Top Five Tasks I Wanted a Personal Assistant to Perform Circa 2011

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We’re celebrating Autostraddle’s Fifth Birthday all month long by publishing a bunch of Top Fives. This is one of them!

1. Read all emails that I am scared to open and relate their contents to me in a nonthreatening way via gchat.

2. Listen to all my voicemails and then delete them and only tell me about them if they’re an emergency or if I won money somehow.

3. Monitor celebrity haircuts and alert me when someone gets one that could potentially look good on me.

4. Tell me honestly whether the combination of the outfit I’m wearing and the reason I’m leaving the house requires that I wear a bra.

5. Check in on my Spotify playlist regularly and text me to see if I’m ok if I’ve played Joni Mitchell’s Blue more than once a day.

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Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1142 articles for us.


    • Number 1 would be life-changing. I’ve avoided my grad school email excessively in recent months (in fear of ‘have you fallen off the face of the earth I hate you forever’ emails from my boss) and sometimes the only way to get over the hump is to check the account during my therapy appointment so that I feel like I’m protected somehow, or am in a good place if such an email were to be there waiting for me.

      …I swear sometimes I can and do act like a real adult human. Sometimes.

  1. Number 1, so much. Ugh. I have stared at emails from professors’ for HOURS before finally opening them and realizing that either they said something innocuous like “don’t forget class Wednesday has been moved to 3:00pm” or “Don’t worry if that research you owe me isn’t done, you can get it to me by the end of the week” and all my panicking was for nothing.

    Also, every email from a law firm, ever. No one shares good news by email. If it’s good news, they call you.

    • Seriously! When either of my advisors email me I’ll actively evade my inbox, especially when i’m not expecting anything from them. Grad school leaves it’s victims in a state of constant performance anxiety, we could get terrible news or feedback at any time. I’ve learned to deal with this via a copious amount of drinking, and checking all mail immediately before the panic creeps in.

  2. I would like a personal assistant who is basically the equivalent of Google for my house.

    What can I wear that goes with these pants? Here, here’s this cute top you bought seven months ago and then forgot about in the back of your closet. Where did I put that thing that I don’t remember what it’s called but I need it for this other thing? Here it is, in this drawer of unrelated things where you absentmindedly stored it while you were in the middle of a heated telephone conversation. What is this oddly-shaped piece of plastic for? It will fix that problem you’ve been having with the wobbly piece of furniture that’s making scratch marks on your landlord’s wooden floor.

  3. I’d make my PA sing all my emails as a character from a musical, so when at least when I find out i’m behind on a deadline, it’s from the cast of Cats

  4. I would be happy to perform these tasks in exchange for regular installments of tea and cookies.

  5. I would love it if someone could read my emails and just let me know if it’s something I should actually be stressed about or if it’s just innocuous.

  6. SO glad I’m not alone here on #1. I make my friends and roommates do that for me all the time. Last year I came out to my advisor via email and then made my best friend read his reply and asked her a million ridiculous questions about it. “Is it really short? How many sentences is it? How many of those sentences are directly related to the original topic? Does it sound like he thinks I was too feelings-y? If you were me, how would you feel about his reply? How many words does the first sentence have? How many words does the second sentence have? What’s the first word of the second sentence? What’s the last word? What’s the next-to-last word? What do you think he meant by that first part?”

  7. Oh god #2. I’ve gone months without checking my voicemail… My coworker has this app on his phone that translates voice mails into texts and I think that’s magical and wish I had someone else to relay voice mails to me.

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