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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?

mrsgordonfreeman Thu 10-Feb-11 21:29:27


I have not had to make tea or coffee since I left that particular job.

My current employer considers that secretaries also have more important things to do than make coffee for clients, so they have staff specifically employed to do that.

I would never describe them as servile though, whilst your use of the word is strictly correct it has demeaning overtones which I think you understand perfectly well.

I like to treat everyone as a professional, whether they're paid more or less than me.

In my experience, it's receptionists that tend to make tea etc. as part of their role.

Suncottage Thu 10-Feb-11 21:45:02

I work with 82 men and six women, all the women have been asked to make tea/coffee for meetings even when I have been involved in the meetings.

Strangely the transexual male to female full op colleague is exempt. The guys will never ask her and when I ask why they shrug and look embarassed.

Curious. She refused to make teas or coffees for them but the 'female' staff are different apparently.

No, I won't make tea - they know where the kettle is.


Who is answering the phone when the receptionist makes tea?

mrsgordonfreeman Thu 10-Feb-11 21:57:23

It depends on the company's front of house organisation, doesn't it? Sometimes firms employ 2, others just don't get many calls to the switchboard and others employ an operator.

This is very subjective anyway. I dislike waitressing, others accept it as part of their role, I don't work for an employer that requires me to do it.

It also depends on the company culture: I found it demeaning because it was a symptom of the way I was treated generally and as I said, I was bullied. No doubt it's all different if your company is lovely.

Wouldn't fancy working for Freshmint though. Not servile enough.

Suncottage Thu 10-Feb-11 22:10:43


My role is varied but the knock on effect when I or my female colleagues have been asked to make beverages is huge. One of us leaves our desk, another takes over her desk/phone/takes messages/delegates/gets given short shrift by the chairman because the stand in does not have access to his diary (deep, dark secret). Another further up is taking on the overspill of calls etc etc.

Frequently these guys have meetings in a coffee room next to the bloody kettle which is on the first floor.

If they have lost the recipe for tea and coffee they should not be doing the bloody job they are being paid a six figure salary to do.

I won't do it - I am on the same footing professionally as the guys and they are never asked, why should I be different?

Suncottage Thu 10-Feb-11 22:12:16

Sorry - bit of a rant there blush

Scratch a woman and find a rage grin

magicmummy1 Thu 10-Feb-11 22:40:13

I'm the boss at work. Don't have a pa but a pool of administrators, and I would expect any one of them to make drinks for visitors. I would be pretty pissed off if any of them had an attitude about it tbh. The administrators are both male and female, and it has never occurred to me to treat them any differently.

As for my own drinks, I usually get them myself, but I love it when people offer, especially on the days when I just don't have the time to do it myself. It's a small, thoughtful gesture which is very much appreciated. I don't think it's demeaning - just considerate on the part of the person who offers.

Fwiw, I quite often make drinks for our receptionists if I'm going to the kitchen, as I know that they can't always get away from the front desk to do it themselves. I don't regard myself as being above making a cup of tea at all, but I'm damned if I'm going to leave important guests sat waiting in my office while I start bumbling around in the kitchen!

Op - yanbu to dislike making drinks, but you would bu to let this show, or worse, to get arsey about doing this!

LadyOfTheManor Thu 10-Feb-11 22:41:50

I just presumed all receptionists/secretaries/Pas, call yourselves what you will did things like;

answer the phone
send generic emails
make tea for the people who you work for
file things
tidy your desk
hide the mistress from the wife

Tigerbomb Thu 10-Feb-11 22:56:20

Crikey, what's so hard?

I was a PA to 5 Chief Engineers and regularly made them teas and coffees all day.

We had a drinks machine but tbh it was nasty so I had no problem with making it.

I didn't consider it servile at all. The clue was in my job title - Personal Assistant.

porcamiseria Thu 10-Feb-11 23:03:59


I know what you mean, makes you feel like a med men type 60s PA

but part of role I am afraid! someone has to do it, and its usually the PA/coord/receptionist that it falls on

huddspur Thu 10-Feb-11 23:05:33

If they are in discussions with clients, they can hardly say excuse me whilst I go and make the tea. Just have a chat with the secretary.

twirlymum Thu 10-Feb-11 23:14:15

The company I work for has a tea round. Twice a day. With chocolate biscuits on Fridays.
There are over three hundred people in the building, and every single one of them (if they want it) has two hot drinks made for them. In Wedgewood cups!

expatinscotland Thu 10-Feb-11 23:16:38

I liked it because it's an excuse to skive away from my desk.

