Q & A with Jan Jones: Part 1
Jan Jones is the author of “The CEO’s Secret Weapon How Great Leaders and Their Assistants Maximize Productivity and Effectiveness”. The book debuted at #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in the Office Management Category. It has received widespread acclaim from executives and executive assistants worldwide. Jan spent 20 years as an esteemed international executive assistant to well-known business people, including personal development icon and author Tony Robbins. Jan is passionate about the executive assistant role and continues to champion the profession through speaking, mentoring and offering timeless, practical advice that is relevant to the day-to-day role of the executive assistant. Enjoy Part 1!
FlyPrivate: Do you have any advice for EAs who would like to maintain some sort of work/life balance when they have no backup and have to be available 27/4 for their executives even when taking vacation?
Jan Jones: Don’t take a job that requires you to be available 24/7 if you are looking for work-life balance and the 24/7 requirement has been communicated to you during the interview. For certain types of executives, it’s expected that the EA will be available 24/7. Establish the requirement at the interview by asking that specific question at the time. If your boss says you won’t be needed 24/7, but you find that is what’s happening, have a conversation about it and try to establish some middle ground.
One assistant told me that her boss knew she would not respond to him between the hours of 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm because that was her family dinner time and she was helping her son with his homework. Once her son was in bed, she would check her messages. So these are the kinds of parameters you can establish with your boss to make sure you have private time, but are not completely out of reach.
If you are going on vacation and have no backup, try to find a time on your schedule when you boss knows it will be convenient to reach you. Or, set up a time when you will call, just to check in and make sure your boss doesn’t have anything pressing they need from you. In previous jobs, when I went on vacation, I set up a time with my assistant to call me and go over any issues that required my input. If I found later in the day that I had some time to spare, I would give her a quick call and ask if she needed anything. If you are not prepared to work this way, then a 24/7 availability job is not for you.
Visit Amazon to purchase Jan Jones’ new book and visit her website: The CEO’s Secret Weapon.
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