Just got a note to say that Mr.Branson is looking for a PA for a couple of offices in his opulent Necker Island resort. To be exact, a personal/admin assistant is required to work for both his and his GM’s office. As a pen-pusher in a past life, I read past the first line, curious, nosy and procrastinating in the library.
Initial thoughts – thank the lord they call a spade a spade in the job ad. No bullshit acronyms or fandangled titles to soup up the role and push the cheap-seat jobs. Don’t start me on EPA, CPA, chief executive assistant, and just the plain old one that gets me every time and reminds me of a donkey …EA. I’d just have easily taken secretary, but PA/admin assistant will do me fine, thank you very much.
They’re looking for all the vital signs, as you’d expect, someone to keep a cool head when dealing in diaries and deadlines. A backfill for when the big man’s PA takes vacation. It’s pretty much what it says on the tin, PA required, no bells, whistles or quirky curve ball requirements – simply a person who is capable and great at their job. They’ve asked for a video, in addition to cv, by way of application, which is pretty interesting in terms of recruitment mode for this type of position.
Of course, the prospect of observing Branson at close range and working alongside his team is a key selling point of the role. The learnings that come from working in close proximity to great business leaders are vast and are, in my opinion, the best benefit of any senior PA/admin support role. However, he has written books and since I’m in a library, I am, albeit figuratively, in close proximity to him too. Better still, I can remain at my desk and catch up with him on You Tube, without perusing the shelves, or leaving the shores.
So does it boil down to location, location, location? I mean, would it be worthwhile to migrate from this rainy, damp island to the “beautiful, unspoiled, private island paradise” that Necker Island is described as on Branson’s website? Imagine, tonnes of sunshine, good beaches, great food, salubrious surroundings… and me with steam coming out of my head trying to engineer other people’s diaries and lives, book travel for their wives, book their travel, change their travel, rebook their travel, panic when their travel plans change last minute – or worse still, mid-air. Because that’s what this job is – extremely busy PA needed to be as efficient as expected in an office on a dream Caribbean Island where the only dream is that someday you will be able to take even just an hour off to get outside and enjoy the surroundings. The successful applicant will ultimately multi-task to within an inch of a nervous breakdown, while looking out the window at blue seas and blue skies, unable to make out the vague hint of the horizon, nor her head from her arse for that matter. While they wrestle with Outlook’s recurring time zone glitches, they will observe the gentle sway of palm trees outside and will be given to pining for the gale force winds that blow down from Bohernabreena and whistle under your paper-thin single glazed front door.
There are wonderful leaders for whom to work on this beautiful (wet and windy) island. Why sell your soul for a salary and the seduction of sunshine you’ll only see from indoors? You could give me Necker, and throw in Inisvickillane for good luck, but I would still happily decline the opportunity to pick up the PA pen and give Sir Richard a dig out. I have another pen, I’ll dig with that.