I’ve basically been a secretary since I was in college. I did work as a word processor for a few years, but for the most part I’ve been a secretary. You can call it what you want – administrative assistant, executive assistant, marketing assistant – it all means that I’m a secretary. I’m not ashamed of the word secretary – I don’t consider it old-fashioned. Yes, I do other things besides true secretarial work, but I do still answer phones, take messages, order supplies, type up letters, make appointments, and keep up with my bosses’ schedule. My current job has a lot of daily-weekly-month-quarterly reports that I have to deal with. A good portion of my job is doing the same thing every day, with the occasional fun project thrown in every now and again.
However, in 2014 I have the opportunity to do something outside the scope of being a secretary. My current top boss (I have 7 total bosses, four who report to one who then reports with another one to the top one) had a job change with the arrival of 2014 and she is now in charge of some very exciting things happening at our company. Rather than just being in charge of two departments and a large project, she is now in charge of five departments and a HUGE project that is going to be a major focus in 2014. It’s such a huge focus that a brand new team was put together specifically to address it – and my boss is one of the two top leaders of the team. She will be leading all of the departments directly relating to customer experience satisfaction, which is the number one priority of our company this year.
As a result, she has asked that I go from supporting seven bosses to supporting just her with some peripheral support for the other AVP on the team. Not only that, but from our talks it sounds as though the scope of my work is changing in a big way this year. Rather than simply being a secretary, I’ll be more like a project team member. Yes, I’ll be doing secretarial stuff to some degree, but the majority of my work will be project based. No more daily drudgery.
In addition that, one of my other current bosses works on two projects that are part of the new focus, so I’ll continue to work closely with her on two of the committees that fall under my top boss’s scope. Today she asked if I wanted to take a bigger role in working on those projects – a way to get more involved with system-wide initiatives. I’d go from merely typing presentations and sending out meeting minutes to helping facilitate the programs throughout the company. I told her I was definitely interested and she scheduled a meeting for Monday to go over her plans for my increased involvement.
I start the new job on Monday morning. It’s all very exciting and a huge change. I see it potentially leading the way to get out of being “just” a secretary and actually turning into something more corporate, more professional, and (dare I say it) more managerial? I know my top boss has my back – I’ve told her I’ll follow her to the ends of the earth, no matter how chaotic the ride. I know her star is ONLY rising at this company. She’s brilliant at what she does and has been making a name for herself among the top brass. So if I succeed in this new role, I absolutely see her getting rewarded and in turn rewarding me (as she has so many times in the past four years, with two promotions that came with some very nice raises, and various bonuses every now and again).
When I graduated from college in 1991 with a degree in Liberal Arts, an enjoyment of computers and the ability to type 100 wpm, I never dreamed I’d be anything more than a word processor/secretary. At one point I had an opportunity to go into pure IT work, but chose not to (despite the huge bucks I’d be earning now if I had gone that route). But now, in 2014, it’s quite possible that all those years have led me to this moment – a defining moment where I could have decided to stick with the secretarial status quo, or climb the first rung of the corporate ladder into something new and never look back.