Put a salary on this job

This sentence perfectly puts into words my unease with this ad. Very few people qualified to run a PR campaign or manage and expand your business are going to be interested in buying pet food for you. I think you really need to decide if you want a “personal assistant with some opportunity for project leadership” or “business partner in expanding entrepreneurial enterprise”, and then write the ad to fit.

Also, the name-your-own-salary thing is not a plus. Post what you’re willing to pay. If no one comes along who is excellent enough to deserve paying them that figure, don’t hire anyone and keep looking. At the very least, give a range. No one wants to waste their time writing a detailed application like this without knowing that the salary is even remotely reasonable.

Salary depends on the business. I’d build in both profit-sharing and long-term incentive (vest over multiple years, tied to increase in revenues/profitability) on top of the salary. You want someone to share responsibility for making you successful, you should plan on rewarding them accordingly.

The title needs quotes around “Oscar” and “Felix” if you’re going to keep those terms in, which I would advise against – I am not sure that your target audience will get the reference.

I would advise reading this aloud and imagining actually saying these things to a stranger that you want to like you. I think you will find that you moderate some of the language a bit. Particularly for a position like this, you are trying to sell the potential applicant on the job being cool.

More information about what the person will actually be doing with most of their time would be very helpful, as you’re more than a little vague. I realize there’s going to be a lot of variety, but describing the modal day would help put it in perspective.

If I were looking at this position, I would want to know what kind of limits there are on your demands for my time. Yes, it’s salaried, but does that mean routine 60-hour weeks? How important is my work-life balance to you? If it’s not important, you’re going to be finding someone new far more often than you want to.

Here in MN, I would plan on paying anywhere from $50k to to $100k depending on experience and how much the business was making.

My immediate reaction to the ad was “too much information”. Shorten it to be more precise to the person you’re hiring, I would try also to be very specific with the job description, because it reads like something that could be anything from a standard office assistant with a bit more responsibility to a full-blown partner. The former, with that job scope, still reads like a high-paying job, if the latter, I’m inclined to agree with a vice-president/profit-sharing position. To make the ad stronger I’d bullet point specific things you have mind (do you have specific things? If not, that moves it much closer to the latter type of job as a partner), or be prepared for people seeking a high-ranking, high-paying position.

In LA? At least $250,000, stock options, profit sharing, 4 weeks paid vacation, company car, decent insurance.

Looks like enough work for two, maybe three, people.

I agree with the “boundary issues” comments. These comments in particular made me think that there wouldn’t be any personal/professional boundaries:

Salary-wise I don’t know the market in LA but 50-60k seems kind of low for someone who is going to be the boss’s “right arm, left hand and backup brain”. From reading the ad (“I know that someone who can REALLY do and be what I want will not be cheap. If they are cheap, they can’t do what I want”) I would have expected that figure to be tripled or quadrupled.

The people I know who could do that job are already making a lot more than 50-60k.

a quick san of the reponses leads me to say thi: it sounds way worse than it plays. Seriously. It would never run to 50 hours a week, rarely 40, probably average 30 and half of those would be from home.

I’ve had a lot of jobs, and I’ve had a lot of jobs working for people who have home businesses, and as a result I am a really good boss.

Or at least that’s what people who’ve worked for me say (other than my sister, but she says it too). What this is really about getting is intelligence and competence, not long hours of slave labor.

Further reading leads me to say this as well: you are right about boundary issues. But that’s part of the problem: this work is out of my home, and it is very much about helping me stay on track. I can definitely work on how I communicate things, but that’s really the bottom line…some boundaries are going to be stretched, it’s hard to avoid.

[law school nerd] After scanning through the responses you’ve gotten so far, I’ve got to say: talk to a lawyer before offering anything like “profit sharing.” I’m not sure about California, but in many states, if you’re running a sole proprietorship (as opposed to a LLC or something like that), making any kind of agreement WRT profit sharing runs the risk of turning your sole proprietorship into a general partnership (no paperwork is required to form a general partnership, and it can happen against your will). Under this circumstance, your new assistant potentially has a legal right to 50% of the business’s (read: your) assets. Doesn’t matter if the original agreement was for 2% of the profits. How is your business set up, legally? [/LSN]

It really, really doesn’t sound like it in the ad. Sounds like a much-more-than-full-time job.


I have to agree – one of my first thoughts was “is this a ‘live in’ job?”

This ad makes you sound fucking insane, and frankly it would take a ton of money for me to take the job. If you are in fact not insane I would think 45-70k depending on location would be appropriate. Other’s have pointed out flaws in the ad, but my main sticking point is:

On what planet do people start salary negotiations at the minimum they would accept? That line alone would make me roll my eyes and quash any chance that I would apply to this job.

