When Cheryl Bennett (pictured left) was made redundant from her job as Office Manager at a graphic design agency in 2009, little did she know how her life was about to change.
At about the same time, Financial Advisor Clare Giles (pictured right) was feeling snowed under with paperwork generated by her job. She says, ‘I had been looking to hire a part-time admin assistant to help with my financial services work… However, I delayed and delayed since I didn’t know how to access the person I wanted nor how to describe exactly what I wanted in them.’
By coincidence, a friend of Clare’s knew that Cheryl was looking for work and introduced the two. Clare says, ‘I just met Cheryl and instinct told me it would work – but I had no idea then just how much it would.’
Wind the clock forward nine years and now the two are not only in a successfully symbiotic working relationship, but are great friends, too. They even share a dog, Dudley. Cheryl sourced the breeder and Clare chose the puppy. He lives at Clare’s, where Cheryl works, and Cheryl moves into the house when Clare is away to look after everything from the dog to the farm and the mail.
So, is Cheryl a PA? What work does she do for Clare?
Cheryl says, ‘When I started out with Clare I was covering general admin for her financial services work, plus book keeping. As we got to know each other my role developed into dealing with farm accounts, plus feeding the cows, and rounding up the sheep… I also enjoy cooking and at present we are both trying to be healthier, so I do batch cooking and fill Clare’s freezer with healthy food, although she adds in her own little touch. I also help out if Clare is having any party events and it’s great getting involved with her family.’
Clare agrees, ‘The list of what Cheryl does as my lifestyle manager is so long now! She does all my accounts, VAT returns, client admin and filing, house bills, all the insurances, shopping, client entertaining, filling my freezer, and housework when necessary. She helped organise my daughter’s wedding at the house, my granddaughter’s naming ceremony, and my husband’s funeral… We also have real fun working together – every day is different, and we just had a lovely holiday away together as well.’
Cheryl’s job title has migrated from Admin Assistant, to PA, and now they both use the title Lifestyle Manager, as Cheryl has changed so much in Clare’s lifestyle for the better.
Sounds great for Clare, but is it as good for Cheryl?
The quick answer is, yes. ‘I love everything about my job,’ says Cheryl. ‘I really look forward to seeing what the day has to bring. There is never a dull day – it is so varied. I love the fact I can work on my own initiative and if I see things need to be done I go ahead and let Clare get on with the financial stuff.’
She continues, ‘I can honestly say Clare is the best boss ever. We just get on so well and I hope that I take away some of her little hassles to allow her to focus on more important things. She has become a very special friend. My only regret is that I wish I had met her years ago.’
But she admits the icing on the lifestyle manager cake is sharing Dudley the dog. ‘He is the best little dog ever.’
If you’re looking for brilliant flexible help – even if, like Clare, you’re not certain what it is you need, call us. We can help transform your life and reset your work-life balance, just like Cheryl did for Clare, and vice versa. Contact 14fiftyseven for lifestyle managers and a new way of thinking about household staff, or simply call us on +44 (0)208 616 1457.