I’m excited to share my conversation with Jess Gardiner, Founder and Editor in Chief of The Assistant Room, an online magazine for assistants.

Jess Gardiner the assistant room

Jess has a decade of experience as a C-Suite Executive Assistant, and shares several great insights in this episode.

We talk about AI and the future of assistants, why being an assistant is some of the best training for those who want to start their own business, ways to encourage men to embrace the role of an EA, what to do if you’re sexually attracted to your executive, not taking a job just for the money, and how to promote yourself without being annoying.

Enjoy and share this episode with your assistant friends!


Well behaved women seldom make history.

– Laurel Ulrich

Jess Gardiner the assistant room
About Jess Gardiner

After spending ten years as an EA working in Healthcare, High Fashion and Property, supporting some of the most influential people within their industries, Jess established online industry magazine The Assistant Room.

Fast forward three years and her first hand experience working in what she describes as the most commercially powerful industry in the world, has developed The Assistant Room into a leading industry publication with over 10k readers per month in over 25 countries across the world.

Covering life and style, travel and career centric articles, The Assistant Room provides engaging and creative content to inspire, challenge and push the boundaries of the modern day Assistant.


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Jess Gardiner 0:00
I’m Jess Gardiner. Today’s leadership quote comes from Laurel Ulrich, well behaved women seldom make history,

Podcast Intro 0:07
Episode 31. The Leader Assistant Podcast exists to encourage and challenge assistants to become irreplaceable game changing leader assistants.

Jeremy Burrows 0:23
Hey everyone, its Jeremy Burrows. Before we jump in, make sure to check out the show notes at leaderassistant.com/31. Also join our Facebook community at Facebook.leaderassistant.com. And lastly, if you haven’t signed up for the 30 day assistant challenge, check it out at assistantchallenge.com Hey, everyone, thanks for tuning in to The Leader Assistant Podcast. Today I’m joined by Jess Gardiner from theassistantroom.com. Jess, thanks for joining me.

Jess Gardiner 0:54
Thank you very much.

Jeremy Burrows 0:56
So let’s do a little bit of backstory. Where are you from? And how did you end up starting a blog for assistants.

Jess Gardiner 1:06
So I grew up in the South East of England. And I grew up in a very, very supportive family. And my mum was actually an executive assistant in Deutsche Bank as I was growing up, and my dad was in the army. And then when he left the army, he started his own business. And so I was always surrounded by very, very inspirational people very, very hard working driven. individuals. And I had a great set of role models around me, you know, throughout my entire life. And when I first started working as a PA, I was working locally I worked in property to begin with. And then I moved up to London, which isn’t too far from when I where I initially grew up. It’s roughly about an hour from where my mum and dad currently live. But I moved up to London, I was about 18 When I decided to take the leap into city life. And it’s just sort of been a whirlwind since then I initially was looking after the CEO of a health care company, one of the biggest in the UK, and sort of worked my way through my career looking after people in again in property, gold mining. I did a short stint in fashion, which was a bit of a whirlwind in itself. And then three years ago, I started the assistant room.

Jeremy Burrows 2:33
Did you have a first job before you became an assistant? Like your first real like you got a paycheck job?

Jess Gardiner 2:39
Yeah, so I was working just as a store assistance in Topshop, which is a fashion retailer, which is all over the world owned by a gentleman named Philip Green, who is a huge entrepreneur here in the UK. And I absolutely loved it. It was one of those places that when we because I started when I was at school, I did my work experience there. And it was that one place on the high street where I grew up that everybody wanted to work. So yeah, it was it was a lot of fun, lots of fun. And obviously I got to try on and buy lots of fabulous clothes at a big discount. So it was every 16 year olds dream.

Jeremy Burrows 3:18
nice bonus. Yeah. What did you learn from that job that you still use today?

Jess Gardiner 3:25
I think I think working in Fashion and Retail, you just become extremely resilient, extremely resilient, you know, you’re you’re working with the general public in a way that you do everything for them, there would be good days, and there would be bad days like there are in any job. But sometimes the bad days would be particularly bad, especially if you’re only, you know, just starting your first job, you’re 16 years old, and you’re faced with a very, very angry customer. And you have to calm that person down in front of a queue of 25 other customers. So working with the general public, I still completely take my hat off to anybody who works in retail because it is a lot harder than people think. But it’s a really, really great way to start building your own skill sets. Especially going into a working environment and especially as an assistant resilience is such a massive part of being an assistant. So I learned a lot there looking back at it. I think I learned a lot more than I actually have ever thought about so yeah. Great.

