She worked in an Oxford Street department store in what her supervisor called “The beauty business.” But she knew it was just flogging perfumes. “Point, squirt and take the money,” as Erika described it.
But on Mondays, Erika enjoyed a secret life as a student at Pitman Training in Notting Hill. She was taking an Executive PA course. That was her ticket out of retail. It would lead to a diploma qualification and Erika was confident that she would get a top job on the back of it. She’d seen others at Pitman do it, so it was definitely possible.
Erika hated retail. Back home she had been a solicitor’s clerk, which was much more interesting. But the money and the life here in London were much better than back home. And when you first arrive, you have to take whatever job you can get.
But some of the customers look down their noses at you when you’re in retail and that hurts when you’re proud, like Erika.
She could only study on Mondays because she typically worked a ten hour day the rest of the week. So she tried to study for 8 hours per week and her Course Advisor felt she would graduate in about 10 months, so she was about halfway through at the moment.
When she had called her mother to say she had enrolled on an Executive PA course, her mum didn’t know what that meant, so she explained as being a sort of super-secretary. Her mum didn’t seem impressed until Erika told her that some PA’s were earning £40K per annum!
The course involved learning to type as fast a rocket ship and Erika found that physically painful at first, as well as a little dull. But she was really enthused about the Microsoft Office training where she learned things in Word and Excel that she thought were like something out of a science fiction film.
As she progressed and her confidence increased, she saw herself working for a top boss in something like an advertising agency, or something where she would be surrounded by creative people.
She knew that one of the girls who had done the same Executive PA course had gone to work for Vogue, while another had gone to Tatler, so there was everything to play for.
She was thankful that she was also ambitious by nature. She figured she could force her way into an interview and once there, demonstrate her skills with aplomb. Erika was going to make it whatever it took!
It was hard to keep her course a secret at work but she didn’t want her supervisor to think she wasn’t committed to a life of perfume. “Best keep your head down and get on with it,” she told herself.
She couldn’t wait for the day she would be able to hand in her notice and waltz off to her new career, leaving everyone in the store behind. Five more months and she’d be gone!
If you’d like to find out more about taking Pitman Training’s nationally recognised, diploma level Executive PA course, visit http://www.holborntraining.co.uk/courses/executive-pa-courses/