Today’s Day in the Life: Jeremy Burrows, EA at Ai Software and Founder of GoBurrows LLC.
What are the main aspects of your role?
I manage the CEO’s calendar and email, book his travel, help with sales notes and drafting proposals, and anything else he needs.
In the first year of the company (2017), I wore many hats. Because we were a brand new startup with only 5 employees, I ended up overseeing human resources/onboarding, accounting/payroll, office management, and general operations. It was a lot, and I still do a lot of office management and operations tasks, but it keeps things interesting!
What is your morning routine before you get into the office?
Our 4 year old usually jumps in our bed around 6:30 am, which is an OK wake up call, assuming he just got done sleeping all the way through the night. 🙂
Next, I check my phone to make sure nothing urgent is needed from my boss. Then I brush my teeth, eat some cereal with my 2 boys, and head to work. On the way to work, I listen to audiobooks or podcasts – generally about business, leadership, or Christian living.
What time do you get into the office and what time do you leave?
It’s flexible, but I typically arrive between 8:30am-8:45 am. I leave around 5:00 pm on good days, but sometimes as late as 5:45 pm or 6 pm.
What does an average day look like?
Honestly, it depends on the day. Most days consist of things like scheduling a bunch of meetings, grabbing lunch for the team, and responding to emails. Other days, I attend sales meetings with my boss all day and take notes, or do research on various items as requested.
What do you do for lunch?
I bring lunch from home most days. It’s much more economical to do this, and usually more healthy too.
What is the hardest part of your day?
Generally, around 2:30 pm I get very hungry and can’t function at a high level if I don’t eat. 🙂
In all seriousness, the difficult part of my days are times when I have a lot of emails to catch up on but I keep getting pinged left and right and/or am having to deal with an urgent matter. This keeps me away from being able to focus and knock out my to-do list/clean out my inbox. Often times, I have to work late or come in early before things get crazy to catch up.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I like that it’s not predictable, which keeps me on my toes. I show up to work with a plan and a list of things to do, but something might come up and everything I planned goes out the window. This can be frustrating at times, but overall I like it because it means my job never gets boring. I like the challenge of having to problem-solve at the last minute.
What has been your career highlight?
My prior boss was Chaplain to the St. Louis Cardinals, and I got to join him when the Kansas City Royals were in town. I’m a huge Royals fan, and I was thrilled to be able to walk into the locker room and meet some of my favourite players. Definitely a nice perk to that job.
Recently, my company was able to compete in an event that was super fun to be a part of. There was a startup competition hosted by Ashton Kutcher’s venture capital firm, Sound Ventures, and it took place at SXSW in Austin, TX. Sound Ventures picked 5 company founders (out of hundreds of applicants) to pitch their business idea for a chance to win a $100,000 investment. Our CEO made the finals and was given the opportunity to pitch to Matthew McCaughney, Gary Vaynerchuk, Ashton Kutcher, Melody McCloskey (CEO of StyleSeat), and Marc Benioff (CEO of Salesforce). Unfortunately, we did not win, but it was great exposure for our product (jane.ai) and such a unique opportunity. And it all happened because I took time to fill out an online application several weeks ago. I was proud to have played a small part in it.
What do you do in the evening with your spare time?
Work on my side-business, my blog and coaching at goburrows.com – where I help executives and assistants gain more time, energy, and success. Check it out and let me know what you think!
What is the one piece of advice you would give to other assistants?
Don’t ever let someone tell you that you’re “just an assistant.” You are a leader. Act like one! I wrote more in-depth about this here.
What would you do if you were not an assistant?
I would probably be a project manager or similar for a company in the mountains. Although in long-term, my hope is to go full-time with my goburrows.com business as a coach for executives and assistants.
What is the one piece of technology, app or website you could not do your job without?
The Right Inbox plugin for Chrome allows me to set emails “to be reminded” so I don’t forget to follow up with people. I use it multiple times a day and I could not do with it.
Can you recommend any events, books, publications, websites, training programmes for other assistants?
I recommend reading what your boss reads. What better way to anticipate their needs and get to know how they’re thinking than to absorb what they’re absorbing? To start, I’d recommend The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz. It’s a good view into the mind of a CEO. I also love the How I Built This podcast by NPR. Another great snapshot into the minds of company founders and leaders.