Note Taking, That's not my job, whatever.

Subject: Note Taking, That's not my job, whatever.
From: eilrh -at- EXCHANGE -dot- WCC -dot- LUCENT -dot- COM
Date: Thu, 25 Jul 1996 18:10:00 -0400

I think many of you are missing the point.

Contrary to what several people here have said, I am not a prima donna.
Nor, probably, are most of those who've said they would balk at being
designated a "minute taker."

The fact is that I have done all sorts of things that were not in my job
description, from system administration to stuffing envelopes. And
that's just fine. I get the job done--whatever that job happens to be.
And frankly, I think it's stupid, irresponsible, and just plain nasty
for you people to say otherwise.

I have been asked several times (I've worked at a lot of different
places) to take minutes or transcriptions, type memos, etc., on an
ongoing basis. I don't say no. I just educate the person asking.
Interestingly, I have NEVER been asked this by anyone who has seen my
resume, knows what I'm paid, or has worked with me for more than a few
hours. Maybe they're asking me because I'm a technical writer, maybe
because I'm female--whatever. I don't care what the motivation is, but I
want to make sure that the person signing my paycheck is aware of the
situation before I do something like that.

I'm not doing anyone any favors if I accept a secretarial role with a
senior tech writer's experience, education, and SALARY. I don't take
shorthand, I'm not a great typist, and I make more money than a
secretary. Granted, once I got the hang of it, I'm sure I could produce
an end document that was better written than one a secretary produced,
but why? The audience and shelf life for meeting minutes are both pretty
small, comparatively. Unless you're on a government contract and are
TRYING to spend money, it just doesn't make sense to throw a real tech
writer at a job like this.

Now, your definition of "minutes" may be different from mine, maybe (as
I suspect is the case with a lot of the men here) you haven't had this
happen to frequently enough that it's worth worrying about, or maybe you
really are secretaries. I don't know, and I really don't care.

I don't think anyone here said that they wouldn't share the notes they
took in a meeting with anyone who was interested, or that they had to
check their job description every time something needed to be done to be
sure the task wasn't beneath them.

Let me just suggest that, before you go calling people prima donnas, ask
yourself what your motivation is. I'm guessing your answer will fall
somewhere under either "ignorance" or "envy."

Lisa Higgins.
eilrh -at- ei -dot- lucent -dot- com

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