It occurred to me that even the most basic information isn't common knowledge sometimes. I only realized this when I had the below conversations with my friends who had great jobs, but were not executive assistants or outside of the corporate realm. I hope these tips help you!
1. Have a great credit score.
Believe it or not, major corporations will run a background and credit history check on you. Why? Because if you’re working for any C-Level Executive or executive, you’re dealing with money, whether the executive’s or the company’s. The worse your credit score and history, the more likely one is believed to be at risk for white collar crimes or embezzlement. Major corporations want to eliminate as much risk as possible, including getting sued for any wrongful lawsuits. So if you have a good credit score it’s more peace of mind for your executive and company. It gives the impression that you are extra trustworthy. There are numerous examples of people stealing from companies or doing illegal things. Google Disney insider trading scheme assistant or just look at Enron.
2. Have enough credit.
One of the most surprising things for me was to learn that not all companies will give you an expense account or a company credit card. The company will ask that you charge everything from business travel to catered lunches on your credit card and they will reimburse you. This adds up to thousands of dollars and it usually takes at least two weeks to get your money back. That’s assuming you have enough free time to do an expense report immediately for 2 hours on top of your already busy schedule.
3. Have a huge savings account.
Besides having a checking, retirement account, and a rainy day fund, you should also have a huge savings account of 6 months to a year or more of living funds. This is in case you lose your job or want to look for another one. Most people fall into the trap of taking the first job offered to them because they are running out of money. That’s the worst way to make a decision and to plan for a life - out of desperation. You deserve more than that!
4. Have cash in your wallet.
Every now and then your boss or co-workers will ask to borrow money or to break a big bill. Since you are the executive assistant they expect you to have the answer for everything in a pinch. There is nothing more embarrassing than to admit you have no cash in your wallet. The most anyone has ever borrowed from me was $40 and the executives always insist you remind them they pay you back and do give the money back. It’s a little odd to borrow money from someone you supervise, but it has only happened once or twice with any boss I have ever worked for.
5. Have cash in your bank account.
You’d think that if you had a credit card, you’d be safe, but I once had to get a cashier’s check for almost $400 for a work event. It was for catered food at a place that did not take payments over the phone with a credit card. I had to either drive 20 miles each way which would have taken over three hours, 1 hour each way and standing in line to pay (this place serves over 5000 customers a day not counting pre-ordered food.) Or I could mail in the money. Or you may find you need a money order or traveler’s checks. Since you never know when a work emergency will come up and you need funds, you should always have a positive cash flow and not live paycheck to paycheck.
6. Have money for group gifts.
It’s inevitable that someone will have a baby or it’s someone’s birthday every now and then at work. Although you don’t have to contribute or offer the same amount as everyone else, you should have it in your budget. Alternately, you could say you only had X amount of dollars in your wallet and give that, offer to write a check, or give your own gift by baking cookies or something.
7. Have money for job hunting and working.
Sometimes you have to spend money to make money. Whenever you interview for a job, there’s at least 2-3 interviews if not more. You have to wear a different outfit each time. Sometimes companies don’t validate for parking especially if you are doing testing at a temp agency and are there for a few hours. You will spend a lot on gas just driving around town or on business travel. You’ll need to make copies of your resume or have a nice folder. Thank you cards, buying people coffee when you network or need advice, thank you gifts, and postage all add up.
Now you know why it's always important to pay yourself first! :) Happy job hunting and working!