Enjoy today’s Day in the life: Amy Franklyn, EA at Bird & Bird which is full of Executive Assistant Tips and Tricks.
What are the main aspects of your role?
I manage a team of PAs and Administrative Assistants and I support the firm’s Head of Corporate and General Counsel. I help the business with various projects and work closely with our internal CRM team to help maintain healthy client relationships and make sure we are giving our clients the best possible service which sets us apart from our competitors. This includes building relationships with clients and their PAs/EAs and spotting business opportunities for the firm. I believe that is as much down to EAs as it is lawyers and partners. After all, we are partners of partners. I also network with like-minded high-level EAs and managers at least twice a week after work.
What is your morning routine before you get into the office?
I would love to say; I’m an early riser who has done a five miler by 8 am but in all honesty, I feel that sleep is important and helps you to function better during a busy day in the office. At least, that’s true for me. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy running but would rather do this of an evening as it helps me to unwind after a busy day. I do occasionally go for a morning run, but it is far from ‘my routine’.
Usually, I catch the 7.35 train from Guildford to London Waterloo. My train journey takes approx 30 mins, and nine times out of 10 I don’t get a seat. I use my train journey as an opportunity to look at the news/catch up on work e-mails and browse LinkedIn for any interesting articles. Always with a coffee from the station!
By 8.15am, I am walking over Waterloo bridge and am on the way into the office – usually on the phone to my mum. We catch up every morning.
Time for a smoothie! Pineapple Pleasure or Berry Blast? One of the most important decisions of the day! I am not sure what I would do without a ‘Crussh’ directly opposite my office.
What time do you get into the office and what time do you leave?
I arrive anytime between 8:40 and 9:15 am (train delay and Crussh queue permitting)
I usually leave at around 6 pm depending on my workload and what is going on in the office. Sometimes I do stay back to study to save me doing this when I get home. My boyfriend is a lawyer in the city, so if we are both working late, we sometimes meet up to get the train home together which is really quite nice.
What does an average day look like?
For me, there isn’t an average day. My role is varied, so that means ‘anything’. Sometimes, my day is full of meetings, other days, I don’t have any. It really does depend on what is going on. I try to break down my week, so it is structured. I like that – I know where I am! For example, on a Monday or Tuesday, I will focus on the management side of my role which entails things such as performance reviews, project work, meetings with my bosses or building the internal network I have set up.
What do you do for lunch?
I usually work through so I can leave at a reasonable time but on the days when I am not busy, I meet my partner/friends for lunch. August has been a particularly quiet time as it is peak holiday season, so I have had a bit more time to myself which has been great.
What is the hardest part of your day?
Honestly?! The hardest part of my day is switching off from work when I leave and put my phone down in the evening. It is a skill that I haven’t quite mastered yet, but I think I have got better at it over the years.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I enjoy spotting talent amongst my team and the wider firm and working with them to help achieve their goals. I love positive people. I am quite a positive person myself so would say these are the easiest people to work with.
What has been your career highlight?
Being lucky enough to go to New York for a week with one of my former bosses. She took me with her for a week to introduce me to some of her clients so I could build good relationships with them. It was a great opportunity, to say the least, and set me off on the right foot for my career going forward.
What do you do in the evening with your spare time?
I am doing further studies and exams at the moment, so most of my evenings are taken up writing assignments. Aside from studying, I love to eat good food and hang out with my partner, my family and my great group of friends.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to other assistants?
To remain positive and have a can-do attitude, don’t worry about what anybody else thinks apart from your boss/manager. Worrying is wasted energy that affects performance. I was once told, ‘If it is not going to matter in five years, don’t spend more than five minutes worrying about it.’
What would you do if you were not an assistant?
That’s a good question and one I have been asked in every interview I have done. Does food or wine taster count? Probably not!
I guess it would have to be a PE teacher, which is what I wanted to do when I was younger. I am sporty and play in quite a few sports teams, including netball and softball. I, also, from a young age was a ballroom and latin dancer and still have a keen interest in it. I am energetic and active, so I think that best suits my personality.
What is the one piece of technology, app or website you could not do your job without?
Google. That’s, surely everybody’s answer, right? It is everything you could wish for a more!
Can you recommend any events, books, publications, websites, training programmes for other assistants?
How to be a productivity ninja by Graham Alcot
Debbie Ackland’s Platinum Training – she is amazing
The Ask Abbie Show – Run by the PA club – Contact Charmian Hislop for further information
The Chimp Paradox by Prof Steve Peters