- Truth vs. Lies: In the movie “Glen Gary Glen Ross” there is the line: “tell the truth – it’s the easiest thing to remember.” When working with a high level boss, lying about a problem might get you into bigger trouble then you might already be. Take your licks and stay truthful and you’ll never have to worry about which lies you need to cover.
Pick Your Battles: There will come a time when you have been legitimately wronged. That could be the boss taking credit for your work or some other atrocity. Depending on the nature and most importantly, the severity of the situation, determine whether or not it’s something deserving of your full attention. If it’s not something you feel you can live with then start by confronting your boss. If you can’t work it out with him/her then move up the ladder until the issue is resolved. Understand however, that the higher and more public you make the issue, the more likely it might negatively affect you as well.
Remember That You’re the Gatekeeper: One thing to always remember with this position is that you are your boss’s gatekeeper. No one can speak with your boss until you put the call through. Most Hollywood executives know this and will be nice to you to make sure their calls get returned. Don’t take this position lightly. Be diligent to protect your boss against callers whom they don’t want to speak with. Watch and listen to those callers that your boss deems a priority and those people he prefers to avoid.
- Learn All You Can: Remember why you’re there. It’s not because you really enjoy getting the boss’s coffee or walking his dog, you’re there to learn. So learn everything you can about what your boss does. What do the other people in the department do? What will your boss be willing to teach you? Learn the names of everyone your boss is calling and who’s calling him. Find out what their titles are and what they do. They might just come in handy for your own efforts someday.
Being an assistant in Hollywood is no easy task. There are bosses who scream at, throw things, berate or just love to outright humiliate underlings. But in the end, the road can lead to fun, lucrative positions in a wide variety of avenues. Learn all you can and you might just find yourself in a position with your own assistant one day!