Week 5: Veal Roulade... No Big Deal!

This is Week 5 of my internship at VeryVera!

I am truly enjoying my internship, and this week was great! We have started our special guest season. Last week, we featured Al Smith, a high school student, who's experiences range from England to Evans! It was amazing getting to work with someone who was so passionate about what they were doing. When we were working with Al, his spirit and particular attitude, along with Vera's, were something I took note of. I realized that just as Ms. Vera and Al were so particular, that's how I need to be about everything that I do. I will be the first to admit, that sometimes I get so caught up in the enjoyment of the thing, that my detail-orientedness goes out of the door, but I have to remember that when I'm in professional situations, it's almost mandatory for me to be on my capital P's and Q's! 

My favorite movie of all time, is The Devil Wears Prada, it's based on the book by Lauren Weisberger, and it tells the story of Andrea "Andy" Sachs. Andy is an aspiring writer who gets a job as the assistant to Miranda Priestly, the Editor and Chief of Runway Magazine. The movie follows Andrea's journey through working for Miranda, who is notorious for being very detail-oriented, and very hard to work for. While my experience isn't nearly at the caliber of Andy's, I feel like I am being pushed in this internship, which I am thankful for. What many people don't know, is that Vera actually offered me my first job when I was in high school. When she owned the bakery, she hired high school students to work as elves in her Holiday bakery! My good friend Imani and I were presidents of mock-businesses at the Biz U Summer Business Camp at what was then Augusta State University! Vera came to speak with our group on her success, and instantly fell in love with Imani and I, and offered us jobs on the spot. So, in total, I've been working with Vera now for... 4 years!

With that being said, Vera expects a lot out of me. Which, she should! However, I am finding myself falling a little under the marks. I am putting in the work that I need to, but I think it's time I kick it up a notch, and perform at the volume where Vera and everyone else knows that I can perform. It's funny, I'm so used to giving people tips on how to live their lives, and make themselves better, it's almost like I need a little crash course on how to become the best assistant I can. I google searched earlier "how to be the best assistant" I found this little WikiGuide, and I'm going to share those steps on how to be a better assistant, with my own little commentary on how I can improve!

1. Develop Good Interpersonal Skills - A good PA is unflappable under pressure. They are calm and able to think on their feet. The ability to work well with others, particularly difficult personalities is essential as top level PA's work with CEO's in very pressurized environments. I think I have pretty good interpersonal skills. Well, maybe just personal skills. I am a very personable person, but sometimes I can get to comfortable. I guess I need to work on my professional "face". I need to definitely improve on "thinking on my feet", because when someone says something, I just get this puzzled look and not really know what to do, maybe some critical thinking improvements will help with that.

2. Develop Good Communication Skills - They are the first point of contact for customers and clients, therefore PA's need to be good verbal communicators with a pleasant, yet professional manner. The ability to influence people is also essential, as PA's need to negotiate with others for time and resources. Good written communication skills are necessary because PA's often respond to communications on the boss's behalf, and sometimes write reports and executive summaries. I have definitely been working on this. When I first started the internship, I would send long laborious emails, and Vera helped me to fine-tune my content to be able to say what I need, in less words. I'm definitely good with talking to people, I think I could talk to the wall, and we'd have a good conversation. I do have this one thing, however, where I forget to copy Vera on all of the emails concerning her, it's like I think she's just going to automatically know, but I have to take that extra step.

3. Develop Good IT Skills - A good corporate Personal Assistant is expected to have the following IT skills: Microsoft Word (Advanced); Microsoft Excel (Intermediate); Microsoft PowerPoint (Advanced); a good working knowledge of an email package like Microsoft Outlook, Lotus Notes, or Eudora. It is beneficial to have a good grasp of a database software like Microsoft Access, and some knowledge of Microsoft Project. Got this, good to go!

4. Develop Good Internet Skills - PA's should also be internet savvy, as they may be required to do research or perform tasks which require a good knowledge of the internet environment. A good knowledge of e-commerce is a definite plus. An understanding of internet marketing and search engine behavior will allow PA's to add value to their role and provide the best possible assistance to their boss. I think I'm pretty good at building a social media and internet audience!

5. Develop the Necessary Skills to: monitor the boss’s email and respond on their behalf; delegate work on the boss's behalf; manage the boss’s electronic diary; take dictation; prepare papers for meetings; book, manage, and minute meetings; organize and manage events; make complicated travel arrangements; prepare complex itineraries; manage a budget; attend events/meetings as the boss’s representative; conduct internet research; prepare presentations; write correspondence, reports, newsletters and executive summaries; update intranets and websites; maintain effective office filing systems; quickly and accurately type documents; source office equipment and stationery; manage projects; and supervise staff. Everything that I have highlighted in red... are things that I have done so far. Let me just say, that this is my first job as an assistant, so I'm not the best at them jet, but I am working to get better! 

These are just some of the many tips I found on the beautiful internet concerning becoming an assistant! Be careful what you wish for, because I was just praying not to long ago, for a position where I can be someone's assistant, and I got one! Even though it is hard, I am learning so much about myself, being an effective assistant, and food! I know I've talked your ear off, but I have to talk about the best part about working for Vera, the food!

From Veal Roulade, to Pork Tenderloin to Brandied Peaches, working for Vera has made my stomach so happy! It's so much fun, getting to watch her prepare all this delicious food, and then getting to eat some at the end of the show.  Before starting with Vera, the best thing I could cook was Chicken Alfredo... but now, I feel confident in my abilities to go forth and show all of the students in my apartment complex, that college kids can cook too! This week, we had Lee Epting, from Epting Events on the show! He and his crew were AMAZING! He and Vera did short ribs and vegetables, with grits, brandied peaches with Homemade Ice Cream, and Lee's Famous Tomato Pudding that was served at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics! So, I am getting the opportunity to work with some amazing people with even more amazing stories. Lee's assistant, Keith, was very cool as well. I got to see how he operated, and took mental notes on how I can improve in my job, and I thank Keith for that. Overall, I really am enjoying my internship. I almost see it as my full-time job now. I guess that's a good thing! Continue to follow me through my journey! I promise to keep you updated!
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