Jeremy Burrows 4:34
So can you describe the job of an assistant in one sentence?

Jess Gardiner 4:40
I think that’s actually impossible. I don’t think any of us could probably describe the job of an assistant in one sentence. Do you know what I think everybody in this industry has such a different type of job. And I think that’s what makes this industry so interesting. In itself. I mean, every assistant out there I will have the same sorts of set of skills because unless you have those, you can’t be a successful assistant. See, obviously, you need to be resilient, you need to be extremely well organized, you need to be entrepreneurial in your own way. And you know, think ahead, not just one or two steps, but 50 steps. And I think all of those sorts of key characteristics feed into what the job of an assistant is. But I really do think it’s impossible to define that completely.

Jeremy Burrows 5:30
So why is an assistant crucial to the success of an executive?

Jess Gardiner 5:36
I think there are so many ways that everybody contributes to the success of an executive, I really do. I think that this is one of the most underestimated roles in society. You know, I use a phrase, I actually published an article recently, with regard to what it was titled, How to hike, it was one of our How to articles, I’ll send it over to you. But I said in in that article, you know, execs become bloodied and bruised on the office floor without us. And there are so many things that they don’t realize that we do behind the scenes to make them so successful. There is, you know, we’re there every single step of the way for them, to pick them up to guide them, to help them you know, realign in the kind of misjudged energy or just to be their complete confidant. So, there’s just so honestly, I could probably talk about this for ages and ages and ages. I don’t think that there was a successful executive who doesn’t have an assistant.

Jeremy Burrows 6:48
That’s a good way to put it. Yeah. What are your thoughts on artificial intelligence? And what what do you think we assistants should do to prepare for the future of work?

Jess Gardiner 6:59
Well, I know that you work in AI. And I don’t know what your thoughts are. But I really do think that the way the industry in general is sort of poaching or trying to understand how AI is going to affect the role of executive assistants and personal assistants, I think the general consensus is that everybody is quite scared. And I think that’s the completely wrong way that we need to be looking at it. As assistants, obviously, we are all so so so busy, you know, everybody says their to do lists as as long as they’re on. And it’s not an uncommon situation where you’ve got people working out of hours before work after work at the weekends. And I think what we need to do is we need to embrace the fact that there is going to be something that will help us, you know, that is going to continue to develop to develop, not be afraid of it, embrace it, and to, you know, just completely take control of the situation, go to seminars, that are all about tech, you know, speak to people at networking events, about up and coming technology, and just really use it as a great opportunity to learn something new, I think the big part of being an assistant is that you take things to your exec and suggest things to them or do things with them, or for them that they don’t know about. So I think what we all need to be doing as an as an industry is taking tech to our execs and say, you know, have you heard of this? Or have you heard of that and introduce it to them? Because if they’ve got the you know, they’ve they’ve got the sort of head start on that sort of thing. Before we have, then I think it’s going to be a completely different conversation.

Jeremy Burrows 8:47
Yeah, I agree. I think I think that there is a sect of the EA world that’s in the PA world that are scared of it. But I also am actually kind of surprised at how many people that I you know, I’ve done some informal polls on Facebook groups and LinkedIn. And I’m actually kind of surprised at how many select the option AI will have very little direct impact on my job. Yeah. And I think so I think there is still some denial in the industry, and I’m hoping to help change that

Jess Gardiner 9:25
completely. And I think people when you say AI, I think people forget that we already have a lot of tech and a lot of AI in its current form already introduced within our lives. I mean, I would probably say I think I read a stat a statistic the other day that said something like 45% of people are very happy with the fact that they have an Alexa in their home now. And it’s it’s not as scary as I think people think but it’s the way that we perceive it. It’s the way that we talk about it. It’s rather than encouraging that negative or All sorts of hesitant conversation around AI, we just need to be embracing it and, and using it to our advantage because I’m pretty sure every PA, or EA would love to have a bit of extra help with their to do list and it doesn’t mean that AI is going to completely wipe out what we do. It just means that we need to adjust to it, as everybody else in the world has to.

Jeremy Burrows 10:25
Yeah, totally agree. So if you could snap your fingers and instantly give all assistance, more of something, what would it be?

