Liam Hanlon, Personal Assistant, Forth Valley Royal Hospital

What made you want to be a PA?

I do have ambition but I think my ambition is quite open ended rather than having a set goal. I tend to go where life takes me and be informed by the opportunities that present themselves. I have always wanted to progress in the working world but I didn’t properly focus on developing myself until I was a bit older. I started out as a clerical officer where I remained for 9 years. After missing out on a few interviews I decided to study to give myself an extra chance. After achieving my SVQ 2 Business and Administration qualification I secured a role in the Complaints Department with NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde. I then undertook my SVQ 3 and two years later I am a PA.

Describe your typical working day

The main things are looking after my manager’s diary, taking minutes at meetings and carrying out any other ad hoc administration work. People can request meetings at short notice and it is challenging to get everyone together but it’s also quite fast paced and that can be exciting too. I am Phyllis Wilkieson’s PA and provide support to Patrick Rafferty and Louise Boyle our two Acute Heads of Nursing. My managers have been very supportive and are lovely people.

Did you consider any other career?

I actually wanted to be a joiner but I was a bit of a daydreamer at school and didn’t make my mind up until I was 17. By that time I was advised I was too late and would have to have been appointed as an apprentice by the age of 15. I then studied construction at college. I wanted to do film and TV studies but was advised against it so I plumped for construction. However when I qualified the 2008 credit crunch happened and the industry was no longer hiring so I chose administration because I felt I had the relevant skills . Now I couldn’t imagine doing another job. I think there are a lot of perks to having a stable 9-5 office job especially in the NHS. I don’t have to work outdoors in winter, we get the weekend off and a generous holiday allowance.

What’s your Idea of a good night out?

My idea of a good night out is more like a good night in! I enjoy going to a friend’s house or having people over. You can have more in-depth chats about things and a better laugh at someone’s house. Some of the topics that you get into at a house party can be really quite strange but I find that funny. I did my fair share of clubbing when I was younger and I remember trying to talk to people and not being able to hear what they said and then asking them to repeat it before giving up!

Sporty or studious?

I am a bit of both. I like football, boxing and snooker and I also watch the Olympics when it is on. I exercise regularly myself. I also sometimes read in-depth articles on the internet about topics I like. I am subscribed to a history magazine and have been for about three years. I don’t read as many books but I have started to read non-fiction and autobiographies which has grabbed me more than fiction.

Petrol Head or cyclist?

I would have to say a cyclist. My dad is really into cycling and watches the Tour de France. That is road cycling though and I prefer a mountain bike. I have never seriously cycled as regular exercise but I used to go everywhere on my bike when I was young. I had quite a few BMX’s which evokes happy memories! As an adult my cycling is more functional. When I bought my first house I didn’t have a car and would go to the supermarket on my bike.

What makes you laugh?

I just like Scottish banter and maybe laughing at things we probably shouldn’t! I think all Scottish people are like that though. I think the Scottish sense of humour can be quite out there and we get a lot of digs in at each other but I think that’s funny and all in good spirits. Humour is a great stress reliever.

Favourite food?

Definitely takeaways. My tastes are not elegant when it comes to food. My favourite takeway food is Indian and my go-to choices are curry and some of the hotter curries. I’m also fond of spicy chicken pizza and cheese burger and chips!

Perfect holiday destination?

I would really like to go to Brazil and Japan but would need to plan exactly where to go… and save up a lot of money.

What would you do with a £1m win?

I think people believe you could live a millionaire lifestyle with one million pounds but I don’t think you could. I don’t know if you could retire either but a friend thought you could and she convinced me! I would just do boring things like pay off my mortgage, put savings away and maybe go on my dream holidays.

PA for ever?

At the moment I am thinking I could be a PA for 4 or 5 years and then try to move up. I think everyone has ambition to a certain extent but also work life balance is important too, so I think my ambition has a limit. I like to try to achieve the highest level of performance that I can within a role and so that will be my focus. I want to do well for my managers and also for myself.