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Nuria CoppPrivate PA5 Jun 2019
  • Advice
  • Guest Post
  • Insight

A Day In The Life Of A Private PA

What is it like to work as a Private PA? This is a question we are asked all the time at Anderson Hoare, and our answer is always the same, it’s never that simple! We’ve been matching exacting individuals with their perfect Private PA for over 30 years and know that this is not a one size fits all kind of job.

Working as a Private PA required discretion, trust and reliability. A typical day in the life of Private PA could take you from supporting your Principal at a glitzy premier one evening to picking up her dry cleaning and groceries the next. It’s a role that requires a lot of autonomy and the ability to deal with any situation that is thrown at you. If you're intersted in hiring a Private PA, visit our dedicated Private PA homepage here or if you're searching for private PA jobs, head to our job board to view our latest roles here.

So what does a typical day in the life of a Private PA look like?

We’ve spoken to one of our candidates, a fantastic Private PA, Nuria Copp, and asked her to describe to us, as much as she can, what a typical day in the life of a Private PA looks like. The below example is working for a family of four with two school age children living in a seven bedroom house in Hampstead. Both the mother and father have very demanding jobs and require full support from a housekeeper, nanny, chef and Private PA.

Nuria, how would you sum up your typical day?

The first thing to state is that working as a Private PA there is no 'typical' day because no two days are ever the same! Personally, I enjoy having this degree of variety and unpredictability, it makes things more interesting, the wheels are constantly turning, and my job is never done! One minute I will be visiting an auction house to have a piece of jewellery valued or organising a big family event and the next minute I could be collecting a dress or going to the post office.

How does your day normally start?

I wake up at 7am and my day typically starts and ends with checking my calendar and to-do list. I then check for possible emails or messages from my boss that may have come in overnight with new instructions, which I add to my list of to-dos. I have a shower, get changed, have a quick breakfast and I am ready to go.

I am out of the door by 8.30am and luckily, my current job is only 20 minutes away by car. Once I arrive at my Principal’s home, I have a quick meeting with the housekeeper, give her relevant instructions for the day and enquire about possible issues around the house that need attention; she then gives me a grocery list as well as a list of anything she may need purchased for the house.

Communication is key in this role and I try and catch up with my Principal every morning, but this is totally dependent on her calendar. If she is still at home I’ll go through any pending matters and what’s coming up, reminding her of her children’s school events for the week or upcoming birthday parties they are invited to. It’s my job to make sure these all run smoothly and she usually gives me ideas of gifts to buy and I can then purchase these as well as coordinate timings and travel arrangements with the nanny.

If there are family or guests staying, I take care of all the entertainment and tailor it accordingly. I make all restaurant reservations, book museum visits and day trips. I organise drivers and tour guides and make sure that any dietary requirements are catered for.

When I find a quiet moment I tend to focus on any pending admin, such as paying bills, filing, expenses and making phone calls to confirm appointments and reservations. Around 1pm I grab some time to make a cup of tea and have my lunch, which is inevitably interrupted by a phone call from the EA from my boss’s office or someone I contacted earlier and could not get hold of.

Because my job is not confined to an office I have to leave the house most days and, if possible, always group together my external errands to maximise my time and avoid making several trips on the same day. A trip out can be anything from shopping for organic produce from the greengrocers, buying flowers for the house, going to the dentist to get a medical claim form signed or going to the cashpoint to top up the petty cash.

Although I work principally for one person, I am often asked by my boss’s husband to research family travel, plan itineraries and get relevant costs. I also liaise with their personal trainer making sure he has their fitness calendar fully up to date.

What time do you leave?

I aim to be finished by 3pm once I have done every task that requires my presence. Sometimes it's not possible and I just keep going until I've finished everything that needs to be done. Before leaving, I have a quick chat with the housekeeper and chef to discuss the following day and any requirements for the few days ahead.

How do you end the day?

I transfer all my pending tasks on the to-do list to a new page in order of priority and add any correspondence or important documents I am currently dealing with to a folder I always carry with me. Once I am home, if there are any phone calls to be made or messages to be sent I do so while preparing dinner and dealing with my teenage son. Once dinner is ready I disconnect till before bed time allowing just a quick glance at my calendar and possible messages from my Principal before getting into bed.

Ultimately, the list of all my jobs is too long to mention and all of the above can happen in a single day, or not at all if something suddenly comes up which I have to react to. I rarely know which way it’s going until I get there. Some days I work longer hours to meet deadlines or to accommodate requests and other times I’ll have less to do. The role of Private PA requires a great degree of energy, coordination and organisation as well as patience and an ability to keep cool. At the end of the day what I find most satisfying is knowing that I have been able to provide much needed support and make a family’s life a little bit easier.