Re: secretaries' day

Subject: Re: secretaries' day
From: Krista van Laan <vanlaan -at- GAMGEE -dot- NTC -dot- NOKIA -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 24 Apr 1998 12:53:11 +0300

I'm coming in a bit late on the Secretaries' Day thread, but I haven't
seen this angle addressed, which has to do not with being asked to
do admin work for people, but actually having the responsibilities of
your job changed.

At one time, I was the lone writer/document manager at a company that
had gone to a lot of expense and trouble to revamp its
documentation. Before that, their manuals had been written by a
secretary, and while they weren't bad, they weren't what the company
needed as the product increased its customer base.

After a while, the guy who had hired me left, and one of
the engineers became director. He hadn't been involved with documentation
since the days of the secretary, and he automatically thought of me
as a typist-- not a writer, not a planner, not a decision-maker.
He excluded me from important meetings, he neglected to see that I
received information that I had been accustomed to getting, he put
another level of management above me (a guy who felt the same way)
and he took away much of the authority I had had. He still expected
the same amount and quality of work, but I was often prevented from
getting information I needed to do it.

The type of decision-making responsibility a secretary
has is totally different from that of a project manager or a
technical writer, and that is what would bother me most. If it's your
boss who thinks you're a secretary, or someone close to your boss,
or anyone who can affect the attitudes of others around you, the
assumption can definitely harm your job.

And if it's not your boss who thinks this, but the mistake is not
addressed immediately and it spreads, then you really do run the risk
of insulting secretaries because you have to deal with people
repeatedly (instead of once) who ask you to type for them or do other
administrative tasks.

Nip it in the bud, Melissa!

Krista Van Laan Phone: 358 9 511 23684
Nokia Telecommunications Oy GSM: 040 569 2819
Hiomotie 5 FIN-00380 Fax: 358 9 511 23554
Helsinki, Finland Email: krista -dot- vanlaan -at- ntc -dot- nokia -dot- com

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