Australian Personal Assistant Publishes Scathing Book On Her Worst Bosses

Veteran personal assistant Sydnee Sallivan has published a book detailing the worst behaviours she has observed in bosses during her 20-plus years on the job.
Sallivan began working as a Professional Assistant (PA) to support herself through university and has worked for more than 42 bosses since. Her LinkedIn profile lists roles at Merrill Lynch and corporate advisory Grant Samuel.

The book, titled “The PA Perspective”, will be released on International Bosses Day tomorrow. It features 20 scathing caricatures of the worst managerial traits Sallivan has dealt with and one, three-page description of a “super-boss”.

Examples include the people-pleaser, the dawdler, the narcissist, the slave-driver, and the “know-it-all” boss.

Here are three character summaries from The PA Perspective, published with Sallivan’s permission:


    It seems that this syndrome is an occupational hazard of being a boss. In the particular instance that I’ve experienced, the boss involved would assume that I was not ‘creative’ enough to make decisions regarding the artistic aspect of events.

    It is, however, a sweet irony because at a specific annual music event … the two artists whom I had suggested as replacements in the program were winners of the contest for three years!


    This boss could not say no, could not tell the truth, wanted everyone around to like them, and eventually put everyone offside when others realised the inherent inaccuracies of information.

    This experience occurred during difficult financial times for the organisation. Brayc-e-o suggested there was nothing to worry about, which was not an accurate representation of the situation. This not only made the key staff members look incompetent — it made them look as if they had lied!

  3. Legreed [INDENT-PLACEHOLDER #2]

    I had been employed for just over three years at the organisation when a major transaction took place … The partners made whopping profits on their shares and I was the only non-partner directly involved in the successful outcome of the transaction.

    Nervously, I went in to speak with Legreed. I stated that I merited a reconsideration of the [company’s] no-bonus policy. I was asked whether Legreed should ‘pass the hat out to the partners to contribute to my bonus’ … I left the meeting and when I returned to my office the tears fell. I was insulted by the comment as well as hurt that my work and efforts were neither considered nor appreciated.

    I realised that while money is definitely not my motivator, it can be a de-motivator because it is demoralising to know that Legreed could spend $US4,000 on a bottle of wine but begrudge a good employee a fair bonus.

Sallivan told Business Insider that caricatures were based on her experiences working in the US, Europe, Australia and India for organisations that ranged in size from ASX-listed enterprises to individuals.

She said she would be “perfectly content to continue in my chosen career” as a PA after the book’s launch.

Find out more about the book here.

Now read: 14 Jeff Bezos Quotes That Show Why Amazon’s Boss Is A Total Genius

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