City: I work for Julian Metcalfe

Beaky Evette works for the chairman of the Pret A Manger sandwich company

A year and a half ago I broke my arm and decided to stay off work until it had healed. But my agency rang to tell me that they had a fun, exciting job with a man at Pret A Manger who was quite difficult to work for, and convinced me to go to the interview despite the fact that it was scheduled for 8am.

While the personnel officer was telling me that I wouldn't meet the chairman unless I got through to a second or third interview, Julian himself appeared and dragged me off to his office.

After firing questions at me for five minutes he hired me on the spot. I accepted the job immediately because I was intrigued by Julian's oddness.

I had always thought that successful men wore grey suits and talked business, but here was a man in blue velvet trousers and a Pret t-shirt sampling cheese throughout the interview and offering it to me. I thought I had blown it when I heard myself tell Julian that his vegetarian sandwiches were too soggy. But he instantly reacted, ringing the supplier and shouting "bring me the vegetarian cream cheese". I couldn't believe that I had landed a job which would allow me to be myself.

Julian is the creative force to the company, his partner Sinclair Beecham is the businessman. If you walked into the office you wouldn't believe that Julian was the boss. He wanted to sit on the desk beside mine to be in with all of us, but I persuaded him that as Chairman he needed his own office. Mind you, he still often answers the phone. As the company gets bigger Julian is going to have to stop trying to do things himself. The stationery supplier called the other day, asking for Julian because he thought he was the office manager.

His diary is completely up to me, I book all his appointments, tell him what he is doing during the day, make sure he has his keys and his money for taxis and occasionally buy presents for his kids. Suppliers often send in samples and Julian himself often appears laden with goodies and out comes the Mothers Pride as we make up sample sandwiches. The visits from the cake woman are always looked forward to. What other PA can say that sampling chocolate cake is part of her job?

I'm actually not a sandwich eater myself. Julian jokes that if I had my way we'd be selling peanut-butter and chocolate sandwiches and shepherd's pie. Being a chocaholic I eat Pret's chocolate mousse for lunch - having worked out that the calorie count was the same as for one of our sandwiches. I don't go out for lunch myself, partly because that's when we get the bulk of our telephone calls. Our number is on all the packaging inviting people to call if they have suggestions, so people invariably ring during their lunch hour.

Julian gets quite passionate if a staff member has a problem and will spend hours discussing it with them. I often have to scratch on his window to remind him of his other appointments. I used to find work quite emotionally draining, particularly when Julian was in a bad mood, but since my job is to make his life run smoothly I now know how to calm him down or just to leave him be. He's very apologetic afterwards and his sunny moods make up for the dark ones because he is so enthusiastic and appreciative.

When he's inspired there's no stopping him, I've heard the waves lapping against the boat he was calling me from while on holiday and he has been known to call people late into the night with a brain wave.

If I am out for dinner the conversation always turns to Pret, so I quite often take ideas away with me and give them to Julian next day. His motto is "always exceed the customers expectations" because he's such a perfectionist. One woman even received a silver Tiffany yo-yo from Julian by way of apology. If someone complains I can send them vouchers myself.

A lot of chairmentreat PAs like dirt, expecting you to exist purely for them. Before I came here I thought I was a secretary because I didn't go to University, but Julian's brilliant: if I really want something I can go for it. I recently suggested that I experience other aspects, so now I visit other sites once every three weeks, making sandwiches or coffee and meeting staff.

I can't help but be honest with him: when I rang, too ill from a hangover to come in, I admitted it. Of course he was furious but I think he appreciated my honesty. There's a lot of loyalty among Pret people, if my friends bought coffee or sandwiches elsewhere they'd have me to deal with.

Arts and Entertainment
books
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Iain reacts to his GBBO disaster

TV
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Simon Cowell is less than impressed with the Strictly/X Factor scheduling clash

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gothic revival: artist Dave McKean’s poster for Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination
Exhibition
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard has left the Great British Bake Off 2014

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live

TV
Arts and Entertainment
TVDessert week was full of the usual dramas as 'bingate' ensued
Arts and Entertainment
Clara and the twelfth Doctor embark on their first adventure together
TVThe regulator received six complaints on Saturday night
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Arts and Entertainment
David Baddiel concedes his show takes its inspiration from the hit US series 'Modern Family'
comedyNew comedy festival out to show that there’s more to Jewish humour than rabbi jokes
Arts and Entertainment
Puff Daddy: One Direction may actually be able to use the outrage to boost their credibility

music
Arts and Entertainment
Suha Arraf’s film ‘Villa Touma’ (left) is set in Ramallah and all the actresses are Palestinian

film
Arts and Entertainment
Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint kiss in Doctor Who episode 'Deep Breath'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Steve Carell in the poster for new film 'Foxcatcher'
filmExclusive: First look at comic actor in first major serious role
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Kingston Road in Stockton is being filmed for the second series of Benefits Street
arts + entsFilming for Channel 4 has begun despite local complaints
Arts and Entertainment
Led Zeppelin

music
Arts and Entertainment
Radio presenter Scott Mills will be hitting the Strictly Come Dancing ballroom
TV
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

    ... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
    Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

    Europe's biggest steampunk convention

    Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

    The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
    She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

    Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

    The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
    American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

    Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

    James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
    Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

    Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

    Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

    Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

    Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
    The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

    The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

    If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution