Jessie Pearson, EA at Workspace Group
We are delighted to be joined by Jessie Pearson, PA, to CFO and Director of Strategy & Corporate Development at Workspace Group. A London-based real estate business. We talked across a broad range of subjects in this discussion, including Jessie’s start as a receptionist and how that helped her in her Assistant career; we spoke of her need to take short-term contracts while dealing with very personal challenges at home and how that shaped her outlook on life and her career. And we talked about how she structures her day and the value she has brought to acquisition projects in her organisation.
Nicky Christmas 00:00
Do you want to know what it takes to work as a high performing executive assistant? You'll find out when you listen to the EAA campus podcast. Join me Nicky Christmas, the founder of practically perfect PA, and the EAA campus for a weekly interview with successful assistants, who all have first hand experience and lessons to share on what it takes to excel in the role of tune in, get inspired and learn how to create an assistant career where you are valued, motivated and ready to face every challenge head on whether you are an assistant just starting in your career, or prepared to move to the next level. Building a successful assistant career just got a little easier with the EA campus podcast. Welcome to Episode Nine of the EA campus podcast we are delighted to be joined by Jesse Pearson, PA to the CFO, and Director of Strategy and corporate development at workspace group, a London based real estate business. We talked across a broad range of subjects in this discussion, including Jessie start as a receptionist, and how that helped her in her assistant career. We talked about her need to take short term contracts while dealing with very personal challenges at home, and how that shaped her outlook on life and her career. And we talked about how she structures her day, and the value that she has brought to various projects across her organisation. I really enjoyed this one. And I hope that you do too. Hi, Jesse, thanks so much for joining us today.
No, thank you for having me. It's a pleasure.
Nicky Christmas 01:36
We've got a lot to get through. Because I think from everything that I've seen about you and read about your career, there's a lot going on. So why don't we start with you just telling us a little bit about your career to date.
No, I can't disagree at all. It's been a roller coaster, it's been a good one. So I actually started off on reception desk, it was my first receptionist role, everyone's got a starting point. And that's kind of where I learned most of the fundamentals with difficult people, different characters, different customer service, everything like that. So that's kind of what really started my career. I then took a role as a receptionist and a recruitment as a permanent employee. And then from there, which was an experience, definitely, it was a good time. And it was my first role in the city actually the from there, I then took contract roles. And the reason I've got so much going on is because actually my sister and my dad were going through cancer treatment that went on for like five, six years or something like that, I can't quite remember that five, six years. And so I took on contract roles. But the silver lining of that was that I gained so much exposure to different businesses, corporate firms, loads of knowledge on different cultures and things like that. So that is why I took on contract roles. So from the recruitment firm, as a receptionist, I went to MMG investment, Prudential Smith, and Williamson, those are the financial services firms. I was a conference management, system receptionist, corporate receptionist, and I did that for the entire time that they were going through their treatment. It's not until about 2018, that I was able to take a permanent role. No sorry, 2019. And I was actually given an opportunity by a recruiter that was actually helping me find work at the time because I was finally ready to take permanent work. And I have to say, I've got so much gratitude and appreciation for the recruiters that I met because I know that they don't always have a great name, but they were actually the most helpful people. And they got me all of my roles. And I'm still in touch with some of them today. And as soon as sounds like it's actually Yeah, so I actually got a real team assistant role in the recruitment firm. And they were the first people to give me a chance because obviously, I was classic, JUMPY candidate kind of thing. And I laugh about it now. But I mean, everyone has their reasons. So I got it completely understand. And then from there, it's actually very redundant as well, a lot of people, the business went from a medium sized firm to a small one, I think they've announced back now but a lot of us were made redundant and I was happy enough, take the redundancy and think, Okay, we'll just take this on the chin and kind of find a new opportunity. And during lockdown, I actually found this role. They found me I was interviewing for about three different roles. And this one in particular just really didn't my fancy the kind of company it was where it was going. The I started out as the PA to the CCO director of asset management and people and culture. And then I've been internally promoted to the CFO pay to the CFO and director strategy and corporate development.