But mostly I worked for big firms or corporations that had contracts with catering companies so for meetings you just had to let the room booker know what you'd need.

Damn, no way to run away and hide for a bit.

That's why I had no probs getting tea/coffee for colleagues .

expatinscotland Thu 10-Feb-11 23:25:45

It's a glass half empty/full thing. You see it as humiliating, I see it as an excuse to get off my desk, string it out, have a natter, sneak a book into a file folder and read it in between 'setting up', etc.

Monty27 Thu 10-Feb-11 23:28:10

I'm lucky I work in senior admin and we have catering facilities albeit I'm responsible for ordering refreshments. I'm also lucky that my senior managers would never dream of asking me to make them tea. If they wanted tea they'd probably ask me if I wanted one and vice versa.
What's the matter with some people. angry

peasandlove Thu 10-Feb-11 23:34:13

I went for an interview for a PA role. It was a government role, and the Minister was very old school. He told me during the interview he liked his 'secretaries' to wear skirts, no trousers, and he liked them to make his tea in a teapot, bring it in, leave the room while the tea brewed, then come in and pour it for him. He also insisted on being called Mr Soandso and his colleagues should also be called Mr or Mrs whatever.

thank god I didnt get that role grin

Monty27 Thu 10-Feb-11 23:36:38

Peasandlove - grin

spill the beans

Dozer Fri 11-Feb-11 00:09:41


Livinginoz Fri 11-Feb-11 01:02:13

YABU. Its part of your job.

Just be thankful that you don't have all the additional "duties" I have - taking flowers to the boss's apartment, food shopping for his new year's eve party and picking up his mum's dry cleaning.

I do it happily because I am his Personal Assistant and if I wanted to be a senior manager, maybe I should have worked harder at university! grin

scottishmummy Fri 11-Feb-11 01:14:53

as pa you facilitate meetings inc refreshments.

the participants certainly you do it
chop chop

jimper Fri 11-Feb-11 06:20:00

Yeah, I really hated it - and once nearly spilt it all over a very rude cabinet member. Thankfully I had a great boss - although he expected the best when he had meetings he would always offer to make tea/coffee for me at other times - made it much more bearable!

kissncuddle Fri 11-Feb-11 06:40:46

Where I worked only one of the Directors had his PA make coffee/tea.

Our work had one of those fancy big coffee machines so staff loved trying to out do themselves with espressos.
And often staff would take their guests and have a natter about stuff while coffee was made.

There was actually a really senior guy that always used to turn up late and meet with my boss, I always made him an espresso as he liked the strong potent ones I made. He was a lovely old soul and I loved having a 2 minute chat with him.

I was never asked to make a tea/coffee but we had some caterers and I was a manager.

I never offered to make tea or coffee generally but did often buy my team coffees. I was also often offered drinks but did not take people up on the offer.

onceamai Fri 11-Feb-11 06:53:01

OP - don't be silly. In my first (and last PA job in the City - I got promoted) I did the following:

Made tea
Bought lunch
Sewed on buttons
Arranged flowers
Paid domestic bills
Made sure nothing was too much trouble for 2 years.

In return I got:

To run the syndicate desk (first step to becoming a bond dealer)
Glasses of champagne
To write little columns for a publicaton
To meet the movers and the shakers in the sector
The odd afternoon off when I needed it

Don't you think you need to get over yourself a bit.

kissncuddle Fri 11-Feb-11 06:55:05

But the OP is still making tea and coffee but she is just saying here that she does not like it.

You got promoted because you made tea and made sure nothing was too much trouble.

Do you still make tea as a bond dealer for everyone?

onceamai Fri 11-Feb-11 07:53:48

Gave up being a bond dealer when we had the DC but it was a man's world and I dealt with a lot of ribaldry with very good humour. And yes, I did do the tea and coffee run for my desk just like everyone else. Changed career and am HR manager now and everytime I go to the canteen always ask if anyone else wants anything and am perfectly happy to make a cup of tea for any member of staff who needs to chat about something that's troubling them.

kissncuddle Fri 11-Feb-11 08:31:55

Cool, just wondered. grin Sounds like a fascinating role but being HR Manager must be interesting too. You sound like you have had really excellent career progression. Moving from a PA to those other positions is a real achievement.

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