfway serious about it.

Frugality (very specific)

I will not send you to the liquor store to buy $400 of wine and whiskey as a “business gift” for my best buddy’s birthday, but then put a cap of $7 on the lunch you order for yourself for our weekly staff meeting, including tax and tip, which is barely enough for you to get a small house salad and some bread from the outrageously expensive place we always order from.

Sick Days (missing the point of them)

When you tell me you’re going home sick for the second half of the day, I won’t say, “Oh! Perfect!” and assign you a hugely tedious and exhausting research and/or data entry project to do, “now that you have some time on your hands.”

And the final To My Assistant contest winner is…

This lucky/unlucky assistant wins a $10 Starbucks gift card, a copy of the book, and some To My Assistant post it notes.

Invitations (unbelievably misleading)

Once I was invited out to my boss’s summer home for the weekend. He made it clear that I should bring my boyfriend, my bathing suit and “get ready to relax”. Little did I know that what he really meant for me to do was run an elaborate stage show for his Yacht Club.  

So, instead of laying on a beautiful beach all weekend, I was rehearsing and coordinating all of the technical aspects of a musical theater review while my boss competed in a tennis tournament. That’s right, a tennis tournament. This show was a musical review, complete with backing tracks, lighting cues and tight video sequences. The person performing was a part-time pro, full-time diva. That mean that he expected a level of perfection that only comes with rehearsing a show for six weeks. The lighting and sound equipment was all at least 25 years old and I had to recruit my already annoyed boyfriend to run lights. After a long and painful rehearsal, I was ready to quit.

The evening of the show, my boss waltzed in to find me enjoying a beer on the porch (my first moment of actual relaxation) and immediately started dictating emails to me and asking me to “draft up a few contracts” and “get a hold of so and so at CAA” on a Saturday in July. At this point I feigned needing to get back to the theater and fled.

The show went off perfectly which meant he then walked around taking all the credit. He even paraded me around saying, “Who knew she could do that stuff?!” and telling everyone that he taught me everything I know. 

I proceeded to drink on his tab all night as a thank you.

(Oh and I’m still at that job. I just now know that an “invite to Fire Island” means “Get ready to work the weekend.”)

*******

Thanks to everyone who submitted stories! You’re all winners to me. 

Did you miss out on a chance to win a copy of the book? Well, you can always buy it here!

Did you miss out on a chance to submit a terrible boss story? The SUBMIT page is always open and always anonymous. 

And for the braver ones among you (or for the people who have already been promoted, you lucky dogs), tweet your terrible stories to me at @ToMyAssistant, and I’ll be more than happy to share your misery with the world. Or share them yourself via the Facebook page!

The second To My Assistant contest winner is…

This lucky/unlucky assistant wins a $10 Starbucks gift card, a copy of the book, and some To My Assistant post it notes.

Planning Parties (the worst kind)

So a couple years ago I was a receptionist/assistant/jack-of-all-trades at this post production house that will remain nameless. Wonderful people, very exclusive and clique-y, where most of the workers stayed out of guilt then love. After several months my boss pulls me into his office - which either means I’m gonna get yelled at or a raise. I’m hoping for the latter. Unfortunately for me, (fortunately for you), it was neither. He told me that his close friend was getting married and he had offered to throw him a bachelor party… which translates into he wanted ME to plan his friend’s bachelor party. I tried to politely say I didn’t have time, but he just demanded that, “Well HE didn’t have the time and it needed to be done. And it needed to be the best bachelor party ever… for under a couple grand.” 

Being a go-getter I dove right in. Researched restaurants that would host parties, catering places and the likes. I gave him one list after another and each one was… too expensive, too much of a dive, or too small. Eventually he decided we should host it at our office (keeping it classy) and just cater it. And by cater it he means that I would decorate, pick up the food, keep drinks refilled, etc. It’s already starting to look bad for me. Next he wanted a party bus - gotta chauffeur his men around in style. Thankfully, this was the easiest to find. And lastly, to round out the perfect night, he wanted strippers! Clean ones of course. Have to admit, it was not my best moment sitting in the front lobby of our office, calling stripper companies, getting pricing and finding out what exactly is included in the “hourlong with perks” package. Once I found one that seemed “clean,” I reported back. Tangent - the owner of the company and his wife work in the same building. So once I presented these potential “entertainers” he called her in and all three of us sat at his desk, scrolling through the ladies, choosing which ones were the best - Angel, Crystal, Barbie, Ivy, Sunny, etc. All the while his wife commenting, “Well you need a redhead, maybe an Asian, definitely a blonde…” To call it uncomfortable would be an understatement. Finally we settled on three girls. I called, exchanged info, and the ball was rolling.

The plan was for the guys to show up to the office for dinner and hop on the party bus afterwards. Meanwhile, I would meet the strippers at another location (god forbid they know where my boss works), and wait with them ‘til the rowdy men arrived. Everything went smoothly through dinner. One of the highlights was the men finding out that I was actually a woman (I have a name that could belong to a man or a woman, and I was CCed on every raunchy email exchange between these hormone-ridden men). Fast forward to when I’m waiting for the strippers. I called the girls an hour beforehand and they were getting ready and had decided to carpool. Cute, right? Wrong. The meeting time comes and passes. 15 minutes late. 30 minutes late. I try all their cells but none answer. Finally, I call their “office” and am transferred to the manager (pimp) who is between shows himself. He informs me that the girls got in a fight and weren’t coming any longer. WTF?? He said he’d call me back after his show and refund me my money. I immediately called my boss and relayed this info — thankfully he was so drunk at this point (good thinking on my part to pre-stock the party bus) — that he took the news pretty well, saying, “Strippers will be strippers.” And off they drove to the strip club to enjoy their female flesh.

