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to hate setting up teas/coffees as part of my PA role?

(197 Posts)
Bumblequeen Thu 10-Feb-11 12:36:37

Work as a Senior PA in London, earning a good salary. However I really do not like having set out teas and coffees for the Directors external guests. He has at least one per day.

As a general rule I DO NOT make refreshments for the Director as it is not required as part of my role. I have never offered as I did not want to make a rod for my own back.

My colleagues on the other hand do not seem to mind making teas for the team whereas I avoid it at all costs. You can guarantee that on the hour someone will jump up and ask "anyone for coffee?" They then spend 30 minutes hanging around the kettle!

Whenever I see meetings with external persons in his calendar I sigh.

Apologies if I come across as snobby as that is not the case. I have worked in all kinds of roles since the age of 16.

Anyone else who struggles in this area?

Gissabreak Thu 10-Feb-11 12:42:24

Message withdrawn

Buda Thu 10-Feb-11 12:44:15

I used to hate that too. And setting up board room lunches.

Got into trouble once too. Loads of people off sick including Chief Execs PA and the office receptionist. I was only secretary/PA around. Guy comes in for meeting the Chief Exec. Phone to tell him. He says I will be 10 mins. He was known for making people wait. I offer the guy a coffee. There are 2 kitchens. Board room kitchen with proper china etc on 4th floor. Staff kitchen on 1st floor. Lift being serviced. I used staff kitchen and a nice mug from set that Sales Director kept for visitors in her office, put on tray with milk, sugar, biscuits etc. Guy had only just started his coffee when Chief Exec called down that he was ready. So took guy up and he insisted on bringing his coffee. Next day Chief Execs PA tells me that he was furious and that I may as well have used a jam jar! FFS!

Buda Thu 10-Feb-11 12:46:12

I actually never had a problem making coffee for colleagues. Once they reciprocated!

wellwisher Thu 10-Feb-11 12:46:18

I'm an ex-PA and still fall back on it as a temp when between jobs. I never liked getting drinks either (have shaky hands and always worry about spillages on the way to the meeting room!), but I just get on with it. I think you sound a bit stuck up and mean-spirited, to be honest. It wouldn't kill you to make tea for the team, let alone your boss - I can't believe you've never offered to get him a drink! I treat my bosses like PFBs - never had any complaints

I used to resent it enormously, I found it humiliating at times. I used to do company secretarial/ office manager tasks and then to be asked to waitress at meetings (which I also had to attend) was embarrassing. There were other more junior employees who perhaps should have done it, but were not presentable or reliable enough I guess.

I also used to burn myself regularly on the CEO's dodgy cafetiere, sitting in on meetings nursing a nasty scald is horrible and he wasn't very sympathetic.

So no, it's not unreasonable but it's hard to say what the solution would be.

I work in a law firm now with dedicated catering staff who do all that stuff grin

MorticiaAddams Thu 10-Feb-11 12:50:45

I didn't mind that too much but one of the bosses at a workplace (not mine) used to ask his PA to make his tea and coffee. Every other fucker from the director to the office junior made their own, why couldn't he? I just couldn't have worked for him.

allsquareknickersnofurcoat Thu 10-Feb-11 12:52:09

I hate making teas and coffees, both at home and at work! Dont have a problem with it, am just lazy and cant be arsed.

Ladyofthehousespeaking Thu 10-Feb-11 12:52:49

Yanbu-I found it humiliating after a while too - I don't mind plinking stuff on a table prettily but I draw the line at waitressing

ThreIsNoSpoon Thu 10-Feb-11 12:53:08

Why is it humiliating to make a coffee?

How bizarre! Snobby? Is making teas beneath you? Glad you are not on our team at work.

I agree with wellwisher, much better to treat them as PFB's grin

poorbuthappy Thu 10-Feb-11 12:54:44

I worked in a manufacturing company, quite small and I was the only woman.
I was the sales manager.
It took about 2 weeks for me to hammer home to them that because I was the only woman didn't mean I was the only 1 capable of making tea/coffee for guests/visitors.

It used to really wind me up as they were all capable of making their own drinks, but it seemed to be as soon as someone outside the company stepped through the door all bets were off.

It didn't take long to educate them...grin

Are you expected to waitress, or to just put out the things? Putting out the things sounds like a perfectly reasonable request and not outside the requirements of your job.

