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Why do bosses still have secretaries?

October 24, 2008

What do personal secretaries do?

From the job descriptions that I’ve seen, they mostly type, filter calls, organize visitors for the boss, sort out the boss’s mail, and organize his work schedule.

Before the days of word processing, people used typewriters. Your wpm rate (word per minute) was important. So was shorthand. Then personal voice recorders came and killed shorthand. Word processors came and killed the typewriter. Soon, voice-to-text conversion will come and kill typing altogether.

What about gatekeeping? Filtering calls to keep the boss free of unsolicited distractions. Taking messages when he’s not in. Cellphones have changed all that. Bosses now have their cell numbers printed on their biz cards. People bypass the gatekeeper and call up the boss directly. If he won’t take the call, voicemail will take a message.

Sorting out the mail? Does anyone actually print and send correspondence by post anymore? There’s a wonderful invention called email. Its faster. The stuff the postman brings – thats usually unsolicited junk mail that gets binned anyway.

Organizing work schedule? Online diaries take care of that. It doesn’t take the boss 10 seconds to scan his pda for meeting conflicts and reschedule. For reminders, he’s got a choice between his phone and the diary applications on the intranet.

So, does your boss have a personal secretary?

With all these things completely doable by computer, minus the attitude problem some secretaries suffer from, have you ever asked your boss why he or she still needs a secretary?

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 24, 2008 10:04 am

    Just want to feel important without bothering the small little stuff? 😀

    An expensive way to feed the boss’s ego, haha.

  2. October 24, 2008 10:08 am

    Yes, someone has to know how much sugar to put in his coffee and when he needs his daily caffeine dose.

    One of our big guys has a rotweiler in disguise. You can’t get into his office without answering all the questions correctly.

    Our CEO had one whom we referred to as the Royal Secretary. But then, one of her duties was to scrutinize & book all executives’ overseas flights. Imagine our frustrations when we needed to travel…

    Must be nice to have a personal tea lady. I could easily write a program to present 20 questions to a visitor. If 100% correct, then open door. I guarantee it’ll be cheaper than hiring a live gatekeeper.

    If putting a doberman in charge of travel arrangement keeps away frivolous travel expenses, maybe there’s some use for it.

  3. October 24, 2008 10:17 am

    So he can screw the secretaries behind their wives back.

    If its to keep the boss’s morale up, that would fall under entertainment which is budgeted under staff welfare.

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