The new PA in the office caught a bad rap on his first day. Actually, he walked in with a bad rap, and his first day only confirmed it. He’s chatty.
There’s a fine line between being friendly and being chatty. He has crossed that line, and, while he doesn’t know that the coordinator, APOC, and secretary secretly roll their eyes every time he strikes up a conversation in the office, it’s a knock against him.
Will he be fired for being chatty? No. Probably not. But job performance rarely affects your current job standing (except in extreme circumstances). It usually affects your next job. My bosses will be less likely to call him in the future, or they’ve moved him further down their list of potential PAs.
How much talking is too much talking? If you’re having more than four-sentence conversations at your desk, then you’re talking too much. If you’re having those convos in the kitchen or at the copier, then that’s fine. You’re using smalltalk to get you through an otherwise awkward conversation, i.e. waiting in line to use the copier or coffee machine. But if you’re telling elaborate stories while the phone is ringing – even if you pause your story to answer the phone – you come off like a social butterfly who can’t be bothered with good old-fashioned hard work.
I posted this on Twitter (@TheAnonymousPA) last week, but I thought I’d put it here, in case you missed it. Joe Cristalli and Rob Turbovsky wrote “Your Hollywood Internship Welcome Packet.” It’s a funny piece and perhaps the truest thing I’ve read all week.