It was just another average R.W. kinda morning. Similar, I’m sure, to most of your mornings. While I was getting myself ready for work, I was multi-tasking other activities. Folded a load of laundry, did some dishes. Gave the dog his medicine, left a note for my son. Took care of a few emails, paid a bill online. Jotted down a couple reminders on post-it notes. Tidied up the living room and cleared off the kitchen table. Got on the phone to try to follow up on a doctor’s appointment for my handicapped brother. Along about the time I was giving the dog his good-bye treat, holding the door open with my foot while balancing my work bag and purse over my shoulder, one hand holding the phone to my ear listening to the Doctor’s Office scheduler describe how they didn’t have updated contact information and needed to reschedule his appointment while I was bending over to pick up the small bag of trash I had dropped and needed to deposit in the can at the bottom of the driveway (in the rain) – it hit me. “Damn. I could really use an Assistant.”
Those of us who are in our mid-life years, and have spent much of our working lives in office environments, likely at some point early on held the position of secretary or assistant. Even just 25 – 30 years ago, those were common roles held by women in male-dominated settings. We did things like filing, note-taking, transcribing, typing (yes, on typewriters), spent lots of time on the phone, set meetings, rescheduled meetings, did deliveries, made coffee, and felt fabulously futuristic and efficient when we used fax machines. Thankfully, times have changed. Technology has made many of those duties quicker, easier, and automated. Women moved into leadership roles. And men learned how to do some things for themselves. Now “support” positions are far beyond what they used to be – now they are more about office management, project and event coordination, bookkeeping and more – and held by both men and women. The “assistant” of the old days is no longer needed.
Except now perhaps, in our personal lives. As we cram more and more into our daily lives, and spend more energy and time at work, it is the “stuff” in our personal lives that gets more difficult to accomplish on our own. Celebrities figured this out a long time ago, and the role of Celebrity Personal Assistant came to be. They “have people” to do any variety of tasks like walk their dog, do their dry cleaning, do the grocery shopping, make their meals, do their gift shopping, and manage mail, phone calls, and even their social media accounts. All so the celebrity can focus on being fabulous and wealthy.
Well what about us average, regular, hard working Real Women? Wouldn’t it be a slice of heaven to have someone there to take care of those same things for us? I wouldn’t ask them to really do a lot. It would be a part-time gig. Like I’d still do most of my own cooking and walking my dog. But how amazing would it be to have someone do my grocery shopping? To take care of the phone calls I just can’t get to, like rescheduling with the doctor, calling about insurance payments, and making a hair cut appointment. Heck, to even open the door for me so I can get all my stuff into the car without tripping or dropping something. To run to the post office when I’m out of stamps, or to get to the bank with a deposit before my checks bounce – or oooh, I know, go put gas in my car when it runs low! (Seriously, I’m currently on E.)
Who is there for us so we can focus on being fabulous and less stressed?
The problem, of course, is finding anyone who would WANT to be a Personal Assistant unless you are famous, talented, and beautiful. Oh, and wealthy. Because no one is going to do it for free. And, in reality, wouldn’t we be subject to some sort of ridicule in the eyes of our fellow R.W.’s? Can you imagine telling friends and co-workers that you have a Personal Assistant? The natural responses would be something like “What’s wrong with you, can’t you do it all yourself like everyone else does? Who died and made YOU Queen? When did you get too good to do menial chores?” Ah, yes, there is a stigma and a bit of martyrdom we each carry with us as we try to manage it ALL.
So unless I suddenly turn into Meryl Streep or Lady Gaga, I guess I’m on my own with finding the time and energy to take care of my own sh-t. Or keep trying to train my son and my dog to carry some of the weight. Not likely, as my son would rather have a real job that pays, and my dog… well, his desire is there. He’s just not good with the phone.