Nicky Christmas 04:15
It's really thing how somebody CV doesn't reflect what's going on in their lives. Just from what you said there, you're probably going to be going into a series of interviews where you're having to explain why you've been taking short term roles. But obviously, there's such a huge thing going on in your life, completely separate to your career. So I think for anybody out there who, for whatever reasons, that is having to take short term positions to help them with anything that's going on in their personal lives. It goes to show that you can have those conversations and most people, once you explain the situation are really understanding as to why that is the case, which seems to be what's happened with you. Yeah,
I mean, it's so true, and it wasn't always the case. Unfortunately, you do meet people that don't quite understand, but it's not a fault of them. You can't argue with that. So some standard on did come across a lot of challenges. But those people that did give me the chance and understood, I wasn't always honest about it that I was obviously it's a difficult situation that I was going through at the time. And I wasn't honest about I just said, Oh, it's just my circumstances, and they never quite understood. So I didn't do myself any favours in that sense. But it was I really wanted to say that on here, because I just think that there's a lot of people that go through things like that, not particularly in that scenario, but so many things. I think that as long as you're transparent, and you're honest, you'll find the right opportunities, and they'll find you. So I think it's definitely great because I know that a lot of people are afraid to do that, and kind of maybe tell a few kind of white lies in their CV. And sometimes it goes the opposite way, having that kind of exposure to the recruitment industry as well, not as a recruiter. But as a team system. I've always stressed that. And it actually helps a lot of people in a small way. So yeah, I think that's what I've taken from it. And we're able to teach others as well. So that's why I'm so grateful for it. Yeah, definitely.
Nicky Christmas 05:53
And it was amazing that you were just able to work and focus in in those short term contracts anyway, with what was going on. How are your family now?
Not to put a damper on everything. But my dad passed away in 2017. My sister is absolutely fine. Yeah, it's just it was a strange one, actually. Yeah, really strange. But we're fine. Now it happens. It's unfortunately, quite a common thing to happen to him for now. It's just kind of Yeah, it's crazy. But going through things like this, it always teaches you so much anyway, so you've got absolutely things, unfortunately.
Nicky Christmas 06:22
Yeah. And of course, there's so much grief from COVID. And so many people passing away, there'll be a lot of people who are listening to this, who were in similar circumstances, and as you said, is, is doing what you can get through to be able to once you can move past it. And in terms of the career, then you'll find those opportunities as and when you need to thank you for sharing that. I think absolutely, you're right, you'll be helping so many people by being transparent and honest, with everything that you go through. So thank you for that. Let's move on to the role that you're in at the moment. Because from having spoken to you over the last few weeks, it seems like you are incredibly busy. So why don't you let us know, first of all, let us know what workspace group does, and then how you fit into the organisation.
Sure, so workspace is a commercial property firm that so we're essentially a landlord, we rent our office space or units in quite kind of character buildings, a lot of them are listed or have a real great history to it. But so we rent our office space to kind of SMEs, small businesses, and a lot of our tenants tend to be kind of more creative brands at the moment. So that's what we do. A lot of our buildings are within communities, we really try to build communities around that. So we also rent space to like cafes, and little things like that can really kind of draw people into areas that maybe wouldn't be classed as working environments. So it's things like college, and overall, for example, where our head offices, it's just so profound. For that reason, it kind of really does a lot for the communities, because I do as a CFO, and the Director of Strategy and corporate development. So this role was actually quite new. I started it about eight months ago or so I think I got off track, it's probably a bit longer than that. So I support obviously, with the financial year reporting four year results, which we've literally just done yesterday. So. And I also support the Director of Strategy and corporate development with obviously just the general whitehawk things as well, but also acquisition projects, industry projects. And as I also support investor relations is what I support with its senior stakeholders, senior stakeholders, brokers, investors, things like that. And I also deal with roadshows, which we're also currently doing at the moment. So the CEO and CFO currently on that now. So yeah, no day is ever the same. I couldn't tell you an average day, to be honest, but it keeps it really interesting. It's really a challenge. And I learned so much on this role. So that's pretty much what I do.
Nicky Christmas 08:33
Yeah. Yeah, I used to work for a CFO as well. So I understand its whole how this whole thing is very different to working for other C suite executives, as you're so involved in every aspect of the business when you work for the CFO, and I completely understand what it's like to have just gone through finalising the reins on writing or writing up all of the reports. And I mean, oh, my goodness, I can only imagine that busy in the last few weeks.
Yeah, no, that's why am I looking at tired I am very tired. But it's a great, it's really great getting to the end of it and thinking finally breathe it seeing the results, seeing the turnarounds the reactions from people in the feedback. And it's just that sense of accomplishment, isn't it? Then it goes straight into half year, doesn't it? So it's kind of like enjoy the summer and then off we go again. Yeah.
