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A Very Uncomfortable Position

Jo writes in:

I started working as a PA for a TV show about 2 weeks ago. My issue is that one of the Key PAs is getting promoted and the UPM told me that I would be replacing her. I’m confident enough that I will be able to work as at Key PA, but what I am worried about is the other PA who has almost been working on the show for a year. She isn’t getting promoted.

I believe she knows what is going to happen, and treats me differently now. She comes off very rude at times to me and doesn’t care to help me out. I’m worried that when I do get promoted, it will be even worse. I understand her frustration, but what can I do so that she can still respect me and not talk down to me? What can I do when I do become a Key PA so that she respects me even though I will be managing what she does?

I have also overheard her saying some mean things about me, but I don’t want to cause more problems if I were to confront her about it. She’s one the youngest PAs, never went to college and isn’t as mature as the others who work for the show.

That. Sucks.

It’s an awkward position to be in, and there’s nothing you can really do about it. Unless you’re willing to turn down the job in favor of the other PA; even then, there’s no guarantee the UPM would give her the job, anyway.

No, I won't make a Miley Cyrus joke.
These are your choices.

It sounds like the reason the other PA was passed over was because of that immaturity you mentioned. Part of the problem of being immature is that you don’t know you’re immature. So, good luck explaining it to her.

Still, her reaction is natural, and the best you can do is power through it. Keep doing your job, keep being polite and friendly. If she drops the ball, you’ll just have to pick it up. Eventually, the boss will notice. Either she’ll be told to straighten up, or she’ll be let go.

It sucks all around, but that’s all you can do.

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2 Responses

  1. This only demonstrates how a great attitude is important, especially as a PA. With so many of us in the industry looking for work, it’s a wonder she hasn’t been fired yet. Feel free to contact me at abarrett1218atgmail if you need PA with some experience AND a great attitude! 🙂

  2. Definitely don’t turn down the job. Keep pressing ahead on your career opportunities, and perhaps on the next one you’ll have a better team/PA or she’ll grow a pair (that was mean, sorry). If she is that disappointed, maybe she should just go find another show instead of moping around about it; the fact is that these things do happen and there is nothing you can do about it. She should try to be an ally of yours, as if she plans to have any longevity she may definitely meet you again under different circumstances in the future (it’s a small world out there). It seems like a huge inconvenience now, but in five years, maybe you’ll be promoted more and more more and this other PA may even change her mind about wanting to work in the industry/ in such a position at all. Then in retrospect trying to save her by not taking the job/ cutting yourself off from the opportunity would have been a lost cause anyways. Until you’re in a position to really help someone like that (and when you are I think you probably wouldn’t anyways because the stakes would be greater for your reputation; like TAPA said, her mindset probably got her in that position in the first place), your back comes first.

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