'I'll do anything that isn't illegal or immoral'
Forgot to feed the cat?
She will do it for you.
Burglar alarm went off at home? Don't worry, she is on it.
As a personal secretary, Ruby gets strange and difficult requests from her boss all the time.
From last-minute requests to book popular restaurants to running personal errands for her company's chief executive officer, she has done it all.
"What's in my job description, you ask? I really don't know any more," says Ruby, 27, laughing.
"I'll do anything that isn't illegal or immoral. As long as my boss remembers his appointments and doesn't lose a big client because he has to attend to something trivial."
Ruby is not her real name as she does not want to embarrass her employer by sharing his habits publicly.
Understandable, as personal secretaries have to get "up close and personal with their bosses", she says.
"One time, I had to listen to my boss arguing with his wife over the speakerphone. Both couldn't find the time to pick up the kids from their grandparents' home.
"In the end, I went to pick them up."
But she insists that these personal errands make up a minority of what she does. On a daily basis, she has to set up meetings, answer calls and e-mails, pass on instructions to the office, keep track of appointments, manage personnel issues and take notes during meetings.
Ruby has been working as a personal secretary for nearly three years, after spotting the job listing in the classified advertisements.
She vividly recalls that before her job interview, four other female candidates gave her the "evil eye" as she was the youngest among them.
"Bosses generally prefer to hire younger secretaries because it's a stereotype. But at the end of the day, I have to perform well in my duties too."
Unlike an executive secretary, who supports the whole office in its operations, a personal secretary assists only one person - her boss.
But the lines are rarely so clear cut, says Ruby, who previously worked as a part-time office administrator.
"It is especially true in SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) like this. Besides looking after the boss, I have to facilitate the needs of the whole office and help keep it efficient."
It is a job that has her scurrying for information or trying to contact the 30 other staff in the Tuas office.
And if her boss is in a bad mood, she will be the first to be "scolded" too.
"Sometimes when sales are bad, he'll call me into the office and practise his 'buck up' speech with me first," she recalls.
"Because I know things first, people seem to think I'm the source of all the gossip.
"That's not true, my lips are always sealed when it comes to administration-related stuff."
On the other hand, if an angry client comes calling and her boss is not prepared to deal with it, she has a few tricks up her sleeve.
Ruby confesses: "A white lie doesn't hurt. To buy some time, I can say that my boss isn't around, even though he's sitting right there.
"Then, I will take a message and assure the client that they will get an answer. A sincere tone helps to defuse a potentially bad confrontation."
Her company celebrates the Administrative Professionals' Day, also known as Secretaries' Day, on April 22.
As a matter of thanks, her boss lets her clock out earlier on that day.
"I will be serving only one person that day - myself," she says gleefully.
SECRETS OF THE TRADE
1 It's not a job for the disorganised. Keeping an organiser or a calendar is necessary to track daily appointments and agendas and prepare for meetings well in advance.
2 Use a notebook and pen when taking minutes. Typing details into a smart phone can give the impression that you are rude and disinterested.
3 Respect confidentiality. Losing the trust of your boss or your colleagues means it's game over for you.