Nicky Christmas 09:18
I want to dig more into the role because as I said, I know it's a busy one. And it's a really into an industry that you're in at the moment, particularly coming out of the pandemic, when there's been such a shift in in people working in offices and things like that. For now, that must be such an interesting time to be working in real estate and particularly in offices, but we'll come back to that. So why don't we have a look at what your day is like in general and just starting with what your morning looks like how you get yourself into work and
what happens when you wake up? Sure. So I always start with coffee 100% A bit of an addict I have to say always iced coffee even in the winter. So yeah, start with that and then I literally just get ready to work. I tend to clear emails on the commute, just so when I get to the office, it's just clear ready for me to get started. But uh, yeah, my mornings tend to be Yep, coffee, clearing emails and then trying to take a walk through the park as park on the way to work. So trying to get some sort of daylight and fresh air in before the day. And then it's literally just cracking on with the to do list really I use Trello, or the online platform for everything that I do, because I lose bits of paper all the time. And there's just pretty much inside there really? Yeah, often enough. I have a meeting with my execs every Monday morning as well. Even if it's just 15 minutes, how should we can been anything's go through any action points. Normally, there's always something that's come from that. And that's my morning. Really? Yeah, that's the only thing that I would say is the same in my role. Yeah,
Nicky Christmas 10:38
you work in London. Do you live in London as well? No, I
live in I live between the Croydon and Bromley borough. So it's quite a straightforward journey. Yeah. And then I know,
Nicky Christmas 10:47
this is a really difficult question. For assistants and every podcast I said, I know it's tough. But if you could give us an overview of what an average day looks like, because I know No day is the same but an average day, what does that look like for you? Average day. So
I would say a lot of the time it's, I know, it's probably a standard for a lot of assistants. But juggling the diaries is always one, especially when, for me, particularly in particular, a lot of things come in overnight, where obviously the Director of Strategy is dealing with fixers, some of them are in America, some of them are just very busy people. So it's always a dire management first, getting that in line as best I can chasing loose ends with projects, there's always something going on whether it's big or small, internal or external. For example, acquisition, we literally just made one there not too long ago, it can go from one extreme to the other, really. So at the moment, the average day is a little bit more quiet. But typically, it would be chasing loose ends and projects, making sure that genders and packs are ready for any committee meetings that we have assisting the PA to the company secretary and the CEO with things like us, we have to work really well as a team of three, because it kind of covers a lot of areas that we work in. And also just studying a lot with a wider teams, because as you're supporting a CFO, you're also dealing with the rest of finance as well. So it's also making sure that they got what they need, does the CFO need anything from you really working as best you can, as part of the team, even though you're not a financial member of staff, it's just really helping them as well and really getting things in the diary deadlines met, we also use a system called diligence. So a lot of things get uploaded the system, which is can be quite time consuming, like anything, but it's just making sure that all the packs are ready. But it can also you know what, when you're doing all of that, suddenly something crops up and goes, Okay, I really need a meeting, this person just turns out that they need to discuss XYZ with an investor, right? You have to drop everything and start being reactive rather than proactive. So it can literally go from one end to the other. So that is an average day, I would have to say but like I say now, for example, I'm enjoying a little bit more downtime and being able to get through things like really random things like just expenses, for example, which I've neglected for so long, which I think the the the team that deal with that kind of cursing me, really, but I was just yeah, that's just to pick up
Nicky Christmas 12:57
on a couple of points there. What would you say is the fundamental aspects that you've brought to working when your company's going through an acquisition process? Is there anything that use the assistant did that help move that process along? I just know, there'll be a lot of assistance at some point, we'll have to deal with an acquisition. So really any advice for assistance that may be going to go through that process at some point,
