Your Own Personal Bible
June 2, 2018 4:23 AM   Subscribe

The personal assistants in this Buzzfeed Ladylike video mention having a "client bible" they use as a reference for their clients so they don't have to bug them all the time for info such as insurance details or logins. What sort of things go into such a bible?
posted by divabat to Grab Bag (5 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I didn't really keep a bible as such so much as I just had to do so many things for an old boss that I learned these things by heart (I have good number memory) and still know most of them even though I haven't worked for him for four years. (I wasn't his assistant, I was the office manager. Why yes, it was a terrible place to work, thank you for asking!)

By the time I left, I knew this guy's:

-credit card #s, security codes, and expiration dates
-his bank account numbers and ABAs as well as online login details for all his bank accounts
-personal and work email passwords, facebook password, phone PIN
-SSN (this was easy, he used it as his password lots)
-birthdate, obviously, but also birthdays of his mom and girlfriend (and their addresses)
-speaking of his girlfriend, I knew bank account info for her, too
-had an extra set of keys to his condo and contact info for his building manager, housekeeper, home insurance agent, and mortgage brokers
-obviously his frequent flyer deets and travel preferences for absolutely everything
-favorite varieties of all foods, beverages, snacks, way he liked certain things to be prepared, preference for spoon size with his particular preferred yogurt
-knowing food preferences is actually really important; you deal with an avocado-based tantrum one time, you don't soon want to repeat it
-favorite restaurants and seating prefs in said restaurants, and knowing that on a bad Wednesday he's going to want to eat at the bougie sushi place before he even knows himself so you make prophylactic reservations
-contact info for friends he hung out with so I could text them to invite them to dinner with him
-preferences on toiletry items and keeping extras stashed away in the office
-I'm certain there were more, there was also a lot of work stuff of his that I knew but this was largely personal things if I think of more general stuff I'll add. In the end I think the only thing I didn't know about this guy was the name of the person who sold him weed. I guess everyone needs a little something they keep just for themselves.

This particular guy also had a bad habit of losing things, like really important things, so I kept copies of his passport and license, and even kept the original of his US naturalization certificate locked in a safe in the office since I knew if he took it home with him it would be be immediately lost forever. But I don't think that's probably a normal part of PA jobs.
posted by phunniemee at 4:58 AM on June 2, 2018 [12 favorites]

I've had a few jobs where I had to do PA/EA duties for a boss. Luckily, none of my duties ever strayed too far into the personal realm. This is the sort of stuff I would usually keep on hand:

- all their logins and passwords for work-related accounts (email, any HR systems like paycheck stubs or travel reimbursement, corporate credit card login, etc)
- their birthdate
- all the details of their corporate credit card(s) and maybe a personal CC if they ever asked me to book non-work travel or lunches
- home, work and cell phone numbers
- passport details for booking international travel
- a scan of the front and back of their drivers license - this actually was far more useful than I ever would have thought, because it's a common "proof" that a company might require when you're trying to pay for something remotely
- travel preferences (aisle or window seat, how early they're willing to wake up to go on a business trip...) and dietary restrictions
- their home address and any instructions like which bell to ring, to give to a taxi driver taking them to the airport
- one boss, I knew her mom's maiden name and birthday because she used it for a lot of security questions and had a habit of forgetting passwords
- frequent flyer accounts

I think that's a pretty typical amount of stuff for a work assistant to keep, but I never had any jobs that required a lot of involvement with my boss's personal lives (which obviously some PA jobs do).
posted by cpatterson at 6:48 AM on June 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

My late wife worked for her boss for almost 27 years, in an executive assistant/bookkeeper/office manager type of position. She could tell you, either from memory or by looking it up (at first an actual paper notebook, later on a PDA, then eventually on her phone) the following:

The things you mentioned: insurance and banking details, credit card numbers and details, SSNs, passport numbers, make and model of vehicles with tag numbers and registration info and insurance info, health insurance info... all the things that she needed to know to fill out pretty much any form that might ever come up in her boss's professional or personal life. She knew this stuff for him, his wife, their kids, and both sets of in-laws/grandparents.

She also had keys to the house, the cars, the business, the vacation house, and the contact info for anyone related to those things. More than once she was on the phone to the dealership arranging service on one of the cars, coordinating the loaners and pick up/drop off times, or was on the phone with the plumber or electrician to schedule a repair at the house.

She also kept track of:

- Obvious stuff like his birthday, his wife's birthday, his kids birthdays, birthdays for the grandparents, the in-laws, the kids friends
- Birthdays for business associates, their wives and kids and sometimes grandkids
- His clothing sizes, ring size, watch size, hat size, golf club size (?), what colors he preferred, what clothing brands he preferred
- All that same information for the wife, kids, grandparents, and in-laws
- All that same information for business associates (made buying gifts for important clients easier)
- What church he attended and what churches several business associates attended (a lot of these men got together for Bible study at least once a month)
- Favorite beverages, favorite foods (also for family and business associates)
- Favorite sports teams, favorite players (also for family and business associates)
- Where her boss liked to go on vacation, what he liked to do, what the wife liked to do, what the kids liked to do (basically he'd just tell her that he wanted to go on vacation, and she just handled it - reservations, flights, dining, attractions, all of it)

- Very importantly: the contact info for the person who had the same job as her for several key clients and business partners, all of whom had that same kind of info on their bosses

Granted, this is way more than most PAs or EAs would ever know or be expected to know or do. But she started working for this guy right out of college, and just stuck with him over the years. He treated her well, paid her very well, and trusted her with pretty much every aspect of his professional and private life.
posted by ralan at 7:02 AM on June 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

Oh, a few more things:

-health information: all doctors and their contact info, prescription information, medical history
-everything about his car and all parking tickets

One time he walked up to the office, said "I couldn't find parking" and tossed his keys at me, leaving me to run downstairs to find his $150K Mercedes sitting in the middle of the street (downtown Chicago, folks).
posted by phunniemee at 7:12 AM on June 2, 2018 [4 favorites]

All of the above, plus:
* Vehicle registration info, including when I needed to go renew it because she'd never remember
* Location of extra checkbooks because she'd never remember
* Her clothing and shoe sizes
* Her skin care and makeup preferences, including shades, formulas, and when she was going to run out, so I could pull from her inventory and put in the bathroom
* Same for her kids on clothes, shoes, and skin care
* Where to go hunting for bobby pins when the bathroom drawer got empty
* The exact schedule for when her dog needed to go outside
* Shutoffs for water and gas, circuit breaker box
posted by The Almighty Mommy Goddess at 6:54 AM on June 3, 2018

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