Jess Gardiner 10:35
I think in general, we could all become a lot more confident in who we are what we represent, start empowering each other a lot more. I mean, when I started the assistant room, I you know, I’d had eight, nine years experience under my belt as an as an assistant. And I’ve been thinking for quite a few years now, what’s what I would like to do something extra, but I’m just not too sure what that is. And at the time, I had no idea that it would manifest itself into the into the assistant room. But I looked at sort of my self when I was starting the system. And so I have no idea how to run a business, when in actual fact, I had more experience running a business, sort of real time experience that I’d learned from sitting next to CEOs and CFOs for years and years and years. And I had a much better understanding about how commercial business works. More than a lot of people who start their business who have no idea and who are still very successful. So I think everybody could really, really help each other in terms of empowering each other with who we are, the abilities that we’ve got. You know, there are so many issues within the PA industry and EA industry regarding lots of different things, including the difference in you know, in gender, there’s obviously a lot more of a female percentage within the role than a male percentage, but just every every conversation about anything, whether it’s regarding the gender gap with regards to the gender gap, or whether it’s regards to salaries, or whether it’s regards to the glass ceiling, we’ll hit, I think if we all start sort of having a bit more confidence within within who we are, and what we can do, and the skills that we’ve got, a lot of those issues would become a lot smaller. And rather than talking about them, we would understand how we can overcome them.

Jeremy Burrows 12:29
So what are your thoughts on encouraging more men to embrace the role of an assistant?

Jess Gardiner 12:35
Well, to begin with, it’s a completely gender neutral role. So it’s, it’s one of those really, really great career paths that you can follow. And you don’t have to be a man or a woman, technically to do that job. I mean, there aren’t obviously that many roles that do that do need that. But I think that’s something that we are very heavily seen as a female LED industry. And I was speaking to a couple of the the executive assistants, mad executive assistants who are in our network. And we all tend to generally have the same kind of thought process. So obviously, this is a fantastic role. We’re we’re much further ahead in terms of what the role means what it consists of, than we were 2530 years ago. And that there’s but there’s just so much more that we can do so much more that we can do to encourage the fact that men can take this on as a career and be proud of it. But I think that there are three main blockers to the reason why there is such a big gap between the female and the male demographic, the first issue, I think, and the blocker are the execs and I’ve had this in my own experience as an executive assistant when I was leaving one of my previous roles. You know, I put a shortlist together. That took quite a while because the person I was looking after was quite hard work. shortlist together, presented it to her. And she immediately declined one of the PAs on the shortlist purely due to the fact that he was a man. And it just doesn’t make any sense to me whatsoever. So I think that to be able to encourage more men to come into the role we need to get the execs on board. And we need to obviously encourage the fact that this isn’t a gender specific role, and demonstrate that to them. But then we also need to have a conversation or open up a conversation with the recruitment companies in the world who represent secretarial recruitment, because obviously a lot of them are very KPI driven. And a lot of them are very KPI driven in the sense that if they don’t hit those KPIs, you know, they’re out the door straightaway. It’s an extremely cutthroat industry. If you’re not proving your worth, you’re gone the moment that there’s a quiet period, and I think that are in some companies or in quite a few of them. businesses that I’ve had dealings with anyway. And I think they need to start adjusting their approach to it, you know, they are, they’re not just to earn a fee, put a certain amount of PAs and EAS into roles throughout the year, they need to be having conversations with their clients, advising them on different ways to do things, encouraging them to, you know, have that experience with a male PA, and at least you know, even just meet people, and not to dismiss them straight away purely based on the fact that you’re used to having a female PA, because I think that that’s it’s never going to change otherwise. So I think there needs to be a conversation with the execs there needs to be a conversation with the recruitment businesses, and then the perception within the industry also has to change. And as I said a moment ago, you know, it’s such a different job to what it was 25 years ago. And I think that’s what we really, really need to focus on, we need to change the conversation where we talk about how, you know, there’s not as many men in the industry because you know, for this reason, and this reason, in a negative way, we need to be showcasing and leading by example, and just really pushing the fact this is a fantastic career option, and a really, really wonderful job to have. And then hopefully, we will start seeing some change. But I don’t think it’s going to be something that will happen overnight, I think this is going to be a very, very slow change. But it just needs that consistent positive reinforcement to make it happen.

