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本文摘要:No man — or woman — can serve two masters, says St Matthew. Not so, reckons Julia Stubblefield whose two bosses phone, text and email their daily instructions from opposite ends of the country.马太说道,没有人(无论男人或者女人)能侍奉两个主人。


No man — or woman — can serve two masters, says St Matthew. Not so, reckons Julia Stubblefield whose two bosses phone, text and email their daily instructions from opposite ends of the country.马太说道,没有人(无论男人或者女人)能侍奉两个主人。朱莉娅斯塔布菲尔德(Julia Stubblefield)不这么指出,她的两位老板坐落于国内方向忽略的两地,各自通过电话、短信和电子邮件向她表达每天的命令。“It makes my job fun. It’s certainly not boring,” says Ms Stubblefield, who gave up a 15-year career as an executive personal assistant to start a family. Now her children are at school, she has returned to work, using the same administrative skills she deployed in her former positions at the BBC, Siemens and Johnson Johnson, but as a freelance “virtual assistant”, or “VA”.“这让我的工作很有意思。一点都不无趣,”斯塔布菲尔德说道。

之前15年,她仍然兼任高管的个人助理,后来为了重新组建家庭退出了事业。现在她的孩子上学了,她重回工作岗位,用于的还是她以前在英国广播公司(BBC)、西门子(Simens)和杜邦(Johnson Johnson)供职时学会的那套行政管理技能,只不过这一次她沦为了一名自由职业的“虚拟世界助理”(virtual assistant,全称VA)。

Ms Stubblefield works from her home in Maidenhead, Berkshire. One of her bosses is an investment manager in nearby London, the other a website designer in Newcastle. The tasks they outsource to her are a mix of the professional and the personal, including diary management, sending and chasing invoices, paying bills, booking holidays and even procuring a plastic turkey for a staff party.斯塔布菲尔德在坐落于伯克郡梅登黑德(Maidenhead, Berkshire)的家中工作。她的其中一位老板是伦敦附近的一名投资经理,另一位则是纽卡斯尔(Newcastle)的一名网页设计师。他们外包给她的工作既还包括专业性工作,也还包括私人任务,比如管理乳品,寄出和索取发票,缴纳账单,决定假日行程,甚至是为员工舞会订购一个塑料火鸡。

Virtual assistants — mostly women — are increasingly being used as a way of keeping the modern workplace functioning amid a shift away from full-time support staff. Their emergence reflects a shift in female working practices as well as a general squeeze on spending.虚拟世界助理大多是女性。随着聘请全职支持性员工的趋势渐渐波动,更加多的人自由选择了虚拟世界助理,作为保持工作长时间运作的一种途径。虚拟世界助理的经常出现不仅表明出有女性工作习惯的变化,也体现出有企业开支受到断裂的整体趋势。For the first time in the UK, mothers raising children are more likely to have jobs than women without young families, according to the latest UK figures from the Office for National Statistics. Employment rates among women with childcare responsibilities stand at 69.6 per cent, compared with 67.5 per cent for women without.根据英国国家统计局(Office for National Statistics)的近期数据,当前英国养育孩子的女性比没孩子的女性更加有可能享有工作,前者的就业率是69.6%,而后者的就业率为67.5%,这种现象在英国还是第一次经常出现。

For some mothers, flexible secretarial work is an attractive option, as Barnaby Lashbrooke, founder of the Time Etc agency that farms out work to Ms Stubblefield and 250 other VAs, will testify. Mr Lashbrooke says he receives thousands of applications each month from mothers keen to work from home.对有些母亲而言,灵活性的秘书工作是一个极具吸引力的选项,正如虚拟世界助理派出公司Time Etc创始人巴纳比拉什布鲁克(Barnaby Lashbrooke)所证实的那样。他的公司将工作分派给斯塔布菲尔德和其他250名虚拟世界助理,他说道公司每个月不会接到几千份渴求在家工作的母亲递交的申请人。“The profile of women sending us applications has changed in the last few years,” he explains. “They are now better qualified with proper commercial experience under their belt.”“过去几年,向我们递交申请人的女性的履历再次发生了变化,”他说明道,“她们掌控了必要的商业经验,更加合乎职位拒绝。”He adds: “We usually meet them when their kids are off to school or nursery, and they want to...earn some extra money, so they re-enter the employment marketplace through us.”他补足道:“我们一般来说不会在她们的孩子去上学或者去托儿所的时候谒见她们,她们想……花钱一些额外收益,所以她们通过我们新的转入低收入市场。

”The growth in the use of virtual assistants is partly demand-led. Time Etc, whose clients pay 19-27 per hour, has been offering its services since 2007 and has grown to a size that makes it something of a bellwether for this service sector niche, complete with a US arm.聘请虚拟世界助理的人数快速增长了,在一定程度上是市场需求推展的结果。Time Etc从2007年起积极开展这项服务,客户每小时必须缴纳19到27英镑。此后公司规模大大快速增长,现在早已是业内翘楚,享有一家美国分公司。

Mr Lashbrooke says that in the past month alone its client base has grown 10 per cent. He puts that down to the growing acceptance in the UK of virtual assistants by executives and entrepreneurs who are beginning to see them as more cost-effective than employing a PA on a permanent contract, with all the attendant costs.拉什布鲁克回应,意味着上月,客户数量就快速增长了10%。他将这归咎于英国国内高管和企业家对虚拟世界助理接受度渐渐下降。

