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.
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.
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.