Changing Careers: Becoming a Personal Assistant to the Rich & Famous
Originally featured on Yahoo Voices in Oct 2011
In an overly-competitive job market where employees never know if tomorrow will be their last day, many have decided to change careers and become a personal assistant to a celebrity or high net worth family. Fortunately for aspiring candidates, many of their job skills are transferable. Being a personal assistant to the rich and famous requires patience, thick skin, and a can-do attitude. Celebrity PAs are no longer just errand runners because they are the focal point for their employers’ business colleagues. Actors, directors, and producers have armies of agents, managers, lawyers, stylists, and publicists that communicate with the personal assistant. So the PA is constantly fielding calls and managing schedules, both personal and professional.
Because personal assistants have access to their employers deepest secretes, discretion is an absolute must in the industry. Whether the assistant works for an executive, hedge fund manager or entrepreneur, the personal assistant usually has to sign a confidentiality agreement and pass a background check. Sometimes a driving record review and credit check are also required.
The first step to getting interviews to the uber-wealthy would be to register with a personal assistant agency that caters to high end clients like book authors, fashion designers, and Fortune 500 executives. Many employment agencies boast of high-profile clients, but be sure to do your homework because most domestic employment agencies mostly place nannies and maids. Although the garden variety “celebrity staffing agency” may get an occasional order for a personal assistant or estate manager, it’s best to register with a personal assistant headhunter who specializes in placing celebrity assistants. One such agency is The Celebrity Personal Assistant Network, founded by celebrity PA Brian Daniel.
While it’s true that some famous personal assistants can make over $100,000 a year, the pay can vary wildly. Some celebrity personal assistant jobs pay as low as $10 an hour when you factor in all of the hours worked per week. Generally speaking, working outside of the entertainment industry pays more and the jobs usually have better longevity. Working for celebrities can be grueling work and the turnover is high. For that reason, most celebrity PAs don’t have attachments like a spouse or pets because they are constantly on the move. Flying on private jets and driving exotic cars can be fun, but there is a price to pay and sacrifices must be made.
Some personal assistants to VIPs have gone on to start their own production companies or employment agencies. The balancing act is knowing when to step out of the role and before burnout sets in. For aspiring administrative assistants and office managers that think they have the chops to make it as a personal assistant, getting a well-written book on the personal assistant industry is a must. Having first-hand information about the industry is essential for understanding whether or not the job is feasible. The fast paced role of a celebrity personal assistant is not for everyone, so knowing what pressures and pitfalls that will be faced is worthwhile.
For more information about hiring a personal assistant, contact Brian Daniel at http://www.FindCelebrityJobs.com.