We all know what it’s like to have a boss. Some are better than others. And while most of us have experienced our fair share of horror stories, nothing beats Lydia Whitlock’s experience as an assistant in Hollywood. She’s seen and experienced it all: from being on call 24/7 (including holidays), to driving across town in rush hour for that special sushi roll, to managing her boss’s online dating profile.
Now we can laugh, sympathize, and cringe along with Whitlock as she chronicles her experiences in her new book, To My Assistant. Based on her popular blog, the advice in the book comes from her real-life experience as an overworked, underpaid, under-appreciated Hollywood assistant. Rather than presenting a bleak, depressing view of life as an assistant, she gives assistants a dose of humor and practical advice to navigate the roadblocks assistants face from day to day. This survival guide will strike a chord with anyone who’s ever been at the bottom of the corporate totem pole.
Fun, compulsively readable and laugh-out-loud funny, the book combines Whitlock’s imaginary promises to her own future assistant, a glossary of terms and helpful charts to navigate the murky waters of the boss/assistant relationship. Broken down by category, Whitlock’s vows include:
Technology (social networking): I will not call you into my office in a serious tone of voice, tell you to close the door, and then ask, in a whisper, “How do I untag myself from this Facebook picture?”
Sabotage (of a chair): I will not make you start an office-wide witch hunt because I am absolutely certain that someone maliciously lowered my chair by half an inch while I was at lunch.
Surprises (unpleasant, but not your fault): I will not scream at you when you send out my holiday cards, which feature a picture of my entire family smiling disingenuously at the camera, in exactly the punctual manner I told you to, which turns out to be exactly 24 hours before my spouse ambushes me with divorce papers.
Whitlock’s stories provide a sense of shared commiseration—she’s here to let us know that we’ve all been there, and eventually, it does get better.
Read an excerpt of To My Assistant below. For more tales from the trenches, follow Whitlock on Twitter at @tomyassistant and like her on Facebook here. (Giveaway alert! Enter to win a copy of the book, a Starbucks gift card and post-it notes by sending your worst assistant story to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, 4/26. Get more details here.)