I would say I have to say, I know probably in the grand scheme of things very little about position, as most of us in our roles probably would at the start when we're quite new to that. But I would say what I did that really helped was tracked everything but not that anybody else would look at it, I had a Trello board for the project, which was called a conflict of competence, your name, I created a folder within SharePoint that everyone could dump things into. And you can also share externally rather than sending things over because sometimes you send things in Outlook doesn't send it because it's such a big file, there's going to be a lot of legal documents that go back and forth when it comes to acquisition. So creating an external share on SharePoint, creating an external file that can be shared with people, for example, like the brokers or like financial advisors, things like that, even just about tax companies that really helped. And it also allowed everyone to work, live on documents and to view things live. That was one thing that I brought with me to really help streamline things as best we could. And sometimes people didn't use it. Sometimes it wasn't us every day. But when it came down to it, people knew exactly where things were. And that's been carried over with everything now, because I think SharePoint, for us, in particular at workspace is quite relatively new. So not a lot of people had used it or is that we took over from hadn't use it because behind in terms of the other places I'd worked, that's fine with us coming in knew exactly how to use that. And I would say making sure that your CC don't absolutely everything. Even if your executives and the externals don't know, don't think it's relevant for you to know that. There will always be a question that someone won't wait. Because obviously you're expected to know so much. It's always nice to just have that time to think Oh, actually, I saw something about x y Zed or this particular clause. Let me do a search and you've got it there. Even if you're a paper person, which we're trying to be sustainable, so everything's on SharePoint, even just having a paper file Roll with things because some of my executives do work on paper, just being able to whip that out as well. But I would say for me, mostly on the admin side, it was just a case of having everything tracked on SharePoint. There's still so much for me to learn a lot of the things went over my head that I wasn't able to help with, because I've not had that much experience. But I would say definitely using SharePoint in an external sharing, and just being seated into absolutely everything and just constant meetings with your executive go, Okay, what's going on now. And also attending meetings I attended, attended a lot of meetings about the acquisition that I didn't quite understand at the time, but it really helped. So I knew that when they were sending emails or meetings going, I thought, okay, I don't know what that is, I know that they were discussing something along that line. So I'm assuming that's what it is. And you can feel the gap to your kind of thing, because even though they know the project inside out at the time, they'll always be things that they miss if they've also got other things going on. So that's the one bit of advice I would say, especially for people just starting out and still got a lot to learn. So yeah, that's what I'd say. It's massive,
Nicky Christmas 15:52
keeping people organised and just get letting them know where the documentation for everything is hugely helpful, because they're often so busy managing the process, and dealing with the people who have been acquired and the stakeholders and everything they naturally been able to find documents easily is a huge help. And as you're going into the meetings and things next time, there might potentially be an acquisition, you'll already be prepared with so much information. So I would imagine the value that you added there was huge. And as I said, for the next time, you'll be called on on again to help. Yeah, exactly. Even if it feels like just a small effort on your part. Or even if you think oh, God, just kind of one tiny, tiny thing that you're doing, it helps immensely in the grand scheme of things. Definitely. For sure. So yeah, as you said, No day is the same. And it sounds like the role is busy. The other point I was going to pick up on there is the use of diligent that you have, which I know, so many assistants would love for their organisations to use technology to help with Board Papers and committee meetings and things like that. So again, just to briefly touch on that, but how have you found that helpful compared to maybe doing it all, printing all the papers and everything off?
It's been it comes with its challenges, like any system, it just keeps track of absolutely everything. Sometimes we still do use, we still do everything on SharePoint anyway, just as a backup. And sometimes we do print those off for executives that maybe don't have the access to diligent or etc. But it keeps track of everything. It does it all in kind of like a template format. So once you've got the base, the basic template ready, say for example, it's your first audit committee that you're putting on Dilijan. For example, after that, you can literally just copy the template everything's put in, you can name it. So if you ever have any doubts about oh, God, where did that paper go? What was that call or anything like that just general filing system outside of SharePoint, it helps so much. And also, it's really easy to share that with the non execs as well. So they will have access, all they need to do is sync things and it's straight on there. It's doesn't reach any kind of like security policies or anything like that. It's all just really safe. And also, the benefit is that once you've uploaded that, you can just, you can just download it as one big PDF, rather than having to kind of combine all of them as you would SharePoint. If there's seven different papers, which I found out the hard way, which I actually didn't know diligent did. It's not until my colleague said You do realise you can just download the PDF completely. And I noticed that there is definitely helpful in that sense. And it's just a good tool to use and to have knowledge of basically even if your company doesn't have it, you can just come in maybe we'll see it's at a cost. But yeah, I think it's great. Yeah, I
