Secretary’s work


Архивоведение и делопроизводство

Professional receptionist (квалифицированный секретарь) is an irreplaceable assistant (помощник руководителя) to the head and face of the company. Secretary’s job is a good school of life and a great launching pad (стартовая площадка) to start a career.



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Secretary’s work

In common parlance, word “secretary” is often used to refer to a few occupations: secretary, administrative assistant (секретарь-референт), office manager, translator. But it’s worth saying that the word “secretary” is derived from the Latin word “secret”. The secretaries of Ancient Rome were called trustees (доверенные лица). Initially (первоначально), they were men. Secretary’s profession began to take a woman’s face with the invention of a typewriter in 1880 (the requirement was print speed 4 pages in a minute), and there were almost no male secretaries by the end of the First World War. Although nowadays we are able to see sometimes advertisements like “Wanted slim literate (грамотный) man for work as assistant manager (помощник руководителя)”.

[As I’ve mentioned secretary’s work of the 20th century I’d like to show a video belonging to 1932 which is not actual for nowadays but there is an “Ideal conception” of the work of that time.]

Secretary’s profession is considered as one of the most dangerous and challenging (cложный) office jobs. Then, why is amount of young girls willing going to secretaries?

Professional receptionist (квалифицированный секретарь) is an irreplaceable assistant (помощник руководителя) to the head and face of the company. Secretary’s job is a good school of life and a great launching pad (стартовая площадка) to start a career.

There are 3 “scenarios” («сценарий») of a career development according to experts. The first is “vertical growth” or professional advancement within the company (продвижение внутри компании). As one is proven (зарекомендован), he or she is able to become a “right hand” of director. Second, the so-called “horizontal growth” is a moving to another position or department. Former secretaries often move into personal management, logistics and foreign trade. And the third way is moving to another company when secretaries, who don’t see any prospects and get small salary, leave small firms, acquire knowledge and experience and claim for a worthier job (более достойная/стоящая работа).

So, what specialist is wanted to work? It is preferably (предпочтительно) a woman with presentable appearance, pleasant voice, good taste and manners. But directors who are really interested in prestige of his company never recruit a beautiful but incompetent secretary. She must be able to solve problems to a matter of minutes (за считанные минуты) and even guess and warn all boss’s errors, understanding all his foibles («тараканы»). It’s not even “3 in 1”. In addition, some employers want to have a secretary with experience of contracting (заключение договоров), distribution of prices (рассылка прайсов), organization of exhibitions, having a driver’s license. There is even higher mathematical education among the demands of an employer. As a result, we have more actual for nowadays work of PA (personal/administrative assistant) which has to combine all token points.

Well, the basic set of the requirements can be represented as follows:

-spectacular appearance (эффектная внешность)

-dealing promptly with correspondence

-being methodical with a good eye for detail

-knowledge although one foreign language

-good speeds (высокая скорость печати)

-know all whereabouts with internal and external telephones and all stationery (канцтовары) [I’m not going to mark each one ‘cause it can be fatiguing (утомительно) for you]

-own office equipment and computer (more by this token, big offices generate lots of waste paper, and a shredder is useful when there are confidential materials to be shredded)

-experience in organization of business meetings

-stress tolerance, sociability, mobility, responsibility (стрессоустойчивость, коммуникабельность, ответственность).

As every profession, secretary’s job has its pros and cons. On the one hand, there is a good starting position, wide range of communication, experience of organizing activities. But some experts include secretary’s job in a list of the most dangerous ones. The danger is in hot coffee or a well-polished glass door (хорошо отполированная стеклянная дверь) which can be simply ignored in a hurry (не замечена в спешке).  There are also often overtime work without extra pay. Besides, there is a risk to get bored in small companies or visa-versa: a secretary must work for different specialists. There is also duty of looking presentable regardless of circumstances or difficulties in balancing of work and family.

To make my project not so boring and dull I have found some facts that can be maybe amusing for you.

  1.  Scribes and chronicles (писари и летописцы) can be considered as first secretaries in Russia. They were obligated to write under dictation royal orders. Nestor was the most famous of them created well-known «Повесть временных лет». But the official secretary post appeared in Russia in the 18th century. In 1720 Peter the First issued an order according to which there were some strict requirements as aristocratic birth or high education. Then Catherine the Second has improved the order.
  2.  The next fact is that “yellow press” appeared due to secretary of King Louis the 11th who began to write the history of the manners in court (истории о нравах при дворе). The result was book “Scandalous Chronicle”.
  3.  It’s rather surprising that well-known correcting pen (liquid paper) was invented by an American secretary Betty Graham who saw 2 painters (маляры) at work on her way at work. The enterprise she has founded brought her $47 million.
  4.  There are some glorious (знаменитые) people who were secretaries in different times. They are Agatha Christy, Bill Gates' secretary who become his wife, Mihail Glinka, Joan Rowling, Russian politician Mihail Speranskiy.
  5.  By the way, there is an International Secretary’s Day which is celebrated on April,23 since 1952 in the United States by all office workers.

[I’ll show another video. Maybe there are no new facts for you but there is a common extract about the work.]

To sum up, it’s everyone’s own choice where to work, but one must recognize and estimate all points of his potential job in a clear way.


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