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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?

2babyblues Thu 10-Feb-11 13:46:33

Well who would get vistiors tea and coffee if you didn't? Surely, you're not expecting your boss to? Or do you think there is an underling more suitable?

tigitigi Thu 10-Feb-11 13:46:54

Its your job. When I worked in a big firm rather than for myself I would always offer to make my PA and others in the team a coffee if I was having one, they would do it for me. If I was in a meeting my PA would sort out for guests and me. If she was unavailable my junior would do it not because of any implication of meniality but so I could concentrate.

mrsgordonfreeman Thu 10-Feb-11 13:51:33

I think if it's upfront that waitressing is part of the job, fine. If other employees of the same level do it, fine.

It's a bit demeaning when you meet a supplier for the first time, you've spoken on the phone etc., and then have to curtsey and make the teas. It affects your relationship with them.

Maybe I'm just resentful because it wasa toxic workplace and I left due to bullying.

dickcheeseandthecrackers Thu 10-Feb-11 13:55:22

Just get on with it. I had to have my ex boss' breakfast on a silver tray (berries, cereal, specially brewed coffee, wholemeal toast and water) all in wedgewood china etc in his office at 7.30am every day. Plus all the coffees etc.
Just part of your duties, for which they pay you.

Quenelle Thu 10-Feb-11 13:58:40

When I was a PA I didn't mind making drinks for visitors but I hated making them for staff, even if they were in the same meeting.

They would all just stare at me while I struggled through the door with a tray. It never occurred to them to move that pile of papers out of the way so I could put the plate of biscuits down. They all just sat there like their arms and legs didn't work.

Have always avoided getting into a tea making 'round' with colleagues too. It's much quicker to nip to the kitchen and make one cup when I want one.

GetOrfMoiLand Thu 10-Feb-11 13:58:46

I don't see it is a demeaning thing to do.

I manage a team of 6 - I take turns in making teas along with the rest of them.

If I have a meeting with my boss and he says 'do me a favour and make me a cuppa if you are having one' then I will. He reciprocates.

When suppliers come in and meet with me I make them a drink - I do not understand how this would affect your relationship with them at all. It would have a bigger impact if you didn't make them a drink after they have made the effort to come to a meeting, tbh.

It's a cup of fucking tea.

MrsFruitcake Thu 10-Feb-11 13:58:56

It is part of your job isn't it?

In every role I've ever had as a PA, it's been in my job description to set up teas and lunches and clear away etc. Sometimes this conflicts with other more important work, but that's the way it is. It's not demeaning IMO, and I wouldn't say it was really waitressing either.

Maybe I'm just too old school though. One ex-boss really did rely on me for everything, even to send his wife flowers on her birthday and choosing presents for her on the birth of their first child. The complete cliche but true.

MrsFruitcake Thu 10-Feb-11 14:01:04

I forgot to say, I also had a coffee percolator on the go in my office at all times so he could help himself and I was always prepared if he sprung a meeting one me, which he often did!

Takver Thu 10-Feb-11 14:02:24

You could always take my mother's (unintended) approach in one job where she was expected to do this.

She doesn't drink coffee, and has her tea very strong. She swears she always did her best to provide drinkable coffee/tea - but her boss got someone else to do it after she had been in the job about 2 weeks and made her swear never to give coffee to a visitor ever again grin

traceybath Thu 10-Feb-11 14:05:13

Its way more annoying when you are running the meeting but have to go out to do all the drinks because the PA's won't do it [bitter experience]

But seriously - I never minded doing drinks when I temped as a PA - its not exactly a big part of the day is it?

wellwisher Thu 10-Feb-11 14:06:56

My dad makes a point of refusing tea/coffee when visiting other offices for meetings - he says it makes him happy to see the relief on the secretary's face grin

As someone else said, YABU not to like doing this, but YWBU to refuse. And I think you should offer to make tea for your boss even if you don't do it for anyone else

traceybath Thu 10-Feb-11 14:07:00

MrsFruitcake - that sounds like an Architects I temped in after university for a while. I used to have to make my boss's phone calls and then put the caller through rather as though it was 1950 - was hilarious.

Also would be given his cashcard and pin number to go and get him money etc.

However I was only a temp.

NinkyNonker Thu 10-Feb-11 14:08:17

Hell, I used to be global marketing director for a large firm and the only female on the global board...being only 26 and female coffees often fell to me. Now that certainly wasn't my remit! I would always pitch in for the team though, so Yabu I think. In a pa type role I think I would always offer my boss one.

I did get asked to take the minutes at a board meeting I was presenting at once, not sure how they thought that'd work! I just laughed and made out like I thought their presumption was a joke, let them save face and avoided a confrontation.

muggglewump Thu 10-Feb-11 14:08:45

I'm a cleaner, it's a step up for me to make the teagrin

NinkyNonker Thu 10-Feb-11 14:14:38

I would always make coffee for my guest if there was just one of them, but find someone else to do if for me if there was more than one. Otherwise I was wasting my time and theirs. I'd have been a little hmm if my assistant/pa/secretary had refused or seemed grudging to be honest.

fedupofnamechanging Thu 10-Feb-11 14:18:39

I think that if you are the PA, then it's fair enough to expect you to make coffee.

However, if you are not a PA, but you are expected to do it, because you are the only woman in the meeting and no one else ever makes any, then YANBU to get pissed off and refuse to do it.

BettyCash Thu 10-Feb-11 14:21:05

YABU, no-one's too good to make the tea

kittybuttoon Thu 10-Feb-11 14:33:16

You don't have to like doing it, but you still have to do it.

In almost every workplace, people are spending some of their time doing something they HATE. There's an art to not letting it show, that's all.

Personally, I've made drinks for loads of colleagues (junior and senior to me) and it's never occurred to me that they're using the fact to judge my status.

I just assume they're thinking 'How friendly and helpful Kitty is'

nomoreheels Thu 10-Feb-11 14:58:10

YANBU but unfortunately I think it's ingrained as part of the PA role. I used to bloody hate feeling like the trolley dollybird having to set out posh lunch and coffee all the time for Big Powerful Men who looked down on me and didn't even know my name.

It was an insult to my intelligence. And a part of why I am no longer a PA.

GMajor7 Thu 10-Feb-11 15:07:28

There are far worse things to do on the job than make tea IME.

GMajor7 Thu 10-Feb-11 15:07:59

You can make a great cuppa and still be intellient btw.

nomoreheels Thu 10-Feb-11 15:14:40

And by the way I was hmm at this:

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."

What a shitty thing to say! And you thought that was ok? This sort of attitude is why I will never, ever work in a corporate office EVER again.

cocoachannel Thu 10-Feb-11 15:14:51

YABU. Everyone takes their turn in making the tea in my office, but if I have guests in my PA will offer to get the drinks so I don't have to leave external people sitting there on their own whilst I go and make coffee, which would be quite rude and a waste of their time! It's not on her job description explicitly and I have never asked her to do so, it's just common sense to her and part of the intuition which makes her an invaluable member of the team.

cocoachannel Thu 10-Feb-11 15:20:15

ps. if anyone's wondering about my comment re. wasting people's time and the fact I'm on MN mid-pm, I'm on maternity leave smile!

Tee2072 Thu 10-Feb-11 15:22:00

Back when I was still a PA, the CEO I supported would tease me all of the time because I could never deliver drinks without spilling. I would always reply 'I learned how to type so I wouldn't have to be a waitress.'

Now I'm the CEO. And I make my own coffee.

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