This is an interview I conducted with my friend, Aaron, a professional secretary. Just so everyone knows, Aaron is female.
Why did you decide to become a secretary?
Aaron: Hmmm, well as a kid I always loved organizing papers and playing with office stuff. Strangely my papers at home now are so unorganized it’s not even funny. I remember thinking I needed a job but not sure where to start, and being a secretary looked fun to try in my early twenties.
What training/education did you receive to become a secretary?
Aaron: I already had a good deal of experience with a computer, after playing with it for years for fun, which actually helped as I was already familiar with the usual programs. I then went to Traviss for the administrative assistant program, figuring it’d give me a sort of edge since I didn’t have experience up until that point, and also to see if there was more for me to learn. Clearly there was. I had great fun in school and it was a year course, although you graduate when you finish, and I finished in around 7 months.
What do your current job duties entail?
Aaron: General taxes, phone, filing, letters, dealing with clients, ordAarong stuff, maintaining bills, computer work – excel, quickbooks, access, etc. I do the payroll for the small amount of employees we have.
What do you do when your boss gets bossy?
Aaron: He’s generally not too bad but sometimes he goes in huge temper surges. When this happens I try to ignore it at first but sometimes we do argue. Just par for the course, I suppose. I don’t just sit there and take it when he becomes too unreasonable. However, he doesn’t get moody much anymore and we get along well in general.
Where have you worked as a secretary?
Aaron: I started temping for two weeks at an insurance company as a machine transcriptionist. Following that I worked as a receptionist for a temporary agency, then at Plant City City Hall. I didn’t last long at either of the last jobs, as I found being a receptionist who answers phone and does nothing else is not my cup of tea. I also worked at the local hospitals billing department as a filing clerk, filling in, and at Southern Homes filling in. For permanent jobs I was the assistant to a paralegal at a law firm dealing with injury cases, and now work as the office manager at a pool construction company.
Do you think the job of a secretary is sexist?
Aaron: No, not really. I know of male assistants, although they generally do other duties outside secretarial. I notice most men expect women to be secretaries, though. I remember my boss had a male secretary briefly before I came, and some of the guys made fun of that.
My boss is very un-sexist. I don’t even do coffee. He did send me one time to buy toilet paper for his boat at Wal-Mart though. lol I think he would have done that with a male secretary too (although I could be wrong).
Have your jobs utilized both computers and the old paper-pushing equally as much or have computers taken over most of the tasks now?
Aaron: My current boss had a horrible office structure, as that’s how some men are if left to their own devices. Not even a filing system and an ancient computer. I have brought most things to the computer world, now, including the contact database into access, and now all our billing is done in QuickBooks. He had it originally done on pen-drawn ledgers.
Okay, I’m all out of serious questions, so these last three are a bit less serious. *ahem*
Funniest moment as a secretary?
Aaron: Funniest? Hmm, I would say when I was at the law firm. They were hiring a second secretary, and since David the business manager had posted as some of the free listing sites online, he was getting strange interviews that left Patricia (the paralegal) and I cracking up. We decided when he was out one day to post a fake resume on his desk. We used a real application we had gotten of a woman prison guard and added a manly picture at the top. The reason being because she had incorrectly spaced the resume header, leaving ample room for a picture as if it was meant to be there. It was hilarious to see his reaction.
How many men have told you that secretaries are sexy? (Well, besides me.)
Aaron: A few, men seem to have something about secretaries a little.
Be honest, how much time do you spend web surfing instead of working? (I promise not to tell your bosses.)
Aaron: LOL Well sadly I can’t web surf much at my current company because we have the evil dial-up. When I’m caught up with work and bored I may browse a few minutes.