How to Use Your Secretary
Stop Doing My Job.
I remember the day all so well. I found myself at the copy machine. Right when I was about to hit the ‘start’ button with my pointer finger, there she was. “What are you doing,” she asked with a puzzled look. I thought it was a trick question. So I responded with a sort of ‘question’ tone, “Making 20 copies of these documents.” She fired back, “But that’s my job.” I stood there not knowing what to do with my finger. Before I knew she was standing between me and the copy machine. Since it was a little awkward, I made my way back to the office. I had had secretaries before, or perhaps not.
People would arbitrarily drop by my office, at will, and she like a football player, would intercept them saying, “Can I help you?” Before you knew she not only had me trained, but others too. They would call her to see if I was available.
One day she came in and saw the condition of my desk and before you knew it I had labeled green, red, orange and blue folders on my desk. She taught me how to use them. The mail that always was delivered to me was now seized, sorted, assembled, reassigned or trashed.
In the morning, she would go over what she was going to do and the meetings I had scheduled. She would always alert me when I was to be in a meeting, “Carla, your meeting starts in ’30.’ Do you have everything you need?”
On occasion I would have to send out computer maintenance notices. Before I knew it she had assumed that role too.
When I called meetings, she would naturally take minutes. At the end of the meetings, was a task list table with assignments. At the next follow-up meeting, we would review the task list. How’s that for efficiency?
If I traveled, she would arrange all accommodations, even if my husband was also to attend. I had everything including an itinerary. By the way, did I tell you I didn’t have to ask her to do any of this?
Let Me Make You Look Good
When I would have to prepare presentation for the president and his staff, although it was my job to research, collect and assess data and make recommendations, my presentations would be ‘WOWED’ by her skill set and knowledge of certain software. In addition she would prepare professional looking booklets for all who would be in attendance.
This was too good to be true. There was only one rule – one pet peeve and that was that I keep her in the ‘know’ with everything. Yes, it was an adjustment and after brief period of time, it was my pleasure to do this.
She taught me to stay in my lane and how to best use the help available so that I could be more productive, working on the assignments I was being paid to do.
I am not too proud to share with you that I really had no idea how to use administrative support to my advantage. I am grateful to have been taught by the best in her field.