Mark Bult Design: San Francisco, CA, Established 1988

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Monday, November 06, 2006

Secretaries make the world go 'round

This link is for Velma [read or listen]. Weren't we talking about this just Saturday night?

I don't always like the essays on NPR's short program "This I Believe," although a lot of them are great. But this one struck me since it was similar to the discussion Velma and I were having in the car on the way home from the South Bay this weekend.

Velma's been thinking about career choices for the coming years, and she was reflecting that her current job is "pretty much a glorified secretary."

I pointed out that she does a lot more than answer phones and file paperwork. Planning a major event for several hundred people, doing important research, and many other complicated responsibilities are part of her job, not just because she's more capable than "any old secretary," but also because it's been about 60 years since there was even anything remotely like "any old secretary."

Every secretary I've ever known does a lot more than the 1950s sterotype we often still carry of the lady in a short skirt, chewing gum and carrying a steno pad into her boss's office to "take a memo."

In fact, that sterotype is probably not far from the reality my mom started in back in the '50s or '60s when she took her first job as a secretary, but by the time she retired 40 or so years later as an Eceutive Secretary (which is Velma's title now, incidentally), she was certainly responsible for a lot more vital and key roles than picking up her boss's dry cleaning.

I used to go to work with my mom when I was an adolescent, on days when there was no school. I saw the myriad roles she played and the many projects and responsibilities she juggled on a given day, from the simple to the extremely complex (and way over the head of a 12-year-old).

Velma, you should read (or listen to) Yolanda O'Bannon's essay. Actually, we all should.

tags: Velma, personal, careers


Blogger velma said...

Thank you, cute boy!

11/06/2006 06:25:00 PM


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