GUEST COMMENT: What the way you treat your PA says about you

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You may not have your own personal PA, but you probably aspire to. For to have a PA is a mark of power. Even in this era of political correctness, most PAs are still women. Most PA-possesors are still men. Managing this relationship is fraught with potential pitfalls.

Long experience in the City suggests there are three main male approaches to PA management issues. Not all are advisable. Few are politically appropriate. Personally, I am not advocating any of them.

1) The family man

The family man always says, "Could you please..." before every command. He often gets his own coffees and typically hires the married, slightly overweight and slightly over-the-hill PAs. And in the odd case where he gets lumped with a Temp who has killer legs and a skirt to match, he will make a point of staring her in the eye and NEVER look down. The reality is that this guy probably wasn't too successful with women earlier in life, managed to bag a hot wife and now centres his life around not screwing it up.

Infidelity rating: 0

Good boss rating: 7 (polite, but not much fun)

Cool rating: 2 (in a geeky cousin, cool 'in his own way' style)

2) The Italian stallion

This suave, successful and well-educated silver fox has been known to bag two fresh interns in one summer (despite a loving wife, kids, etc...). He is always on the prowl; the truth is he can't help himself. When he walks on to the floor, with a confident-but-not-pompous stride, the other MDs cower out of his way with a feeble smile and nod of recognition. The guy has been here for decades, and power like that can't help but attract young attractive women. He treats his PAs well, with a polite but authoritative tone - as they swoon to help pack his bag for the latest business trip.

Infidelity rating: 6 (although he may bag a PA on occasion, he holds out for the female

bankers / investor relations types)

Good boss rating: 9 (when he nods to recognise that you exist, you can't help but puff up with pride)

Cool rating: 11

3) The Dictator

This guy could fill chapters of a 'tell all' autobiography with the shenanigans he subjects his PAs to. Starting with the fact that there are multiple (at one point 4) young and attractive girls on the team, their jobs can vary depending on their seniority within this elite community. The bottom rung of the ladder involves sourcing fresh underwear at a moment's notice, or getting a wine merchant on the phone to negotiate for a case of Chateau Petrus. The more senior ladies are invited to take his phone calls and pass on messages.

Infidelity rating: 9 (while he wouldn't seem the type, known to dip in the company ink)

Good boss rating: 3 (job satisfaction would be higher at a toll booth)

Cool rating: 3 (maybe if you are the type of blue-blood that thinks being as outwardly blue-blooded as possible is cool)

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