Nicky Christmas 18:23
agree. I remember back in the day, a long time ago having to spend hours pretty enough Board Papers. And then if they were changed reprinting, then everything it was environmentally it was all for put timestamp as well was crazy. I think I would have loved something like diligent. So yeah, I'm a big fan of that as well. If you can implement some technology and helping with committee and board papers and stuff, then yeah, it's well worth doing. So talking about your day. Talk to me about the breaks that you take if you take them if you have a lunch break, if that's something that you make a routine for, how do you go about just managing your productivity levels? So
this is an awkward question for me because I'm terrible. I really have to be told to take a break, which isn't good, I'm getting better but a lot of the time I do work through my lunch just because the minute you step away, and a lot of people would understand that you miss something or that if suddenly you're like, Where's Jesse have this really nice go in the diary and then I'm outside eating a sandwich somewhere, you've just got to juggle it correctly. So if it's a really busy day, I just tend to just stick at the desk and then I take a later lunch or three ish when I know things have died down because it tends to be especially in the in this company. It seems to be busy over lunch, I tend to take my breaks around three ish on the days where I think I really need it. It's been a it's been a long day and I haven't I've said at screen all morning, I will take even just 30 minutes Raleigh and break it up and just do that 15 minutes here, 15 minutes there, or even just like walk around to a colleague's desk and just have a quick catch up just to kind of get away from desk if I know that I can't actually take a break and then just go back to the desk and start again. It's not the healthiest way of doing things I have to say but being completely honest, that is kind of how I manage it. But at the moment now it's resulted in there on the road show. We are able to take a lunch break and we're actually going for like an iced team lunch, which we haven't been able to do in Cisco swings around the house, you got to take the good and bad, they do encourage a lunch break here. Don't get me wrong, but sometimes you just know that you're not doing yourself any favours by stepping away from the desk. You do have to kind of be mindful. I do. I do kind of burned myself out a little bit around this time of year. Yeah, yeah.
Nicky Christmas 20:16
Thank you for being honest. Because I think there's probably the majority of assistance, it's really hard to put those band like the boundaries in place, isn't it? And like you said, sometimes it's not beneficial to you, it's very makes your day more difficult, rather than, as you said, just having a quick sandwich at your desk. And I appreciate your honesty, because a lot of people were like, No, I always take regular breaks in unit.
I I'm quite transparent, to be fair, and I think my execs would agree that even they don't take contracts either. But you know, I'll always make sure that you want something to eat, you want an apple and they'll always say you want a cup of tea, it swings around. We know we should be taking a break, but I always make sure that one of them's got at least a bowl of salad or something like that, because they're a nightmare as well for only drinking coffee throughout the day. So
Nicky Christmas 20:58
yeah, better. So what would you say is the most challenging aspect of the role that you're in at the moment,
I would definitely say juggling priorities, because I do support to executives, as well as investor relations, there is a lot going on. And the expectations are extremely high to which they always offer assistance. So you have to know so much and be really flexible and adaptable. I would definitely say juggling the priorities here. I always manage the challenges with transparency, and just clear communication and setting boundaries and just kind of really letting them know that they've got conflicting priorities. Again, we work really closely as a team that pas and CEOs are always there to support as well as the company secretary PA. But I would definitely say yeah, really having to prioritise knowing that they both have a deadline or within the hour, how can I really make that work for the two of them? Is this something that I really have to do myself? Can I delegate is it gonna be worthwhile delegating, but even just just letting them know letting the CFO know that Paul has x y Zed going on? I know that you do, too. Which order does it really need to be in kind of thing, and then letting them know that others at that level are also extremely busy as well. And it just communication there as well. And I'd say that's how it's overcome. And a lot of the time it's met with understanding and respect, because they know that it's just so busy, and a lot of the time that they do have exposure to each other's projects as well. So I would say that it's definitely the most challenging, but you do as time goes on, you just get used to it. When you're first in the role. And it's new, you are quite afraid, because expectations and boundaries and sometimes saying that a lot of the time, it does kind of show how busy we all are. And it also encourages a lot more teamwork. So yeah, that's definitely the challenge that we see here.