After thanking my friend for letting me use her house as the “designated stripper spot”, I walked back to my car to find I locked my keys inside. Two hours and $120 later, I was finally headed home. The next day I brought in the ticket and showed my boss and instead of offering to pay for it he wrinkled his nose and said, “That sucks.” And that was the end of that.

*******

Did you miss out on a chance to win a copy of the book? Well, you can always buy it here!

Did you miss out on a chance to submit a terrible boss story? The SUBMIT page is always open and always anonymous. 

And for the braver ones among you (or for the people who have already been promoted, you lucky dogs), tweet your terrible stories to me at @ToMyAssistant, and I’ll be more than happy to share your misery with the world. Or share them yourself via the Facebook page!

The first of the winning horrible boss stories is….

It was hard to select only three winners from your wonderful/completely horrible stories, but for your enjoyment, here’s the first of three! The second and third will come tomorrow and Friday, in no particular order.

This lucky/unlucky assistant wins a $10 Starbucks gift card, a copy of the book, and some To My Assistant post it notes.

And now for the story I like to call…

Molehills (making mountains out of them and then forgetting about them)

It took me a while to pick out a story, I couldn’t decide between the time I had to somehow find my boss backstage passes to a Justin Bieber concert for his two-year-old child or the time I had to book my boss five plane tickets because he couldn’t decide which flight he would want to take. Anyways, I decided to go with this story….

It was 9am on a Saturday and I was feeling especially good, mainly because my boss was on a business trip and I was expecting a peaceful, quiet day off.  My phone rang as I was about to eat my cereal, it was my boss (of course!) he was calling me from his hotel asking me if I could call his hotel and ask them to send a maid up to his room to clean up a spill. I proceeded to ask him for his room number so I could be extra prepared for when I called the hotel. He told me, “I don’t know my room number, just call!”

Without hesitation I got on Google and called the hotel. The receptionist answered and I explained to her my boss was staying at their hotel and he needs a maid to come up to the room, the receptionist then asked me for the room number, I then stated that I do not know the room number and I explained the situation a little, hoping for some sympathy or understanding from her. The receptionist then explained “for security purposes we cannot just send someone up to your boss’s room, he must call us from his phone.”

I begged her and explained to her there is no way I am going to tell my boss he needs to call, I asked her to please call his room. I could tell at this point the receptionist started to think I was possibly trying to prank someone, she sounded like she did not believe me and then hung up. 10 minutes have passed since my boss called me and I knew I only have a couple more minutes before he called me again (probably yelling).

I called the hotel back, of course the same receptionist answered. I had to pretend to cry and beg her, explaining I could lose my job. Finally she said, “Ok ma’am, I will go ahead and send up a maid.” PHEW! Thank gosh right?

I was so happy! I called my boss to let him know a maid was on the way. He answers, “Yes??” I say “The maid is on his/her way up to your room to clean up your spill,” and he says “What spill?? Please make sure they do not send a maid up here, I’m trying to sleep!”

*******

Did you miss out on a chance to win a copy of the book? Well, you can always buy it here!

Did you miss out on a chance to submit a terrible boss story? The SUBMIT page is always open and always anonymous. 

And for the braver ones among you (or for the people who have already been promoted, you lucky dogs), tweet your terrible stories to me at @ToMyAssistant, and I’ll be more than happy to share your misery with the world. Or share them yourself via the Facebook page!

To My Assistant contest winners coming this week!

Well, the verdict is in, and we all have terrible jobs. But some of you have suffered more than others - I’ll announce the three winners (anonymously of course) on the site starting tomorrow, in no particular order. They’ll each get a $10 Starbucks gift card, a copy of the book, and some To My Assistant post it notes.

Did you miss out on a chance to win a copy of the book? Well, you can always buy it here!

Did you miss out on a chance to submit a terrible boss story? The SUBMIT page is always open and always anonymous. 

And for the braver ones among you (or for the people who have already been promoted, you lucky dogs), tweet your terrible stories to me at @ToMyAssistant, and I’ll be more than happy to share your misery with the world. Or share them via the Facebook page! Or via passenger pigeon or telegram. Whatever works for you.

The Assistant Bill of Rights

Happy Friday everyone! While dreaming of an ideal world in which to be an assistant, I drew up a Bill of Rights for us all. Here’s a preview, and a link to download a pdf, which you can print out on legal sized paper (finally a use for that stuff!) and hang in your cubicle. If you want to.

Download the full version here!

Today’s the last day to enter our TMA Contest!

Can’t choose from the overwhelming amount of horror stories you’ve experienced over the years? Here’s a likely topic of boss-related angst: food. Have you experienced a food-related incident—or disaster—at the hands of your boss? As assistants, we’ve seen it all: from excessive half-caf, one-pump sugar-free vanilla latte runs to last minute catering fiascos to driving across town in rush hour traffic for your boss’s favorite sushi roll. Share your favorite food-related assistant story to win a $10 Starbucks card (details below).

 
image

To enter: Submit your worst assistant story to tomyassistant@randomhouse.com todayWe’ll pick the three most egregious stories to post anonymously on tomyassistant.com. The three lucky winners will receive a To My Assistant Prize Package, including:

  • $10 Starbucks card—forget coffee for the boss. This one’s on us and for you.
  • A copy of my new book, To My Assistant
  • Your very own set of neon green post-its with “inspirational” quotes to get you through those late nights when your boss just won’t let you leave.