Well, I just wrote this all down in a first pass of thoughts, when I actually run it I will craft it more carefully. And I appreciate the input from everyone about it so I can avoid making those mistakes in the actual ad.

It will be interesting to see what response I end up getting. Remember, this is LA so it means money, but this is also LA land of personal assistants to stars and others. Working for me is a dream gig compared to other such jobs, believe me.

I’d do it for $30k a year, but only because under-employment is rampant here in Michigan. Once our economy gets back up with the rest of the nation, I’d say at least $60k.

Geez, after living on $16k a year, I don’t know what I’d do with all that.

This isn’t such an unusual job spec to me: it’s quite honest about the duties of a high-level executive PA, which is what my wife does. This means total adherence to the phone and computer at all times during working hours, massive organisational abilities, the initiative to make executive decisions when the boss isn’t around, fielding calls at 9, 10, 11pm asking for people’s phone numbers or email addresses, or dinner engagement times, travelling with the boss to conferences, as well as buying birthday presents for the boss’s family, organising the boss’s kids’ sick notes for school, and shit like that.

Starting salary would be about $60,000 and go upwards from there. But that’s UK salaries. LA, probably more.

I originally thought this was an ad you were considering responding to, and I was going to warn you to stay away from this bitch. Then I read this is YOUR ad?!?!

Seriously…I wouldn’t work for you if I were starving. There is no amount of money in the world that could change my mind.

Then again, I met a lot of “you” when I was living in LA…you will never be happy, no matter who you hire. My guess is that you hate Abe Lincoln for freeing slaves.

Communication issues seem to be the least of your problems…you have communicated quite well with me. Good luck, and please give your new assistant a free subscription to the SDMB…I am dying to hear what they have to say about this “dream job”.

I’m an ideal candidate for this job, got all the necessary skills (including the Mac stuff) and wouldn’t touch that job ad with a barge pole. Waaaay too much personal information and lack of job definition.

It was correct in the original, although I read it wrong the first time too.

Well, there’s two things in the ad I like:

  • you know you’re looking for a keeper,
  • the possibility of telecommuting. Mind you, this is one I’m kind of wary about, I’ve had too many managers who mentioned this but who later didn’t allow it.

I can’t tell you how much I’d ask because I’m not familiar with salaries in the area at all.

I think what you need is someone who would go on business on his/her own if only they could come up with an idea that sounded solid enough. You want a partner. It makes perfect sense not to make them your partner from the start, but if I was taking this position I’d want to have a written agreement indicating specific objectives, when will those objectives be evaluated, and when will I be made your partner assuming they’re met. Too many times people get a job with certain conditions and a promise for better ones, only to have their boss turn around and claim “I don’t remember” or “money is tight right now” (dude, I’m your finance manager, I know perfectly well how much money we have so don’t give me that shit - signed, Navabro); in the case of a boss with ADD, having a specific calendar to stick to is extra important.

And I would want to set objectives for you. I’m a darn efficient person; if I can’t be taking days off because we’re trying to do too much and this is the “normal” status, either we need to do some redesign of the business model, hire another person or hire my replacement.

I think you need to redefine the ad as “looking for a future partner-in-business”, not as an “employee who may become my partner someday who knows perhaps maybe.” You’re good at the creative parts of the business but need someone more down-to-earth to handle administration. And do NOT, ever, send this person to the pet store! That’s about as unprofessional as it can get. If you need a maid, hire one.

I’d work on your organizational skills as well as your ADD before hiring anybody for a position like that. Just to save you trouble down the road. Like what Randy Seltzer said, you don’t want somebody potentially more clever or devious than you being able to take over part of your business, or grind it to a screeching halt.

Running a business such as yours is risky and IMO allowing somebody you don’t know or don’t likely trust to have that much power over your control of it is a bad thing. What I would personally do is hire separate managers for each “business” you have going. Break each business into a separate entity or even “department” and assign each one it’s own manager with limited fiscal abilities. Give them profit sharing based on how well that aspect of the business does profit wise and allow them to petition you for more help should the need to arise.

Really, if you have time issues with running too much, it is best to delegate individual tasks to multiple people rather than one assistant. By going the assistant route, you let up your load a little bit, allowing for some growth in the business, but that growth often means more work, and you have only increased production by one other person. And that puts you right back to square one.

Also, you can probably pay a manager 1/3 to half of what the Personal Assistant is likely to demand and get the same, if not better results. Especially if you have two - three times the number of managers.

I think you should swap this ad for that personal ad that keeps getting you those Pit-worthy responses.

Instead of hiring ONE person to keep all your shit together, why not hire better people for the things you’ve got going so that you don’t have to run around so much? Or subcontract some of the smaller tasks - like, have your pet food delivered.

Seems like it would be a lot easier than finding one perfect person to be half your brain.