Thursday, January 13, 2011


Nothing excites me more than when I meet a FABULOUS candidate...and I did today. Actually, I had met her a few years ago and she's even better now. She was energetic, put together and has a solid background. Her resume is an easy sell and I know she's even better in person. It's amazing that after 10 years and more than 10,000+ candidates, I still get excited when I meet someone phenomenal. We had a conversation about working for someone difficult, which she does and LOVES (yes, some are great AND crazy) and she told me about how she performs "verbal judo" when her boss is brow beating one of her co-workers. I compare it to Keanu Reeves in "Speed" when he slid under the bus to diffuse the bomb. Regardless of what her boss is yelling about, she walks up to her and says, "I'm sorry you feel that way..." and basically all her boss hears is, "Sorry, wha, wha, wha..." and is on to the next. She just needs to believe she's right and the whole reason she started screaming in the first place becomes unimportant.

I always ask candidates if they would be willing to work for someone difficult, as many of my clients are going to make you earn your money in more ways then one. So when a candidate asks me to define "difficult", I know they've been through a box of tissues (or 100). If you need a definition, you probably haven't worked for someone who is. But for those of you wondering what I'm talking about, herein lies the top 10 things my definition of "difficult" bosses have asked/said/done to their assistants:

1. Peel gum off the bottom of their shoe
2. Ripped a multi-line phone out of the wall and threw it at them (and she wasn't working for Naomi Campbell)
3. "What do you have to smile're a stupid, %$#^*$* assistant!!!"
4. Made them follow them around the office while they dumped different employee's desks...for fun
5. Called them at 3am to book a massage in a half an Jamaica
6. Not allow the color red in the office and threaten to fire them if he sees it
7. Told them on a Friday night at 9pm that the office needed to be painted Black by Monday morning...and if you couldn't find an available painter, then do it yourself (I don't need to tell you who did it right?)
8. Asked why the elevator was taking too long and wanted an answer...from the building engineer
9. Asked them to find a direct flight to Oakland, CA on an airline that doesn't fly there. Then once they get there (through San Francisco of course), and proceed to the Oakland airport for their return trip, asked why there was no flight home
10. Had them run out in the middle of the night to get antibiotics to treat an STD before they had to go home to their spouse

The list goes on!!! My job has truly shown me the meaning of difficult. My favorite is when a candidate comes in and says, "Oh, I can work for difficult. My boss expects things the same day he asks for them." I'm thinking, "Honey, so does my four year old..."

So how does one sell difficult especially when the candidate is not like the wonderful one I saw today (and most aren't) and isn't a glutton for punishment? With a little something called COMBAT PAY. You see, as far as I'm concerned there are three types of assistants:

#1. The one looking for growth. They are usually a year or two out of school and looking to get their foot in the door but don't want to be an assistant forever

#2. The one looking for quality of life. Money is not as important as working 9-5

#3. The money motivated one. They don't care WHAT you ask/do/want, or how many hours they have to work to achieve it (which usually means 24/7) they'll do it, as long as you pay them as much money as possible. In other words...COMBAT PAY!

It's one of my FAVORITE terms in the business. Combat pay is what these crazy executives/celebrities/socialites pay to get what's behind door #3 (see above). And you have to sign a confidentiality agreement so you can't tell anyone what they did (or you did) to earn that money. Now don't get me far as I know, there's nothing illegal or sexual being done to earn that money, but after that, all's fair. Just last month, I placed someone as an executive personal assistant at a salary of $180,000...PLUS BONUS!!! That's right...$180,000 to be an ASSISTANT!!!! But trust me...she's earning EVERY penny!

So this post is dedicated to my favorite candidate of the she made me smile, completely understands what I do, what she needs to do and has the confidence and background to accomplish it!

Good night and happy job hunting,
The Job Yenta

1 comment:

  1. Does having to bring your boss's urine to the Dr's office qualify as "difficult" or just gross?