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A Day in the Life: Design Assistant for Interior Design Firm

8:00 a.m.: Arrive at the office before the rest of the staff, brew coffee and ensure the office is in order. Wash dishes left over from yesterday's client meeting.

8:30 a.m.: Check voicemail and e-mail for messages. Review calendar for day's appointments and call for confirmations. Adjust schedule as necessary and print revised schedule for head designer.

9:00 a.m.: Other employees arrive. Operate switchboard for all incoming calls and take messages for staff who are unavailable. Field calls from sales representatives requesting appointments with designers. Interface with clients and vendors.

10:00 a.m.: Speak with the head designer. Receive instructions on several tasks, such as picking up fabric samples from design center, contacting dealers regarding memo items (pieces on loan for display only) for a client meeting, dictation of a letter for a potential client that must be messengered by noon.

11:00 a.m.: Work on projects assigned by head designer while continually operating switchboard. Letter is first priority; complete it and give to head designer to proof. Contact dealers regarding memo items and arrange shipment with local delivery service.

12:00 p.m.: Send revised letter to potential client. Once messenger arrives, escape for lunch. Pick up fabric samples while picking up lunch a reprieve from the switchboard for at least an hour. Visit several fabric houses and leave design center loaded down with bags. Pick up lunch for yourself and other office mates at nearby cafi.

1:30 p.m.: Check voicemail and e-mail for messages while you were out. Open and sort mail. Address envelopes for bookkeeper. Prepare office for client meeting at 2:30. Run up the street to purchase a new orchid for entryway. Brew more coffee and tea. Ensure conference room is organized and clean. Gather any last minute information head designer needs for meeting.

2:30 p.m.: Show clients to conference room, offer drinks and snacks. Work on additional projects other staff members have requested: errands, scheduling of appointments, shipments of furniture. Keep track of money in meters and ensure clients do not get parking tickets while in meeting.

4:00 p.m.: Clients leave. Clean conference room, wash dishes. Empty trash throughout office. Return calls on behalf of designer and schedule additional appointments for remainder of week.

5:00 p.m.: Since there is nothing urgent to complete, you get to leave on time!