Nicky Christmas 22:38
It comes with time, doesn't it? It's building that relationship with the two executives, and having the confidence to communicate what can and can't do, because at the end of the day, there's only one of you. So you really do have to start to communicate what not just what priorities are but actually also what yours are as well and where you can allocate your time. So I can imagine it's just come with a lot of time, a lot of patience and getting to know each other. Definitely, yeah, it's been a challenge at times, especially with so much going on with full year results coming from acquisitions and things like that. But yeah, it definitely is all a case of having those meetings in the morning, building those relationships. And just reminding everyone to have a bit of a laugh as well. But just inserting a bit of humour where you can and where's necessary, because we're all going through at the same time. But yes, just working together as a team with your executive, what's been the most enjoyable part of the role,
I would say definitely the exposure I've had. So when I came into it, I always wanted to support C suite level. And I was always I've always been ambitious. I always wanted exposure to acquisition strategy, but just kind of business models and things like that, which I've really got here. So I would say that's definitely the most enjoyable really being able to assist on projects where I can, really learning things as well and being thrown in the deep end, even though it's not always enjoyable being thrown in the deep end. But it's where I learned the most personally because I would definitely say the exposure I've had to different parts of external people as well definitely being feeling as I'm part of the bigger picture. And really being a valued member of the team on a project as well is definitely the role as an assistant. A lot of it is Henry Dyer, management, admin, paper management and managing committees and things like that, that you're involved in. And even though that's always an enjoyable part of the role, it's just a standard that we have to do, it's nice to have a break up in the role as well kind of really kind of insert yourself into different parts of business that you wouldn't have been able to prove it in previous roles. So that's definitely where I've enjoyed the role of the most. And if you found just by being exposed to more parts of the organisation that you actually better at doing all of the fundamental parts of the assistant job like diary management and prioritising and things like that. 100% Because if you don't have that exposure, you don't quite understand what goes into it and what they need. So they'll come out of the out of these meetings and you think, Oh, it's okay, but you know, they, they need these meetings, but then you can actually really prioritise for them in even more depth because you understand the meeting they've just come out of actually that's going to really need four hours of downtime. reviewing things and collaboration with teams and internally and externally. So really, do they need these meetings here? And can I put Can I push that back and you can really juggle it because you sat in all those meetings and you understand the projects more and what's expected, but it also helps you prioritise other things like do I really need to do my expenses here. And now, that can wait until every Friday, it really helps monitor your day and prioritise your day a lot better. And also kind of as an assistant, sometimes you do need to have that collaborative time with your existence with your exec as well. And sometimes you can reach up with those around that as well. Do I really need that catch up? Now? Can it wait? Can it does it have to be a meeting? Can it be an email, it just really helps in so many different ways?
Nicky Christmas 25:37
And what would you say as your career highlight, not just in this role that you're in in the moment, but over the course of your career?
I would say your career highlights apart from this role, see, which is a given because I've got the exposure that I've wanted for so long, I would say career highlight for me, because my career is so different from others, I feel like it's the answer will be different. So I would say the exposure that I've had, even though some would think oh my goodness, that's quite a lot of roles in a short amount of time. But I always I was always on six month contracts. I would say for me, the highlight would be just the exposure that I've got. And when I was a corporate receptionist at MLG, all the really senior EAS I was terrified of them, actually. But they were great. They knew so much. And they were almost like a senior member themselves. But just getting that exposure. And I remember how they worked and how they dealt with things. And sometimes that does come flooding back in difficult situations, I think oh, no, I remember. So and so from this time, it just brings you back, which gives you a few tips and hints on how to deal with things. So I would definitely say the exposure I've had 100% and the people I've met along the way, especially in financial services, I feel like the financial services and exposure that I've had has really benefited me here. Strangely, because it is a property firm. But with the people that we deal with and the people that I support, we've actually got quite a lot of involvement with financial services firms. So it's come in handy. I would say it's definitely a highlight. Yeah, it's
Nicky Christmas 26:52
a different path, isn't it? It's an it's led you to such a great role now. So yeah, I can imagine that it's absolutely a career highlight. Because as you said, a lot of people just go into per job, they're there for a few years, then they may think about moving on. Because you've had to adapt to so many different people. And then so many skills over a short period of time when you're in those shorter term contracts. And you have to adjust to the different personalities and things like that. So it will absolutely made you a better PM. Yeah, I
hope so yes, this is definitely been a whirlwind. But I wouldn't change it for the world. Really, I wouldn't talk now.