Jeremy Burrows 16:33
Yeah, and I think that being an EA, if we could communicate that being an EA is, you know, for four years, for example, is probably better training than an NBA at, you know, an Ivy League school.

Jess Gardiner 16:46
100% Well, I always know cheaper, 100% cheaper, yeah, you actually earn a salary for doing this. But I always say that, you know, I could never have started my own business without being an EA first. And I 100% stick to that. And I credit all of the or I just always want to say a huge thank you to everyone I always worked with because I learned so much you’re sort of as an assistant, you are enrolled in the best business school in the world, but you have to be in the zone and want to learn all of those things, to have that opportunity. So you’re 100% right. 100%.

Jeremy Burrows 17:24
So what’s the biggest mistake you’ve made as an assistant? And what did you learn from the experience?

Jess Gardiner 17:31
I think the biggest mistake that I ever made as an assistant was moving, moving into my next role purely for money. And that was a big, big lesson for me, I used to very much I’ve used to value myself as a as an assistant based on the salary that I was earning. You know, I was I always felt as though I was in competition with everybody else, he was on a much higher salary to me, I had a serious case of imposter syndrome, it was looking back on it actually it was it’s quite sad for me to think that I used to really value myself on that salary. And and think to myself, No, I’m not as good as the person sat next to me at a networking event, because I know they earn 10,000 pounds more than me. And that was actually within my last role. My last role, I took that position based on the fact that I was going to get a very small pay rise. But that was all I was very focused on. I didn’t really look at what the job was too much. I didn’t look at the company too much. I didn’t do any research into the person I was going to be looking after. And I left that role within 10 months, because it got to the point where I thought I have just completely moved for the wrong reason. You know, it’s not all about money. This is my happiness that I am, you know, compromising on here. I’m working an extreme amount of hours for somebody who I don’t feel who I do not feel appreciates me, which I think is something that a lot of pas pas feel. And it was it got to the point where I started to think I’m you know, I’m doing a job for somebody who on the outside looking in. It’s very inspirational and, you know, very, very powerful in what they did. But it actually turned me into someone who loved being an EA into someone who started to dislike it a lot. And I think the biggest lesson I learned was that your professional and your personal integrity is worth more than your paycheck. So always to be on always be honest with yourself, always be true to who you are. And money is not the important thing. You know, you don’t need to prove anything to anybody. If you’ve got an ambition to become the EA to the CEO in five years time. Just take it slow. Don’t jump around from job to job just because an EA to a CEO job We’ll then open the door to your dream role in the next year or so. The saying that I left her to start the assistant room. So it wasn’t all that bad.

Jeremy Burrows 20:10
So when you when you started the assistant room? How did you kind of get that going and deal with promotion? And, you know, there’s a lot of self promotion involved when you’re when you’re starting something like that, how do you do that without being salesy all the time? Or annoying? And, you know, how did you handle that?

Jess Gardiner 20:32
Yeah, of course, well, I think that it’s, it all comes down to authenticity, you have to be authentic. And to be authentic, you have to be passionate about what you’re doing. I mean, throughout the assistant room, for example, when I started, I started writing one blog post every two weeks. And I did that for about six months. And, you know, I didn’t really do anything other than that. And I think within the first year of running the business, I had a total of 50 readers online, which was at the time, and I still didn’t look back at it. And I think, you know, it was huge achievement for me, because it was just having that confidence and that belief system in myself, to know that I could do that and do something that I really, really loved doing. But even going back to the very start all the way through to how we promote the assistant room. Now. It’s all on the strength of the content that we produce online. I mean, I think that there are so many people who again, it goes back to our I suppose our previous question that we just spoke about, you don’t need to prove anything to anybody. You don’t need to constantly write on LinkedIn or on facebook how well you’re doing. And you don’t need to constantly say, who you’re working with, or the clients that you’ve got on board or you know how many people you’ve got in your network, or whatever’s relative to you in terms of running your business, you don’t need to prove anything to anybody. You know, everybody takes it at their own pace, and everybody respects you far more, if you can, you know, show that you’re doing an amazing thing, without rubbing it in their face. You know, no, nobody likes a dog with a bone. And I think that going, going about it slowly and organically is truly the only way that you can keep that consistent, that consistent reputation of being somebody who produces something amazing, and not something annoying.

Jeremy Burrows 22:29
That’s great. So what would you say to assistants who are thinking, You know what, I want to start my own business?

