For many career driven people, finding the perfect work life balance is something we only dream of. While many people live to work, there are a great deal of people that work to live. In these circumstances, when you have a demanding career, how do you maintain a balance? Attic recruitment looked at ways to achieve the perfect work-life balance as a senior PA and how you can have it all.
Agree the parameters from the outset
If you are applying for a Senior PA role but you value your time outside of the office, it is critical that you are upfront about your expectations from the outset. Agree the parameters of your role and express that work/life balance is important to you. Perhaps there are specific evenings of the week when you have pre-arranged commitments like a hobby or interest that are important to you.
Prioritise what is important
If your boss is working late it doesn’t mean that you have to. Many Senior PAs can be seen outside their boss’s office late at night as they work to the same times but is this necessary? If you have completed all of your work for the day why do you need to be there? If your boss needs to get hold of you perhaps you could have an agreement about taking calls or emails at certain times. Choose what’s important and what’s not. If you have completed all of the required tasks of the day then why do you need to stay on past your finish time?
Encourage your boss not to rely on you
That might sound like a risky statement. After all, if they don’t rely on you what if they realise they don’t need you? The reality is that while they come to depend on you for a lot, if they understand that your time is valuable and want to make you feel valued as an employee, they will understand your need for time for yourself. It doesn’t mean because you weren’t available for five minutes that they don’t appreciate the other 40 or so hours work you put in. If your boss understands that there are particular evenings when you aren’t contactable then they will learn to find the answers to things by themselves. If you are always there to find it for them they never need to look!
While you may need to stick to a very rigid office hours routine, it is useful if there are times when you can be flexible. If you can work late one night, perhaps you can leave early the next day. Offering to cover for other PAs who may want to take some time off is also a useful way to build good favour when you may need it.
Just say ‘no’
Many of us are so used to saying “yes” that we forget that we have the right to say “no”. What will happen if you are asked to work late and you say “no”? While it can be difficult to be the one that has to decline when asked, it does set out clear boundaries. The person who says “yes”.
It can be a tall order trying to juggle a career and have a good work/life balance. There will be times when you have to prioritise things and there will be occasions when you won’t be able to do the things that you want to do. If you are going to choose a work/life balance then you need to accept that you can’t do it all. That said, there is no reason why you can’t have a fulfilling career and a family as many other do.