I work hard, and sometimes I feel overworked, underpaid and under-valued at home.
I spend three days of my week doing paid work – I work from home (and as such my job is not truly considered a ‘proper’ job by my family, even though my salary is sucked into the vacuum of the joint bank account, never to be seen again).
I’m also trying hard to better myself and I continue to chase my dream of some day being able to make money out of writing at the same time as scaffolding the needs and dodging the bullets of a teenager with ADHD (who finds himself at the pointy end of education without a clue, and seems to attract trouble with the same vigilance as Mr Bean). Oh, and did I mention that I also attempt to manage a household?
But recently I’ve noticed that the family has surreptitiously added a new role to my domestic job description – that of unpaid personal assistant, to the lot of them. I’m not sure when exactly my domestic role evolved from mother and wife to personal assistant to the entire family board of directors, but it definitely has. I’m expecting a list of KPIs at my next review.
I know that I’m fortunate to be able to work part time, which is why in those two days of the week that I’m not doing my paid work, sometimes I have to take off my writer’s cap, suck it up and sort out the daily domestic shit that the old man and I have to wade through to manage our lifestyle. Customer service and administration are odorous jobs but the benefit of two whole days at home is that I can gorge myself on secret brie and hummus lunchtime binges with no-one to judge me, and then sneak off to the gym for a personal forgiveness session.
But a Personal Assistant should be respected and there are certain things on my task list that shouldn’t be assumed. Frankly, some of the tasks assigned to me are not in my job description and then there’s that attitude that I have to drop everything else to do what the board needs me to do, RIGHT NOW. But if I ask ANYTHING of them in return – WHOA! – they’re way too busy. Frankly, it gives me the shits.
And they could also learn that decent, respectful communication goes a long way and is vital to a professional relationship. And barked commands, such as the ones I’ve highlighted below, just make me want to add dog food to the family meal:
‘Have you sorted out……yet?’
‘Can you buy me a new…today?’
‘Don’t forget to… today?’
Did I mention that I have a paid job three days a week?
When was I hired for this new role as PA (to the whole fucking family)? And when exactly am I expected to fit in my own paid work, walk the Princess, clean, wash, cook, shop and write when most of the week I am running around like a headless chicken replacing things that have been lost, repairing things that have been broken, booking holidays, paying bills and being THE FAMILY FUCKING DOGS BODY?