Welcome to the Dark Side

Sometimes as an assistant, you get asked to do some odd things. I know that I have. Since I started on my journey from a freelancer, to a personal assistant, to a virtual assistant, to an administrative consultant, I’ve come across a lot of people. Some of them have been life changers (you know who you are) and others .. well .. not so much.

When a client signs with you, there is an implicit amount of trust expected, given and returned. Depending on the client, you could hold logins & passwords, credit card information, PayPal account info, passport & driver’s license information, plus a myriad of other sensitive information. I have been called “the other woman” in a marriage for good reason – I usually know more about said client, than said client’s spouse.

When do you know it’s gotten too ……… weird, too personal, too awkward? Here’s a short compilation of oddities I’ve run across.

Here is a short list of some odd things I have been asked to do:

  • Find a gift for his mistress’ birthday and holidays
  • Find “some way” to send Cuban cigars to a friend in Germany
  • Coordinate bail to get a client out of jail (DUI’s are common in Vegas, it seems)
  • Drive out of the country to a client’s Mom’s house to get birth records (for a stolen passport)
  • Find a thank you gift commensurate for “that special favor”
  • Write/submit obituary and coordinate wake & funeral for a client’s parent
  • Find sponsors for client’s walk-a-thon’s, charity events

Not odd, per se, but not “normal”

  • Signing their name to anything – holiday cards, thank you notes, etc. It’s totally ok when I sign on both of our accounts “Happy holidays from Joe Smith & Denise Dukette at Joe Smith Entrepreneur Associates, LLC .. it’s when I sign just Joe’s name that it’s weird. No .. I never sign on legal stuff or money stuff on behalf of a client, although I have witnessed or notarized documentation.
  • Finding western culture dining/accommodations in say Nepal
  • Attend a function on behalf of the client or even better, with the client
  • Track a Fantasy Football league while the client was unplugged (actually, there was a whole instruction manual to go along with that) for 3 weeks
  • Opinion on “What looks better – suit A or suit B?” Yay for webcams! Boo for bad fashion choices!!

I am still with a couple of the clients listed above, and others I have parted ways with. Whether the task listed above was the breaking point, or some other reason, the fact remains that some client-VA relationships aren’t meant to be. You need to know when it’s time to walk away.

“It is choice, not chance, that determines your destiny.” — Jean Nidetch

Ultimately, your ethics, reputation and brand are yours, and yours alone. Your choices have a direct effect – so make smart choices. Now that you’ve taken a walk on the dark side, remember that one odd task will inevitably lead to another and only you control the destiny of your business.

About Out of the Office Virtual Assistance:

logo1bAt Out of the Office, we offer ideas and ways to increase your productivity, decrease your workload, and work more efficiently. We nurture a successful business relationship, while continuing to grow as your business partner. We are focused on streamlining your administration, social media planning and execution, and offering creative solutions for your business success.

Image credit: AgencjaAIAC | CCO Public Domain