I cringe any time I have to tell somebody what my job is.
“I’m an administrative assistant at blahblahblah.”
Because I know how that comes across. In fact, I was on date number 1 with D when he started making cracks about me being “just a secretary.”
And now it’s been on my mind.
Probably a little bit more so after the events of Wednesday morning.
If you were on Twitter, you saw that I was a little worried that a mistake I made would cost me my job. I was pretty sure that the work I’ve put in for the last year and a half would supersede this little mistake, but still…I wasn’t 100% sure. A client called in pissed about the mistake I’d made. So my boss brings me in and we talk to her on speakerphone (which, by the way, I hate more than anything else in the office). I apologize. I own up to my mistake. I apologize again. I don’t even bother giving her excuses, because I don’t think it matters. Yes, I did this wrong. Yes, I am very sorry. End game.
But it’s not enough.
She rails on, and by the tone of her voice, I know what she is thinking.
She’s just a little secretary. She doesn’t know anything. An idiot could do this job, and she can’t even do it right. She must be a moron.
I might just be a little overly sensitive about it, but knowing she is thinking something like that really kills me.
Because I’m not “just a secretary.” I don’t sit around answering phones while I do my nails and flip through gossip magazines.
I help keep this office running. When the office manager had a stroke over a year ago, I took on all of her duties. When the training coordinator quit a few months ago, I took on all of her duties. And even before either one of those events, I still played my role in making sure things ran smoothly. Especially any interactions between our consultants and the customers. I never “just answered the phones.” If that was all I did, I would tell my boss to pay me less because it would be a waste of his money to pay someone just to answer a phone that rarely rings more than 10 times a day.
Okay, I wouldn’t really have him pay me less. In fact, whenever I feel like I don’t have enough to do, I always go to the boss and the consultants and beg them to give me more work. I like earning my paycheck.
I wanted to reach through the phone and throttle this woman. I wanted to scream at her that this is the 21st century. I don’t know anybody who wouldn’t be offended at being called “just a secretary”, or it being implied that any idiot could do her job (administrative or otherwise). I wanted to invite her into my office for just a day to see what I do to keep this company running. I wanted to wave my degree in her face. I must not be too stupid if I have a college degree, right?
Or maybe I’m just making a big deal out of nothing. It’s hard to tell if my frustration is because I know I do more than my job title implies, or because I know I could be more than my job title is.
I was going to put a disclaimer here to avoid offending anybody, but I changed my mind. This isn’t geared towards other people. This is geared towards me. So take it as you will.