Elk Thu 10-Feb-11 12:54:59

My dh's pa makes him tea/coffee if he's around as she views anything that makes his life easier as part of her job.
Dh does find it a bit wierd but he is so busy it is useful. However, if he feels the need for a break he has been known to make her a cuppa. Since he is very rarely in the office it isn't really a problem.
The arguments in his office were over who turned on/unloaded the executive dishwasher!! Some of the pa's thought they shouldn't have to do it but moaned when there weren't any clean cups. dh ended up doing it himself for a few days. Funny that nobody had argued who should do the washing up!

When it comes to team coffees, do you say no when offered one, and then make one for jus yourself?

MorticiaAddams Thu 10-Feb-11 12:58:56

Elk My dh's pa makes him tea/coffee if he's around as she views anything that makes his life easier as part of her job.

It's entirely different if he has that attitude and she is offering. I would always have offered my boss and others tea/coffee if I was making it.

lesley33 Thu 10-Feb-11 13:00:48

I can't understand the poster who said it was humiliating to prepare drinks for visitors. What is humiliating about it?

I think its irrelevant that for one poster, there were people junior to her in the meeting. This just sounds like you think making drinks is too menial for you to do. If they don't want vistors to make their own drinks, then somebody has to make them.

freshmint Thu 10-Feb-11 13:05:13

you are a PA
if you don't want to make coffee get another job
it is not beneath you. it is part of a secretary's job

FakePlasticTrees Thu 10-Feb-11 13:06:54

YABU - pre DS I was the PA to the only UK member of the Board of a large multi-national (have returned to work for someone more junior and less stressful), I was seen as possibly the most senior of a team of 50 PAs - but i made tea/coffee for my boss' guests (normally a couple a day), and would normally make my boss a drink a couple of times a day. Most importantly, I never missed 'my turn' making drinks for the other PAs in my immediate area (there were 5 of us in that particular part of the company), that makes you look stuck up and not good when you need to call in a favour.

As an EA to a v.v.v.v important bloke in the city told me once early on in my career, "don't think that just because you support someone important that makes you someone important."

If you don't like making drinks for guests, it's the wrong role for you. It's a basic part of being a PA, if you've had someone else to do the bits of the job you consider beneath you in the past, you've been very lucky.

freshmint Thu 10-Feb-11 13:08:41

hear hear fakey

Badgerwife Thu 10-Feb-11 13:14:28

I'm a Director's PA in London too and I do occasionally make tea/coffee for my boss but only if she asks, however I would always offer her visitors one. I think it is part of welcoming them. It's not in my job description but it is a given as far as I'm concerned.

If it is a meeting with a larger number of people, I do make all the arrangements for drinks and lunches, and will lay things out for them, however I don't make individual drinks if it's more than 5 people!

I don't really understand why feel humiliation/embarassment. It's hardly a major part of the role. And part of being a PA is being helpful and making things as easy as possible for your boss, if you feel that strongly about it, you are in the wrong job.

GloriaSmut Thu 10-Feb-11 13:17:55

YABU - and rather precious too given that this is hardly an unusual task for a PA to do.

Even when I was in a senior management role and responsible for a large team of people, I took my turn with the tea and coffee brewing. Admittedly, not if I was in the middle of a meeting but on those occasions, someone else in my team would make tea for me and my visitors too. It was all about give and take and nobody being so up their own arse that tea-making was beneath them.

In another life I used to work in a PR firm and we used to make tea, coffee whatever on a rota, regardless of our role there. It didn't bother me. The best was when we rang the bar and had G&T delivered. Ah, the Nineties!

radiohelen Thu 10-Feb-11 13:20:07

YABU - if you don't like it, you ain't cut out to be a PA. You need to be an office manager or something. If your boss has people visiting him then you need to be hospitable. If you were a more junior version of your boss and you were being asked to make tea then that's another issue but mate, you are the PA.

Bumblequeen Thu 10-Feb-11 13:40:49

Buda- that was an unfair comment when you clearly made an effort.
Wellwisher- I decline when colleagues ask me and make my own possibly once a day.
Thereisnospoon- I do not find it humiliating as the other poster said. Just do not like this part of my role.

I probably am being unreasonable as I am not required to do this often and it takes 5 mins.

Maybe it is time to start up my own business.......(dreaming)

galletti Thu 10-Feb-11 13:45:56

Mmm, So if you didn't set up the teas/coffees for external meetings, who would? And who would you expect to? TBH think it is part of the job of a PA.

Re making tea/coffee for your team, I don't have a problem with that at all, if it is being reciprocated - isn't that part of being a 'team'? Don't see wh it shoud take 30 minutes though!

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