HR Strange But True!
September 27, 2007

A lot of Americans want to be a "CPA," and they aren't even good at math. But if you become a celebrity personal assistant (CPA), you may never get a raise, but you probably will always fly first class, according to a new survey by the CPA's union.

The survey, to mark the 15th anniversary of the Association of Celebrity Personnel Assistants, a 120-member, Los Angeles-based union, reveals some interesting job duties and a few wage-and-hour issues.

And, says ABC News, although your work hours may be 10 am to 7 pm, you most likely will be perpetually on call (54 percent of CPAs say they are). And, says E!Online, 88 percent of respondents never get overtime or comp time--but they do average $61,460 per year!

This may seem high, but the union maintains that CPAs provide "professional, high-level services," including estate management, personal organization--and discretion (56 percent must sign nondisclosure agreements).

Good Benefits

And while 33 percent of CPAs--or "personal lifestyle managers"--say they never get a raise, most get a large annual bonus, and 23 percent get "material" gifts (maybe leftover from the red carpet?). Other desirable benefits enjoyed by the majority include paid health insurance, two weeks of paid vacation, and free cell phone service.

Bad Duties

Most assistants do the mundane: answering fan mail, running errands; packing and making travel arrangements; and keeping the house, spouse, or star organized. When asked to report the craziest thing they've ever been asked to do, union members mentioned wiping a dog's nose, transporting stool samples to a doctor, babysitting a rare Tibetan mushroom--and breaking the law by posing as the celeb at traffic school.

Getting Hired

The majority of members taking the survey said they found their job through a personal referral, while only 12 percent went through an employment agency.

The job descriptions, on the other hand, are not from BLR's Job Description Encyclopedia. One pop princess wanted a sweet-smelling employee at all times and was rumored to have the use of deodorant, cologne, and breath mints written into the description. And in a case of reverse-discrimination, ABC News reports that a "Spice-y" employer asked that good-looking, thin applicants not be sent for interviews for her CPA job. No wonder the Ugly Bettys get the jobs.

Sources: CPA, ABC News, and E!Online

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