Jess Gardiner 22:36
Yeah, well, I would say but 100% Go for it to begin with. You know, if you if you really believe in yourself, then you can do absolutely anything. I think that if you have a passion for something you have, you have everything you need to start a business. You know, forget about the idea that you need loads of money, or that you need to work 22 hours a day to make your dream come true. Or you’re going to have to throw the towel in on your social life. I mean, running a business is extremely hard, it is very, very hard, you have to make a number of sacrifices. But unless you have a genuine passion for what you’re doing, it changes from being very hard to being impossible. And it doesn’t matter what you’re doing what you do, or what you choose to focus on, whether it’s making candles and selling them at the local farmers market, or, you know, if you want to create your own clothing line, and in five years time, you want to have a shop on Hollywood Boulevard, whatever it is just don’t let anything or anyone sort of compromise that passion that you have. And when it comes to pas don’t let anybody compromise that passion, especially if it’s a boss that you have, who doesn’t understand you have a life outside of the office. So we touched on this earlier. And I I really do think that as PA, pas and EAS we have the most amazing opportunity to gain experience of running a business in real time, from the people that we sat next to or the you know, on daily basis. So we learn why and how tough decisions made how to plan strategically for the long term. And just generally what the challenges are that businesses come up against constantly. And you are you are enrolled in the most amazing business school in existence. And you have just this constant support network around you. You know, you can ask questions to a CEO and they’re not going to get annoyed with you because it’s your job to know everything. I was terrified of launching the assistant room I was absolutely petrified. But I do look back at my career and think I went through a period of mentorship with everything that I did. And as assistants we as ourselves underestimate the power and the knowledge that we have. And if you really think about it, anyone can start a business but if you can start a business with five or six years of experience working in a corporate office or any kind of working environment Whether you’ve constantly got access to the boardroom, you know, when it’s full of the directors, or if you’ve constantly got access to your boss’s inbox, and you can read every board paper that comes through or every strategic planning paper that comes through, you have so much and so many resources at your fingertips that the only final thing you need to do is believe in yourself. And once you do that, you can do anything.

Jeremy Burrows 25:24
So how do you use the Insight you’ve learned, while also maintaining confidentiality. And, you know, obviously, you’re not going to spill the beans of every board board meeting, you’ve said, and

Jess Gardiner 25:39
I think it’s just you have to, you have to go in your own personal journey of learning certain things, you know, when I was, when I was a PA, or an EA and I had this idea for the assistant room, it actually took me quite a few years to figure out what it was what it was going to look like, you know, what it meant, what I was going to dedicate to it. And I just used to absorb everything I possibly could, in every single way, whilst obviously maintaining a completely professional attitude to what I was doing, and just sort of storing it in my own way and thinking, you know, this experience is happening in front of me, this is the experience that I’m involved in? How can I use that when I start my own business? Or is this something that I know I could potentially come up against in my own business? And I would just keep a mental note of it. I mean, I’m very lucky that I have a very good memory. It’s something that all my previous execs will comment on. Actually, they could tell you that I could, you know, I could exactly pinpoint the person that they met five years ago, who was, you know, a blond haired lady who stepped into their office for five minutes at 10 past 11. So I think it’s just about looking at what they’re doing, relating what they’re doing to your own situation. And just making sure that you can adapt to what, you know what the circumstances and use that experience to your advantage, there isn’t there is no bad experience that you can have in business that won’t prepare you for the next one. So, yeah, it’s just about kind of utilizing all that information and making sure that you know that one thing might not work for you. But there’s lots of other options that you can potentially use to your advantage. If that makes any

Jeremy Burrows 27:29
sense. Yeah. What’s, what’s the number one struggle that you had as an assistant or maybe the other assistants have that you’ve that you hear all the time?

