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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Assistant Files

Assistants are basically pretty cranky people.

…wait. That may just be me.

And that may just be me, today.

Ordinarily I'm sort of cheerful, but today I'm having the kind of day where things just keep going south without warning. Just minor, petty things. Things that probably wouldn't even drive you crazy if you were a person who had any job but being an assistant.

For instance, people I don't know keep showing up and walking into my boss' office without telling me who the hell they are. That may not seem like a big deal, but it's really throwing me off, because a huge portion of my job is about guarding the gate like a deceptively friendly watchdog. I'm the last line of defense between my boss and the myriad people who'd like to suck up his time and involve him in meetings he doesn't want to have. Or even just some guy who came by to measure a couch but went to the wrong office by mistake.

That's why I'm here, people. To raise my eyebrows and say, politely but firmly, "I'm sorry, his schedule's pretty tight today" and send the interloper away.

So, yes. It may be petty, but I HATE IT when people just cruise right on past my desk and into the office.

Other things I hate:

*People who call and say "Yeah, it's Russ" when you don't know who "Russ" is and then are all offended that you don't know about the glory of the Russmeister.

*When producers call you and go "It's Stan Williams" as though you should know which company and which movie. And then are offended when you ask what it's about.

*When you tell your boss "It's Stan Williams" and they say "Who?!?" and make you go back and ask. See above.

*As mentioned, when people go into your boss' office without talking to you first and then your boss is all "Um, why did you let that person in here?"

*Inevitably, the next time you stop someone it will be Steven Spielberg, but you didn't recognize him because he was wearing a damn beret.

*When you're trying to make someone do something for your boss because your boss is important but the person doesn't know who your boss is or how important they are and then you have to stop being subtle and go "Listen, he's the head of production, he needs his lunch NOW."

*When your boss disappears and then people are mad at you that you don't know where he went.

*When your boss is missing a deadline and people are mad at you, but it's not your fault. And you can't do anything about it. And your boss is hiding in a bunker in Telluride and you can't even get him on the phone, stop standing at my desk and telling me to get him, I can't, leave me alone.

*When your boss has some minor computer mishap that you could almost certainly fix if given five minutes, but he gets so upset and panicked that you cave and call IT, and halfway through the call you hear him call out from his office: "…Nevermind."

*When someone is talking at you and you point at your headset and mouth "On the phone" and they keep talking.

*When you're on the phone and another call comes in and you say to the person "Hey, can I put you on hold for a quick sec?" and the person says "Yeah, just let me finish my thought real quick blah blah blah blah blah" and you miss the other call. That other call is always, always, always going to be Brad Pitt or the Pope.

Next time, a counter-list of THINGS ASSISTANTS LOVE.


Andy Sachs

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Sam said...

My GOODNESS you just described my job! I am a PA to lawyers - never realised this job would stand me in such good stead for Hollywood!

Afronuts said...

This is soooo true!!!

I'm not an assistant but my wife is and she tells me stories like these!

Assistants definitely have to tolerate so much crap...

E.C. Henry said...

Andy, don't let others get you down. A lot of people are scared from childhood. Bed wetters till age 10? Maybe they didn't get breast fed long enough as todlers. But ya know if I it to do over, I'd probably would have held with the breast feeding a little longer than I did.

Still, no excuse for rudeness. Sorry to hear your not respected the way you should be. They know the dealie-o.

But don't worry, Andy. No matter what the world may dull out to you, you can always come over to the Rouge Wave where you'll be respected and loved.

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA

Anonymous said...

i was an assistant to a powerful producer once upon a time...

this post gave me a nervous stomach. good Heavens. dead on.