Nicky Christmas 27:24
So going back to life outside of work when you finish. But first of all, let me know what time you tend to finish. And then what do you do in your evenings in your spare time,
the end of my day can differ. So for example, the day before results, we didn't leave until about 10 o'clock. So it can really differ. So busy periods, it can be anywhere between 630 up to nine. But typically, on a general day when I know that things can be left until the next day, we're not you know, you have to really train yourself to do that sometimes five, day six. And when I get home, I really enjoyed either meditation or yoga. I tried to go to the gym as much as I can. Although I've been a bit lazy recently, I can't really I should go to the gym more. And then it's just kind of taking the dogs for a walk. Things like that. Just really simple things really just scrape up the evening and just sit in front of the TV watching Netflix. That's what I do in the evening really to decompress, to be honest,
Nicky Christmas 28:17
fair assistance that just coming into the role and just starting Is there any advice that you could give to our new cohort of assistants that are just starting, don't be
afraid to say no and push back hard to do because you think oh, they're gonna think I'm being difficult, but sometimes it's just letting them know I can't do that right now. Or I'm not going to do that. And I'm gonna delegate that and here's why always give a bit of contact I think really helps. Another bit of advice I would say is definitely set boundaries early on, it can be really, really hard. Being new in a in a support role, aapa, general assistant, anything like that, but really setting boundaries early on and being diplomatic about it is really beneficial early on, because if you don't, you then have to set them later on down the line it can be quite difficult to do always have your catch up with your execs even if you miss it. Sometimes you do have to miss one during busy periods. And you have to kind of really prioritise whether it's necessary or needed because sometimes the action points can stay the same for some weeks leading up to things like results but really having those catch UPS one to develop the relationship and to really get to know each other to to discuss anything that any kind of action points that need to be had even just keeping them on track of where you are on things. It's not always about what they're up to. It's about what you're up to, to just so they can understand. Okay, why hasn't this person done that yet? Oh, it's because they're doing this for another year, especially if you support more than one like myself and just having just always having a bit of humour, I think really helps. Especially in sometimes difficult situations, just being able to keep a light hearted tone to things in certain humour where you can and when necessary and being able to laugh throughout the day I think really helps because sometimes you get so caught up in things it can become such a challenging day when you've got so much going on with everybody but being able to stop and have a quick chat bit of laugh, have a cup of tea it just really helps just stepping away and just coming back with a fresh cup. perspective on things, especially when you've got so much going on.
Nicky Christmas 30:03
No, it's absolutely true. You've got to be able to laugh. System roll, because so much pressure and there's so much going on that just to have a light touch someone's finds makes all the difference, because there's not many people that can do that with the executives over the people coming to see them and they're serious and the senior executive and things like that. So if you're able to provide a little bit of a light touch and a bit of a break from the pressure of it all, then that's a real bonus. It's a real value add. So is there anything that the assistant role has brought you in your life that you're grateful for
being able to really pick and choose your battles? I think because even though yes, it is a job, you really can take things away with you outside of work. So being able to deal with difficult people outside of work, being able to communicate in a certain style, even just prioritising certain things. Sometimes I get carried away with myself in my password, I think Hold on, wait a second, let's just take a step back does this needs to be done, but it doesn't, so you can park it? So I really have with me, especially if you're like me, where everything's just full steam head 100 miles per hour, everything needs to be done then and they're definitely helped. Yeah, I would say definitely being able to have those difficult conversations, prioritise. Dealing with various characters, it really does benefit you. It's definitely a skill that carries with you throughout your entire life, I think and it's one that I think we all have to learn when we're in a support role. And it can be hard, it definitely is something that if you are just starting out, it really is rewarding.
Nicky Christmas 31:27
Yeah, those organisational skills definitely bleed into your personal life. Before you know it your task listing everybody, what do you think you would do if you weren't an assistant,
I know exactly what I do. And it's something I would like to do outside of work as well, in my spare time a holistic therapy, counselling and having my own online platform for motivational speaking. Which would be the end goal after I've achieved all the rest of it. I think it's always appealed to me, I think there is so much benefit in helping others and so much satisfaction. So I definitely do something like that. And it's why I'm in a support role as well. It kind of ties in with helping others a lot of the time, you're always doing things for other people. And it's so rewarding. And I think I'd like to make a career out of that no matter what I do is worth helping others. Yeah. Yeah, it's
Nicky Christmas 32:09
a really nice fit, isn't it? It's both lends to each other quite well, as you say exactly. That's in a support role. Just having an understanding, particularly with your executive of where their minds at and how you can support them that way I think is again, it's really adding value. We're kind of coming to the end of the interview. But I'd wondered if there's quick tips and tricks that you can give to our listeners, starting with some technology that you use in your role that you find very helpful, technology wise,
I think Calendly I can ever say it Calendly Calendly. Yeah, that's it, I think that really helps really, really helps and Trello I use Trello for everything like an online to do list. I use it for goal setting process mapping, which is a projects I'm working on at the moment, which I've decided to just kind of do myself, and it really helps us kind of track things. So when you meet challenges, you can document them and really a process map out of it.