Jess Gardiner 27:42
I think it’s about recognition in the role. I think that I mean, everybody has a job description that will at some point in their career, say ad hoc tasks, there will be that bullet point that says ad hoc tasks, or to go above and beyond. What does that actually mean? I think that there is, there’s too much within the industry that everybody execs to the expect of PAs and EAS, they just expect you to get on with anything that they give you. And I think there has to be a limit to what that is. And that’s something I really struggled with when I was a PA because I would be you know, I’d have my yearly my yearly performance review. And they would say write, prove to us why you need to why you deserve a pay rise or prove to us why you’d like to have a promotion, if I asked those questions. And it was really difficult for me to be able to say, well, you know, I’ve done this, this, this, this, this this year, with tangible evidence to what I’d done, but they wouldn’t see that as anything outside of my job description. And it was really hard. And I think when you’ve got people that you trust, and you’re doing everything in your power to, you know, to make their lives easier, and to really help them. It hurts, it hurts when they turn around and say, Well, you know, you need to justify why you should have a couple of 1000 pounds extra year when you know you deserve that. And they’re sitting there saying well, it you know, as they would do in any circumstance, as a business, prevent present to us of your business case, why you deserve more money. And it’s really hard. It’s really hard. Especially I think, because a lot of people do think that they are vastly underpaid. So it’s difficult to provide. And I always found it very difficult to provide tangible evidence to prove why I wanted to be given an opportunity that I had been had not been given previously. So I mean, that’s a conversation in itself. But I think to combat that issue, we all need to start as an industry, start thinking a bit more outside of the box and start thinking about how we can provide that tangible evidence. So they don’t just say, well, that’s something that’s in your job description.

Jeremy Burrows 29:54
So let’s kind of wrap things up with a couple questions. The first one’s a little bit of an interesting One that I don’t think a lot of people talk about, what would you say to an assistant who becomes romantically or sexually attracted to their executive?

Jess Gardiner 30:11
So this is a hard one. But you know what, I think that this is one of those topics and conversations that a lot of people probably are faced with. And this is I don’t think this is going to be a very uncommon situation. I mean, to begin with, we’ve got to talk about madmen, and we’ve got to talk about suits, because those, those programs, you know, they really promote, I think, quite a, quite a sort of controversial version of what an assistant is, in terms of the fact that, you know, I mean, Don Johnson and Alison, they had they had a romantic I won’t say romantic relationship, or an intimate relationship, Donna and Harvey, you know, the entire ensuites, the entire series was just full of sexual tension. And I think that there is a big problem in the media, whereby that is really played on. And you know, that that shouldn’t be the case whatsoever, at all. I think I mean, disclaimer here. Obviously, I’m not an HR professional whatsoever. But I think if you are in a situation where you are becoming romantically or sexually attracted to your boss, I think you just need to take a step back and think you know, you’re there to do a job, you’re, you’re there in a professional capacity. And it’s obviously going to happen, there is absolutely no way that everybody on this planet who is an assistant who spends, you know, hours and hours with their boss, in very, very close proximity knows absolutely everything about them, is happy to put themselves second in front of that person’s interests, it there’s going to be a number of people who do end up in this situation, and to begin with, I think the thing that we all need to recognize is that it is going to happen, and it’s okay. You know, it’s we’re all humans, when no, we’re not machines, we all have feelings towards each other, whether they are a friendship, or whether they are romantic feelings, or you know, if you are sexually attracted, but there’s a big difference between being infatuated with somebody, and being genuinely genuinely attracted to somebody, you know, so I would just say, take a step back, realize that what happens in the office isn’t necessarily real life, you know, everybody is there to do a job. And they are, they could be a completely different person outside of the office. You know, you need to just take a set, take step back, realize the capacity of your relationship, is it worth losing, or compromising your own success over if you are a very, very successful EA, or PA, or you’ve been working for years and years and years, is that, you know, is that relationship that you’re thinking about, worth sacrificing your entire career for? Because obviously, it’s not something that should normally happen, there are obviously lots of rules of engagement when it comes to the office. And unfortunately, however much we may or may not want office romances to be, you know, part of the norm, they’re not really something that we should all engage in. And I’ve actually been in a situation recently where I had a PA contact me about this, which is why I’m actually really happy that we’re chatting about it. And she just said exactly the same thing. You know, she was in a situation where she was looking after somebody who was very, very high profile, they had a lot of power, they had a lot of money. And when she actually thought about it, that was those two reasons with some of the reasons why she felt so attracted to that person. So I think it’s about looking at it objectively. And at the end of the day, you need to do what you want to do. But seek some advice first, not maybe not necessarily from your HR department, but maybe from an external HR department. But just just be very careful with what you do, how you go about things, and make sure that whatever decision you’re happy with, it’s not an irrational decision, and it’s something that you’re, you’ve thought about and that you’re very happy with whatever that is.

