This is somewhat a very awkward thing to write about.
So we’re just going to talk about and if it comes across weird, then I’ll just have hit the ‘edit’ button several times until it comes off right.
I take my job very seriously. It is something I love to do and I always want to give it my 110%. However I do understand how the concept of being a Personal Assistant may be lost on some people – what exactly is it that we do? When are we officially working? What are the boundaries?
Our job scopes are not written in stone and honestly my work is something I have had to learn as we go for the last two years.
I suppose being a PA to a typical (but this I mean non-“celebrity”; ugh, I feel very uncomfortable using that word!) boss or manager is fairly straightforward, but my work is personally a bit more complex than that.
I understand that girlboss is extremely popular and very much loved by her readers and followers. I mean who can blame them, she’s fantastic! So I understand their excitement when they meet her, want to speak to her and take photos with her.
And I am more than happy to take their photos, videos, boomerangs, etc – it’s so nice to feel like I was a part of making their day (also I feel like I know girlboss’ angles best so I prefer to take the photo myself, haha!)
However I personally feel uncomfortable when people ask me for photos when I am working. Ugh, again, I feel so weird saying this because I don’t really get it. I do think I am just ‘me’ and nothing close to the mega-charm that is girlboss. It boggles me as to why some people would feel nervous or excited to see me, because I’m just Iman. The same old Iman who does boring things and has a normal job (okay fine, maybe not too normal, but still, you know what I mean!)
In the beginning, I obliged because I didn’t want to seem rude, but it came to a point where taking photos with others affected my quality of work, e.g: girlboss had to wait for me to finish taking a selfie with someone (that’s so not cool), I couldn’t be there for her when she needed me because someone pulled me aside for a picture, etc.
So I decided to be firm and politely decline when people ask me for photos at events, or when they see me working. It does get pretty awkward, when they ask and I answer “I’m so sorry, but no thank you,” or “I’m sorry, but I don’t take photos while I’m working” but I truly feel that it’s my right to decline while I’m working because it affects my job.
I mean, you wouldn’t ask a surgeon for a selfie while she’s in the middle of a heart surgery would you?
I know that’s a very extreme comparison, but like I said, I take my job very seriously #workaholic
Sometimes people understand, smile and say “okay”. But other times they can get quite aggressive and forceful which in turn makes me feel bad because I don’t want to negatively impact their day however I feel PAs need to be firm and consistent otherwise it’s easy for people to walk all over us and not take us seriously.
There are times when I relent, when I read that the situation will only keep persisting with “no lah, come lah, please please please” or when girlboss asks me to enter the frame.
I suppose it’s also because they maybe don’t understand that I am there to assist girlboss, and not as a secondary ‘persona’. Once at an event, when I declined a photo by saying that I don’t take photos while working, the person responded “What? You’re working?”
Hahaha, I guess that’s the misconception, but if you see a PA and he or she is with their boss, it doesn’t matter where we are – in the office, at an event, in a grocery store, having a meal – we are working. Our jobs are to accompany, assist and be there for our people and as long as we’re together (and sometimes even when we’re not!), PAs are on duty.
It’s not that I don’t want to say hi, be friendly or have a chat with you – but perhaps it’s better for when I am not working! For me, when I’m on the job, that comes first and I thank you for understanding my position and circumstances.
So I’d truly like to say a big fat warm sorry to any of the girls reading this who I might have unintentionally offended by declining a photo or selfie. I think you’re beautiful and anyone would be lucky to have a picture with you ❤
Happy Sunday, friends!