September 6, 2008

My Assistant

"Stop Hattigrace, I can't take it anymore!! I QUIT!!!!"

I found this this photo of my assistant and decided I had to write a post about her. I haven't a clue why she was hiding her beautiful face from my curious camera, so I just made up that silly caption.

Many years ago, Dot told me my health insurance was having an assistant. When I thought in terms of preserving my health, the weekly paycheck to my assistant became a reasonable business expense.

A is my third assistant. I really did not know how to function with one past heaving glorious sighs of relief over not having to further damage my back shampooing. I am sure I made plenty of detrimental errors with my first two.

A had told me, when she was the salon receptionist, that if she ever attended cosmetology school she would want to assist me. Hmmm, that was a first. After an amazing string of events, there she was, nervously awaiting my first client of the week to shampoo.

Uh, I forgot how LONG it takes new people to shampoo! I count on about five minutes, and she was futzing around for about ten. I hadn't factored that into my schedule! We made it through the first awkward days that became less strained with each week. Though to an outsider her job might appear simple, OMG, it is NOT!

The endless details of information, knowledge, intuitiveness, diplomacy, timing, and skill to effectively assist are staggering. She is a fast and eager learner. She understood my idea of three minutes (two minutes and forty-five seconds)! She rarely sat down, talked on her cell phone or got to work late.

The one area that was the most difficult was her timidity and shyness. I began Assertiveness 101 with her! I never forced her to make any calls she was uncomfortable with. I told her what needed to be said and gave her the option of me doing it instead of her. Courageously, she would take a deep breath and with a white face and shaking hands, make the call.

She discovered that people respond well to direct, honest communication delivered with a sincere desire to serve their needs. I run a tight ship. I am rarely late. If I am, it is very disconcerting to me as I loathe to disrespect people's time. That is what I give and that is what I expect from my clients.

I once complimented a client for her consistent promptness and she said, "It's because we are all afraid of you Hattigrace!!" I'm not mean. I just expect women to keep their commitments. A learned it was okay to tell people that. They appreciate it.

Well, good things can backfire. One day, I asked A if she would split a sandwich with me from one of our favorite lunch providers. "No, I want a whole one", she stated as she walked down the hall. I turned to my client and said, "Did you hear that? A year ago, she would have let me have my way!!!" We joke that I overdid Assertiveness Training!
One of the most fun things we do is talking about our evil twin sisters. Hers is Agatha and mine is Helga. Whenever we are not behaving up to par, we will chide our evil twin for causing us trouble. When our hours are long and we are tired we will look at each other and say, "That's it! We don't like our boss anymore. She works us too hard. WE QUIT!" Our clients will say, "Who is your boss?" and we say, "Helga and Agatha!" We both have found a great release in being able to humorously let off a little steam!
We are both so humungously grateful for being so busy. Our goal is to never say no to anyone and to trust that somehow, by God's great grace, that it will all work out and every body's needs will be met. And usually, it does!

We have been together for three years now. That is unheard of. I never dreamed (I am pinching myself) I would have the pleasure of her company for this long. I know all good things have to come to an end so I live gratefully and don't worry about when she has to move on. God will take care of me and my business.

I love so many things about her. She is honest, true blue and faithful as the day is long. Hardworking, rarely complains, sincere, insightful, non-intrusive, calming, humorous, intuitive, organized, cheerful, ASSERTIVE!, quick-witted, respectful, teachable, loving, empathetic, adaptable, flexible, inventive, kind, tenderhearted. . . She undergirds me with all these virtues. We have a wonderful friendship.

All the above is punctuated with her finest treasure and that is her love for the Lord Jesus Christ. I know she prays for me, for TT, for Dot n hub, for Jade and girls. We have the three-fold cord of friendship, work and faith. And you know those cords are not easily broken. How deeply I have been blessed.

I love you A.
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The Manic Street Preacher said...

got any vacancies? I'll split a sandwich with you and I can talk to your customers about punk and football as I accidently pull their hair out ;-)

Gardenia said...

Yes, you are blessed - when you work with someone like her, that has to be a HUGE stress reduction!!!!

jenn netzer said... know already how much I love A...and her shampoos! She seems really comfortable in her own skin! And yes, it's amazing the way you two work are both very blessed to have each other!!! I'm lucky to have you both...hee hee hee!

Joni said...

What a great tribute to a wonderful assistant!

D.T. said...

Awww...that was a sweet post Ms. Hatti Grace. It is terrific when you can have both an assistant and a friend and I'm happy you have both!

Jada's Gigi said...

What a blessing to have such a friend and co-worker.