相比签定长年合约雇用私人助理及其附带成本,他们开始指出聘请虚拟世界助理更加昂贵。But some of the growth is supply-led too, by women who enjoy the work of being a PA, but not the lengthy commute or the long office hours. With email, internet and Skype at their disposal, there are few tasks that they did in the office which cannot be done remotely, on a self-employed basis and from the comfort of their home.聘请虚拟世界助理的人数之所以快速增长,还有一部分原因是供给推展,来自讨厌私人助理这份工作,但又想展开漫长的通勤或者长时间待在办公室的女性。她们可以自由选择电邮、互联网和Skype,这让她们基本上可以作为自由职业者,在享用家庭的舒适度环境同时,远程已完成办公室里的任何工作。

“It was the flexibility that attracted me,” agrees Fátima Malagueira, a VA who used to be a theatrical agent — with a couple of British soap stars among her clients — until she quit five years ago to start a family.“更有我的是灵活性,”虚拟世界助理法蒂玛马拉盖拉(Fátima Malagueira)说道。她曾多次是表演经纪人,她的委托人中还包括几个英国肥皂剧明星。5年前,她为了重新组建家庭辞任了工作。

“I used to work 14- or 15-hour days and that’s not sustainable with a family. But my work as a virtual assistant can be fitted around my daughter and my commitment to her.”“我曾多次每天工作14或者15个小时,这对有家的人来说是无法保持的。但虚拟世界助理的工作可以在我女儿身边已完成,让我需要分担起我对她的责任。”That said, she does have to work during some evenings and weekends but she argues that this frees her to spend “quality time” with her daughter at a less busy moment. If she has to wait in a client’s house for a builder to arrive or a parcel to be delivered, she adds, most do not mind if her daughter comes too and settles down in front of some children’s television.尽管如此,她的确必须在某些夜晚和周末工作,但她指出,这让她能在不那么整天的时候和女儿童年“宝贵的时间”。

如果她被迫在客户家里等候建筑工,或者等候缴纳租车,大多数客户并不在乎她把女儿也拿着,一起安静地看点儿童电视节目。Based in Cambridge, Ms Malagueira is co-founder of Room To Breathe, a small virtual assistant agency that looks after up to 15 clients, most of whom book her time in 10-hour blocks for 280.马拉盖拉是一家小型虚拟世界助理机构Room To Breath的牵头创始人,公司坐落于剑桥,为多达15名客户获取服务,大多数客户为10小时的服务时间缴纳280英镑。

“At the beginning I worried that there was a risk of my career going backwards, but I now run my own business and create my own work. I’m not going backwards, I’m going forward.”“开始的时候,我担忧我的职业生涯可能会衰退,但现在我经营自己的企业,创立了自己的事业。我没衰退,我正在行进。”While her partner focuses more on administrative tasks, Ms Malagueira specialises in lifestyle needs. “A lot of my clients work long hours in the City and haven’t got time to sort out their home life, so they ask me to do the mundane things like sorting out their insurance, organising birthday parties and booking holidays,” she says.马拉盖拉的合作伙伴更加专心于行政管理工作,而她本人则擅长于处置一些生活涉及的工作。

“我的许多客户在伦敦金融城工作,工作时间很长,没时间处置家庭生活,所以他们拒绝我处置一些日常事务,比如处置保险,举行生日宴会,决定假日行程,”她说道。The outsourcing of such tasks reflects a new sensitivity around the use of full-time administrative staff, she suggests.她似乎,外包这类事务体现了一种关于指派全职行政员工的新的敏感性。“The number of executive PAs employed in the City has been cut and executives are having to share them with other people, so that makes them reluctant to ask their PA at work to buy a present for their wife. After the financial crisis, all eyes are on City workers, and that makes them nervous about using work resources for personal reasons.”“金融城里的高管私人助理被缩减,高管们被迫和其他人共用助理,这使得他们不过于情愿让他们的私人助理为自己的妻子出售礼物。

金融危机之后,所有人的眼睛都盯着金融城的人,这让他们对出于个人目的用于工作资源深感紧绷。”Many of Ms Malagueira’s clients are sole traders unwilling to take on a full-time personal assistant. Not all are male. “I’ve worked for a few women too, some with high-powered jobs and families who need someone to make up a short list of nannies or cleaners that they can interview.”马拉盖拉的许多客户都是个体商人,他们不不愿雇用全职私人助理。并非所有客户都是男性。

“我为几名女性工作过,有一些专门从事高级职位,她们的家庭必须有人所列保姆或者清洁工的候选名单,可供他们自由选择试镜。”Choosing a career as a virtual assistant does involve some sacrifice, admits Ms Stubblefield. “I don’t get paid as much now as I did when I was a PA, though I save on travel and food.”斯塔布菲尔德否认,自由选择虚拟世界助理这个职业的确牵涉到一些壮烈牺牲,“我现在的收益不如我原本任私人助理的时候低,不过我在旅行和食物上花销更加较少。

”There is another downside to leaving the usual nine-to-five day behind. “Most of my communication is by email so I miss the banter and chat over coffee. But I don’t miss the office politics.”舍弃朝九晚五的传统生活还有一个缺点。“我大多数交流都是通过电子邮件,所以我思念喝着咖啡和同事开玩笑闲谈的日子。但我不思念办公室政治。