I come from a long line of secretaries. And by long line, I mean my aunt and mother.
I’ve always felt like secretaryship was in my blood – my aunt has been a secretary for longer than I’ve been alive, and in the eight years my mother was a secretary I’ve never seen someone work so hard at being so awesome. The two years I was a secretary in Rotaract Club have given me a very healthy respect for grown-ups who do this on a daily basis and a much larger scale.
I was only responsible for club records of membership and meetings, liaising with admin and external groups and generally keeping track of everything with words in it. All this for a service club that met once a week and did outings every other month or so. I couldn’t possibly imagining coordinating professional events, juggling six different board meetings a month, relaying minutes of meetings to everyone who was or wasn’t there and staying on everyone’s back to make sure they get their work done.
Company heads might come up with the brilliant ideas but secretaries are the ones who put it in action and figure out how to make it work. That behind-the-scenes aspect really appeals to me; I love being the unnoticed but indispensable character. Even now, in med school, I’m secretary of my class service movement – a job that mostly involved lots of letter writing.
I couldn’t even imagine sitting at a desk all day typing dictations, fiddling with spreadsheets and powerpoints and writing speeches, no matter how much I love typewriters. Being a secretary is so much more than putting on a cute suit so the boss will hit on you (or, conversely, dressing so dowdily a nun would call the fashion police). And it’s more than just sitting around tapping delicately at keys so as not to spoil your manicure.
I’m not out to compare secretaryship to toiling in the coal mines, but secretaries are awesome in their own right. This post says so. And carpel tunnel and paper cuts are really nothing to joke about.