A mutual friend told the world famous author about my services as a Personal Assistant. I’d read her best-selling book years before and met the author at an event, awhile ago. I have a handful of clients who keep me very busy and who I enjoy working with enormously. As a courtesy, I took the interview.
We exchange two emails – I suggested she look at my website and we made an appointment to meet.
Naturally, I Googled her address and found that she lived in one of the more exclusive areas of the Peninsula. I drove up the long driveway and parked.
When I arrived, three housekeepers were busy in the kitchen and the “temporary personal assistant” met me at the door. The mansion was quite spectacular with a pool, massive garden and a “Painter’s Cabin.”
The author, an elderly woman with a shock of white hair, with elegant demeanor and stunning jewelry, met me in the dining room.
After small talk she launched into a long list of her successes: Companies, organizations, speaking performances, and best-selling books.
During the course of the conversation, I learned she had hired a handful of young women, who were all MBA’s, yet she “had to let them go.”
She mentioned needing a driver for meetings in the City at a prominent hospital. She indicated night driving was not for her and I suggested an Uber driver might be a cost-effective and easy solution for her challenge. She thought that was a great idea.
When I asked her what her top five most important challenges were – trying to ascertain how I could best serve her- she wasn’t quite certain.
With so many balls in the air and so many commitments she was somewhat disorganized.
Then the time came to talk money.
At one point, she indicated that she had read my blog and commented on my “impressive blog” and the myriad services and talents I offer. She said she knew of many my successes and was impressed with my track record and my accomplishments.
She then mentioned that my fee would be an indication if we could work together. I quoted my hourly rate and indicated my two-hour minimum.
Dead silence I didn’t say a word. And then she said “My, that’s a lot.”
And this is where it got ugly.
She said, “I can’t even pay some of my employees and they have to pay rent and buy groceries.”
I could hear the red flags unfurling and then whipping in the wind
Again, I remained quiet.
I waited for her to continue. Mind you I just heard this woman who sold over four million books, who received honorariums everywhere, had two homes in glamorous locations and had gone through employees like Kleenex.
Finally, I offered if she would like to work with me in one project, to see how successful we were together.
She said she would think about it.
In my heart of hearts I knew this wasn’t a match. We both said a gracious goodbye and thanked each other for the time spent.
And I thought, “I just dodged a bullet”
I’ve heard through the grapevine that this woman was difficult with a volatile temper. I thought I would dismiss gossip and form my own opinion.
The take away? If you see the mere corner of the red flag getting ready to wave, take heed, if you hear in consistencies in someone’s presentation regarding their lifestyle take heed, and when in doubt: get the heck out.
The truth. It is a beautiful and terrible thing, and must therefore be treated with great caution.
J. K. Rowling