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I have a fake personal assistant. It started almost by accident, but for 10 years has made people take me more seriously


  • Jamira Burley, 34, works in the tech industry and has a fake personal assistant named Matt.
  • She says people treat you differently when they think you have an assistant — especially a male assistant.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Jamira Burley, a 34-year-old who works in the tech industry. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

I have a secret to tell you.

For the last 10 years, I’ve had a fake assistant. His name is Matt, and he answers emails for me. He negotiates rates, schedules meetings, and rejects offers that aren’t up to par.

He also doesn’t exist.

I created my fake personal assistant, Matt, a decade ago

It happened almost by accident. I had made a separate email account for people to contact me with opportunities, and I got an email where the person seemed to assume that a third person, like an assistant, was manning the contact email address.

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