Meet Sophia our top PA

This months Top PA Sophia talks us through her transforming journey in Temping as a PA.

What made you choose to temp?
Since graduating in 2015, I have tried a few different careers but none of them really felt like the right fit for me. I spent a lot of time agonising over the fact that I wasn't able to settle on a 'forever' job, while I watched my friends all move up their respective career ladders. Before I started temping, I had a permanent role at an art gallery, but it didn't have any scope for development and so after a frank discussion with a friend who had found her career through temping, I decided to take the plunge and give it a go.

How did you find your first temping job?
My first temping job was an office-based role for one week. Up until this point, I had been working in the arts, and this temp role was my first in a corporate environment. I was nervous at first but the Office Manager who I was covering for invited me in the week before to show me the ropes and left such a detailed list of tasks that I was able to jump straight in, and to my surprise and delight, I found that I really enjoyed the structure of working in a more corporate environment.

What were your initial thoughts about temping?
I was nervous to make the leap from secure full-time employment to temping as I was concerned whether it would provide enough work to keep me busy and enough income to cover my rent. However, ahead of leaving my permanent role, I met with a few different temping agencies to get a feel for what to expect. Everybody was so lovely and confident in my abilities and skillset that I was reassured enough to finally make the move.

What’s the best thing about temping?
As somebody still trying to figure out what I want to do for my long-term career, I find that the variety of temping is the most appealing thing about it. I love that I can get a feel for different industries, ways of working and the opportunity temping provides to meet lots of different, interesting people.

What do you find the most challenging aspect of it and why?
Time management and planning are key qualities for anybody who is thinking of temping. Initially, I found the changing locations and times of temp work a little daunting, but now, I find that keeping a detailed diary helps me keep on top of where I have to be and when I have to be there.

How does it differ from previous jobs?
I love the fact that temping allows me to meet new people and visit different corners of the city. This variety was something that I found lacking in my previous, permanent positions.

Who has been your biggest professional inspiration and why?
Can I say Kris Jenner? The devil works hard, but Kris Jenner works harder!

My biggest career inspiration is my younger brother. My brother was never considered particularly academic and didn't thrive in a university environment as all his friends did and as a result, he had low confidence in what he could offer the working world. Once he graduated he realised that the new landscape of social media focused careers appealed to his ability to build and nurture relationships with other people and so he targeted all his favourite apps to ask for an internship. Eventually, he was offered an internship at his favourite app and very quickly moved from the office intern to community development manager, and now, only one year later, his confidence has grown and he has a leading role in the events side of the company. Tenacity pays off.

What advice would you give someone considering temping but worried to take  that first step?
Start by researching the ins and outs of temping. You can find some great blogs (like this one!) that provide first-person insights into the life of a temp. I found that speaking to friends who had temped was really useful as they know me and how I work. I would also suggest reaching out to a few temp agencies ahead of making the first step as the lovely, friendly staff did a lot to reassure me that I was making the right decision.

What three attributes do you think make a good PA?

What makes your day easier/ what or who couldn’t you live without? 
My friends. I love the fact that temping enables me to visit different parts of the city, which means I get an opportunity to explore and meet friends in new places. 

When you’re not being one of London’s top Temps, what do you enjoy doing?
I studied art at university and spend a lot of my time drawing - my studio is my happy place.