Celebrity Personal Assistant Tips: Holding Your Boss Accountable

Handle your boss’s indecision


A busy VIP can sometimes have a “selective memory,” which is to say that they love changing their minds.  One of the major hurdles you will face as a personal assistant is getting your boss to keep his or her word.


When I worked for the Royal Saudi Family, this was especially a problem; although, celebrities were not immune either.  For instance, if my boss decided he no longer wanted to go on a trip I planned weeks before, I would have to break the news that he lost tens of thousands of dollars.  As you can imagine, there was nothing “regular” about what I had planned.  It always involved very elaborate requests with non-refundable deposits.


My boss, conveniently, would say he didn’t authorize the charges and wanted his money back, even suggesting it may have to come out of my paycheck.  It goes without saying that I was ALWAYS quite clear about how much his requests would cost and that the deposits were non-refundable.  So to “jog his memory,” I started getting very hyper-technical with all the details he gave me at the time of the request.


On any occasion that he said he didn’t “remember” telling me to execute an order, I would tell him the date, time and place the event happened.  For example, my dialogue with the prince usually went something like this:


“Your Highness, your order for the Ferraris and Rolls Royce fleet to be at the Ritz-Carlton in Paris was given to me by Your Highness on April 12th at 8:30 PM.  Your Highness will recall we were eating dinner at (name of the restaurant) and Your Highness was eating a medium-rare T-bone steak and I was eating a lobster tail.  Furthermore, Your Highness, we were also accompanied by (names of the people at the table with us) and our server’s name was Wendy.  I even remember Your Highness complementing Wendy on her nice smile.  If it would please Your Highness, I would be delighted to ask (name of one of the men who was at the table with us) to step into the room to confirm the information.  But you may also look at my notes, if it pleases Your Highness.”


At that point I would open my little notepad and show him the copious notes I took during the session.  Do I need to say that I didn’t have to do this more than twice before he got the hint that I was never going to let him off the hook again?


NOTE:  A colleague of mine who works for a major A-list celebrity actually has his boss sign a homemade order form because the actor would not learn his lesson when it came to cancellations.  On many occasions, witnesses were not around to verify requests, so my friend simply pulled out the actor’s signature verifying that a command was in fact issued.


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