Jeremy Burrows 34:15
Yeah, and I would say if, if one party is is married, then I would say there’s, you know, there’s different kind of, it’s kind of a whole nother podcast episode. But But my advice to those listening that and I’ve had a few assistants reach out saying they’re kind of getting to this point or, you know, concerned about this potentially developing and, you know, there’s simple things like like boundaries, emotional boundaries, even there’s a lot of people that are emotionally attached to other people at work. And that can become unhealthy when, when both of one of the parties is married and you’re kind of sharing a little too much with the other person. And it’s kind of non professional type of conversations where you’re just really getting emotionally attached. And I think that there’s certain boundaries that you can put in place to help prevent that. And there’s very simple practical ones. Like if you’re married, you probably don’t want to hang out one on one with your know your boss and on happy hour. You know, that shouldn’t be a regular occurrence, in my opinion. But, anyway, yes, it’s a tough topic. It’s a tough issue. And I do think it happens more than we think.

Jess Gardiner 35:36
I 100%. And I think it’s so important to talk about it, because it’s not something that anyone really, really does talk about. But a lot, I do think a lot more people experience this situation than they would like to admit. And it is going to be completely natural, because as you say, you know, you are spending so much time with that person. So you’re 100% right, there has to be that that bout those boundaries put in place, and only you, you know, as a person what those boundaries can be or what they mean. That yeah, it’s a tough one.

Jeremy Burrows 36:13
So what’s, what do you think makes an assistant, a leader?

Jess Gardiner 36:19
I mean, I think there are so many things, I think we’re leaders already, I think that’s a big thing that everybody needs to remember. And that’s a big thing that everybody needs to continue to remind themselves. That there’s definitely obviously a big difference, I think that we all see within ourselves that takes place throughout our career, I don’t necessarily think there’s a defining moment that we will have, when we, you know, really start to become extremely confident in ourselves or believe in who we are. I think it’s a very slow process. But I think for me, especially working with and networking with assistants, on a very, very regular basis, one common theme, among assistants, who have really sort of stepped things up is their ability to be transparent, be honest, speak their mind, and people who have got a very, very strong sense of credibility. And people who are very confident in what they want, you know, they don’t compromise any part of themselves professionally anymore. You know, they push back when they want to push back, or they need to push back. And there is a limit to what anybody, anybody at all, whether it’s an exec or a colleague, there’s a limit to what people can expect of those people, and they stick by it. You know, I think it takes a long time to establish yourself as an executive assistant, it’s not one of those jobs, where you can just leave college straightaway and jump into looking after a CEO. It just doesn’t work like that. So I think it’s about having that power to believe in yourself, to really champion who you are, not just to everybody around you, but to your boss, as well. And to recognize that you have all of this opportunity around you to get involved at a deeper level within the business and really start making, you know, making a name for yourself as more than know what people normally say, or quite a few people say is an inverted commas. Just an assistant, that is a phrase that drives everybody absolutely crazy, because we know, you know, that’s there’s no such thing as just an assistant. But I think the people who are leaders within this industry are people who put their hand up, they, you know, they really go for projects, they they get involved in a lot more things, and they make a really, really positive difference in ways that people never even considered that they could. But I do think it’s important for everybody as well to realize that they are a leader within their own rights. You know, we work alongside the top people within organizations, they wouldn’t have us there if we weren’t amazing at what we do. Yeah.

Jeremy Burrows 38:59
Awesome. Well, thanks so much, Jess, for joining us. And thank you, it’s been a great conversation, and how can we support what you’re doing? And you know, where can we find you online, all that fun stuff.

Jess Gardiner 39:11
So the assistant room online can be found at www.theassistantroom.com And on there, you can find out how you can follow us on LinkedIn, and Instagram and just keep up to date with everything that we’re doing, you can sign up to our newsletter. We have quite a few things coming up later, in 2019, and more towards sort of the middle of 2020 where we’re going to be introducing memberships and all sorts of things. So there’s a way on the website at whatever, you know, timeframe that you join us as as readers or as people who interact with the business. You can sign up to get all of the updates on those memberships and things like that on the website.

Jeremy Burrows 39:55
Great. Well, I’ll share all of those links to my My listeners on the show notes when we publish, and so they can find you and yeah, thanks again and we’ll talk soon. Thank you everyone for listening check out leaderassistant.com/31 for the show notes and thanks again to Jess check out the assistant room.com

Podcast Outro 40:27
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