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Oh those evil secretaries

August 26, 2009

Ok ok, not every secretary or PA (personal assistant) is evil. I admit I’m biased here because truthfully, I miss my ex boss’s secretary in Singapore. Well, more specifically her home-made goodies. Cookies, cake, you name it. Yum. Skinny-ass guys like me can be bribed. 😀

But as I said in a previous post, ask around in the office – who do you think is the most powerful person in the company? Chances are, the secretary to the CEO will come up high on the list.

I don’t know why but I’ve seen even senior managers and VPs avoiding entanglements with some secretaries, presumably over their alleged political clout in the office.

So how true is this tale about secretaries being powerful corporate lords in disguise, the real godfathers behind the business like how the evil illuminati controls the world? Ahem.

Well, let me pose a few questions that might help answer this.

Question one. Let’s just say you are a secretary who’s smart enough to run the company. Well if you can influence the boss to do at your bidding, then I assume you’re smart enough to run a company. So why settle for a dingy salary as a PA? Why not go the whole hog and run for the CEO post? At least you get the company car and driver, way better than that clunker you potter around in, right? Not to mention the money and glamor that comes with the position. 🙂

Question two. How likely do you think are seasoned CEOs – those shrewd survivors from the trenches – to promoting or firing people merely on gossip? Do you suppose CEOs feel immune to malpractice suits?

Question three. What if I told you that you had a hand in creating the illusion of this super powerful secretary that you loathe so much? Even if its true rather than imagined, by not filing a grievance case against what you felt are unfair obstructions to your career, are you not rewarding an offensive behavior and emboldening it by letting it go unchallenged? Or did you stop yourself because you believe the company would rather ignore your complaint and risk a legal malpractice complaint, particularly after you’ve built a thick file of evidence of the dragon lady’s naughtiness against you?

Let me say it up front. I think corporate godfathers who dress up like secretaries are like bigfoot. They don’t exist. It only seems real because you haven’t got the guts to go and poke the illusion to see if its real. Yes, the problem is you. You’ve let guilt by association (to the CEO’s office) play mind games on you. By letting the rumor mill dictate your work life, you’ve helped create this legendary creature and given it powers it never had.

If only you could see thru a flycam what most personal assistants do in real life. They take notes, get coffee, file letters, make calls, organize communications, meetings & travel, pass messages. And occasionally give an opinion. That’s it. Nothing ominously creepy.

Yes, some PAs smell the fear in all of you and put on that swagger. I guess its fun to be able to say I’m from the CEO’s office, you can’t touch me. How to bust through the charade and find facts? How about this. Go straight to the CEO and ask if this fear of yours is real. I’m sure he or she would appreciate a little honesty every now and then and if the CEO lies, it puts him or her on notice that people are watching. And please, stop believing that CEOs are untouchables who can just ignore evidence of malpractice. No one spends 30 years building up a reputation and then flush it down the toilet over an administrative assistant’s stunt unless he’s a real idiot.

I’ll tell you another thing. In these times, CEOs are a dime a dozen and nothing puts them out of business faster than a track record of poor judgement.

If you ask me, I think secretaries and PAs are just like you and me. They are paid to do a job. They have egos. They sometimes leech off a power source close to them to appear bigger than they really are. You do drop names to impress people every now and then don’t you? And just like you and me, they too can be exposed for the charade they play. Its really not that hard to do

So I hope the person who asked me this question last week is reading this. 🙂

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 26, 2009 9:05 pm

    well , a PA could probably do what a CEO does .
    But , a PA will never have ..

    “that public figure” image . If you know what i mean

    Public image? Don’t know what u mean.. coz there are a number of good women CEOs around.

  2. August 27, 2009 8:35 am

    maybe all those movies showing the PAs having some scandalous affairs with the CEOs don really do the real PAs any justice? 😛 😛 😛

    and also most PAs are not as seductive as they appeared in those movies.

    on a more serious note, PAs are like every other employees in the company. they can be powerful if you make them so. for example, a new manager can come in and everyone says that he is the boss’ brother’s auntie’s cousin’s grandson. and he has such a big influence over the CEO so everyone else needs to be afraid of him….and be careful whenever he’s around.

    gossip…gossip.

    in the end, the guy is nothing but an employee.

    Yeah, its interesting how much people are willing to believe in rumor. But then, stock markets also go up and down on rumor and fortunes made and lost on the same. If rumor = reality, then think of all the stuff around you that probably started off as a rumor. 🙂

  3. September 7, 2009 1:32 am

    wtf happened ? died ?

    Hey dude, I’m alive and kicking. Been travelling. Just returned from Hong Kong yesterday. 🙂

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