Nicky Christmas 32:59
I think it just yeah, I'd highly recommend those as well. Absolutely, they particularly Calendly it saves you a tonne of time really does that back and forth. It just it stops that completely, which is fantastic. And then any books or publications or websites or anything like that you've used to help develop your career.
So actually, it's gonna sound so cheesy, but I swear, on my life, it's true. I studied your website and tips for interviewing, like so much. And it's all that helped me get to this role really, because coming out of lockdown, I was so nervous I was just I've got I think I've lost all my kind of like, interviewing skills and things like that, because it we were just stuck at home a lot of the time working from home, but I your website really helped me I have to say and all the interview tips and things I would say in terms of books. The Power of Now I'm quite spiritual person. But the power of now was is a brilliant book. And it's something that you can go back to all the time. And it's not just a spiritual book. It's just it's something that you take with you all the time. It's a reminder, to always just live in the moment and really take stock of what's going on. Do you really need to think about that right now. And even not becoming an emotion just observing it from afar? Because we can get caught up in things, especially at the office, just really taking a step back and going okay, is it really going to matter in an hour? Do I really need to get this upset about something cool or uptight or stressed or irritated and just really taken a step back, it benefits you in your personal life, professional life, everything and you can read it over and over again. There's always going to be something that you take from it. That's my kind of advice and my kind of books that I go to you and definitely your website. I know it sounds so cliche.
Nicky Christmas 34:33
No, I so appreciate that. Thank you. It's always such a joy, particularly with the interview tips because they were all based on the interview processes that I had and the answers that I gave. So I always it's always lovely when I hear somebody say Oh, I got the job because I followed the tip. So it really makes my heart sing. So that's wonderful. And this book is brilliant. I love that book. So So my last question is, is there anything that surprised you about the st stint role that maybe you wouldn't have known before you started working as a personal assistant,
what does surprise it continues to surprise me, but it's not a bad thing is just how much that you're expected to know. And automatically understand, because people trust you so much and lean on assistant so much. And we do so much. People forget that we're also learning as well. And I think it's flattering when they think, Oh, I just thought you would have known that. And I think no, there's just, there's just so much to it. And I think that is one thing that always surprised me. It's just that I've got I didn't think I should know that or should I have known that? So that is one thing I would say I think the rest is a given being organised and being adaptable and having to deal with difficult situations, things, projects, deadlines, anything like that. I'd say it's always just the sheer amount of things that were expected to no surprises me, but in not in a negative way, in a positive way. Because it just means that okay, well, they think I should know that. That means they're going to teach me or give me some sort of training or something. And that's where I learned so much. Sometimes my ex expect me to know something or actually don't know that and they go, Okay, let's get you trained up on that. And then that's how I tend to just learn things, you definitely never being afraid to feel like you don't know something. Yeah, that's
Nicky Christmas 36:08
so true, isn't it? And it's exactly what you said, it's people trust you instantly you walk into the role. And you've just given this level of trust that so many other people in the organisation aren't given. It's almost you start here at the top, everyone's just expecting you to do everything. And you're having to maintain that level. Yeah, it's a really interesting point you've made there. But yeah, so very true. And it's amazing how many assistants once they know something, they retain that knowledge, you do become a bit of a walking encyclopaedia in your organisation. Jesse, that's everything that I've got to ask you. Thank you so much for your time today. It was a really interesting conversation. And there's so many so much food for thought there and so many wonderful pieces of advice that you've given to our listeners today. So thank you so much for your time.
You're welcome. Thank you. I've really enjoyed it, actually. Yeah, it's been great. Thank you.
Nicky Christmas 36:55
Thank you so much for listening to the EA campus podcast. I'd absolutely love for you to take a minute to subscribe to the EA campus podcast on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you find your podcasts. If you could give us a review, I would really appreciate that as well. If you want to check out the show notes, you can do that by going over to the AI campus.com forward slash podcast forward slash episode nine Jesse Pearson and take a look at everything that we discussed. You can also find all of the links to the resources articles and texts that we mentioned during the show. If you want to join the conversation inside the EA campus community, you will also find all of the information on the EAA Campus website. The community continues to grow and we have a an amazing group of assistants sharing their careers inside our community. We have ongoing events and training for our members and we'd love to see more of you inside the EA campus. Thanks so much for your time and I hope you tune in again to the next episode of the EA campus podcast.