Re: more #$ -at- %#^&$# secretary stuff

Subject: Re: more #$ -at- %#^&$# secretary stuff
From: Jill Burgchardt <jburgcha -at- PESTILENCE -dot- ITC -dot- NRCS -dot- USDA -dot- GOV>
Date: Wed, 13 May 1998 09:56:43 -0600

Tim Altom said it best:

"It depends on who you trust."

I wouldn't hesitate to take notes or run copies in my current
position, but I've had jobs where I've avoided it like the plague.
Being asked in a situation with a new employer or new client would
make me cautious (not paranoid, just careful).

Last week I completed a task with a nearly impossible deadline.
Toward the end, co-workers were bringing me meals to my desk and
the project manager (client) stood at the copy machine for 8 hours
getting all the packages ready for our beta sites. Everyone
helped. Bottom line: I trust these people to treat me as a
professional and I respect their skills. When I'm the one with
free time, I'll do whatever I can to show them equal
consideration. (I love this job!)

As technical communicators, we learn to understand both verbal and
non-verbal nuances of communication. Sometimes a request to do
clerical work is threatening, sometimes not. Because the whole
secretarial work issue deals with nuances more often than
blatantly obvious facts, it's very hard to judge a situation by
the contents of a post.

Job respect is something we all deal with. Ultimately, we each
have to figure out how we present ourselves as professionals IN A
SPECIFIC ENVIRONMENT to insure that we are treated as
professionals. Usually, but not always, being one is enough. If
there are misperceptions about our role, we may need to define our
roles more narrowly or point to salary/professional trappings
until we establish ourselves in the environment. Once again, it's
audience adaptation.

Jill Burgchardt
jburgcha -at- pestilence -dot- itc -dot- nrcs -dot- usda -dot- gov

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