Today’s topic will be all about personal assistants. And some people may get offended but quite frankly I don’t give a flying fuck. As always.
This is a good read for any persons with disabilities looking to hire PAs or for personal assistants to get a good idea of what it’s like on the inside.
For those of you who are unaware, a personal assistant is someone that a person with a disability can hire themselves to help them do daily tasks. There is a program through the government that pays these personal assistants. Now, as a person with a disability, my job is to find these PAs. It is also my job to manage these PAs. Meaning I am the employer and the PA is the employee. Now here’s a list of annoying shit I’ve personally had to deal with and that I’ve noticed in general.
In most cases, people with disabilities find enough trust in their friends to take on this responsibility. This could go either really well or terribly wrong. I’ve had both happen. In one case, one of my PAs is also my best friend and I’ve never had any major issues with her. On the other hand I’ve also had to deal with a psychotic bitch who does not understand the concept of confidentiality or selflessness. This PA, literally, just so happen to mix both her job and our friendship together so ignorantly that I was forced to fire her and end our friendship. Neither of which I regret. Also, along with this it is important for PAs to realize that no matter how close you are with the person you are helping does not mean they want any half-assed task you ask from them. My point here is, make sure your friend you are wanting to hire knows when each time they are with you it is either to hang out or time to get serious and help with everyday tasks. Also, make sure they know the extent of the job requirement. If you need that PA to help you shave the vag, I suggest you let them know or just let it grow. Your pick.
This is important! If I shit my pants tomorrow the last thing a PA should do is go blabbing about it. Like geez, you would think this is common sense to most people. There isn’t much to say after that. Pretty self explanatory. Zip it or feel my wrath.
3. Being able to address issues. Assuming we are all adults here, I would THINK if a personal assistant had an issue with the way I was treating them or talking to them or whatever, they would tell me. And I will do the same. Just because I don’t wear a suit and sit behind a desk everyday, does not mean it’s a blow off job like McDonald’s or Taco Bell. And I absolutely hate when I have to turn into full professional employer mode–but sometimes when PAs are not doing what is expected… I have no choice.
4. Working around schedules.
This is hard to do. Now, here’s the scoop. College is when it is easiest to deal with PAs and schedules mostly because college students are broke so not only do they want the money, but they’re convenient in the sense that for most college campuses everything is walking distance. Outside of college is a little tougher. This person could live next door or ten miles away. In either case, calling them last minute will never be advised or smart to do. Making a schedule for every single time in the day you’re going to have to pee is NOT easy. Believe it or not. It’s hard to say that everyday I’m going to have to use the bathroom at 5pm. It’s also hard to try and figure out when your PA is not in class or work AND figure out what specific tasks you’re going to need done at which times. You want to shower but your PA has class until 2? Sometimes, that’s just the way it is and it’s a bitch.
Following up on that…
5. Dependency. It absolutely SUCKS to have to schedule your life in sync with someone else’s. Not gonna lie, I’ve got it pretty easy because my main PAs rock and are there for me when I need it, schedule or not. But in general, having to live in the reality that you have to wait until Sunday to do laundry (because that’s when you scheduled your PAs to do it) because you can’t open the washer door yourself…. When you’re on your lastttt pair of undies…. And even though you’re home all alone for hours and can physically see the washer and dryer calling your name but can’t do shit about it. That blows. On top of that, this isn’t necessarily a job someone can call in the same day and say they are sick. Having backup PAs are ESSENTIAL but if one of my PAs called me at 10am when I was suppose to get out of bed at 11am to tell me they can’t make it to work…. Well I’ll let you know how long I’ll be stuck in bed for by the time I figure out who else can come and when… Just sayin’.
6. Don’t half ass what you wouldn’t half ass yourself. This is one of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to PAs. Only in the sense that… If you and every other abled body person in the world cooks their pizza in the oven, what would possibly make a PA believe I would want mine cooked in a microwave. I’m just trying to give a little perspective here. Having someone complete tasks for you, when in your head you would do it a completely different way is interesting to me. There are some things everyone has their own special or specific way of doing, in which case I would give my PA special instructions on how to do it… But just trying to get the task done as quickly as possible is almost never the answer.
7. Rewarding competent PAs. This is something new I’ve been introduced to and tried myself. There are sometimes when my life is completely a mess and I’m down to relying on one PA for five days and have to create a completely new temporary schedule. No matter how hard you try, there will always be the little cracks in the sidewalk that just make each day go by bumpier and bumpier. (<—–Wheelchair metaphor!) By the end of the five days, if I feel as though I’ve completely over worked or overwhelmed a PA, I do the best I can to make sure they know I appreciate it whether it’s verbally or by adding small bonuses to their next check. I think it’s a good tactic.
All in all, me and my best friend came up with the perfect way to figuring out which PAs will be the best PAs. There’s a simple rule of three we came up with.
1. The PA has to actually want/need the money they are making.
2. The PA has to give a fuck if you make it to bed or not each night.
3. The PA has to realize that it is a real job and a real responsibility.
Just because we can talk about all the guys on campus or in movies that we think are hot and are sharing secrets as if we are best friends, does not mean it’s okay for me to continuously let things slide.
Basically what I’m saying is that… In life you’ll have jobs where you have your strict bosses and your chill bosses. Personally, I’m not a strict boss but that doesn’t mean I’ll be cool with skipping a shower so you can go hang out with your friends at Beer Olympics. Unless I get invited, in which case this changes everything…