Does Your Job Suck?
Fraysters celebrate Secretary's Day
Fray Editor, no stranger to clerical and administrative jobs, hasn't seen anything like it. "Keep Your Roses," Melonyce McAfee's cry of rage against Secretary's Day, has brought an avalanche of anecdotes crashing into the Fine Whine Fray. A representative of the IAAP, which sponsors Secretary's Day, writes in to defend the day against widespread attack.Best post of the Fray goes to BKC, for her scathing portrayal of office life for the professional (nonsecretarial) woman in the Neanderthal Age, circa 1980. But, taken as a whole, the Fray presents an encyclopedia of the petty indignities and quiet triumphs that mark American office life today:
I support about 20 people on my team and thankfully all will say thank you after I assist them with anything out of my normal duties. So, I guess that's where I am the lucky one. I got a card today and chocolates from only one person and you know what, I don't feel any different about the great people I work with. Just thankful to have a job! —attdgal
I am a Senior Medical Secretary for two internal medical doctors in a very large practice. I received a nice lunch from a local grocery store and a gift card for a "mini spa". This includes a facial, massage and pedicure. I feel very appreciated. Of course it does help my two doctors are both women and appreciate all the work I do. I stay late on most evenings and put in 40+ plus hours a week. I think Secretary's Day is great but it does cause unnecessary hard feelings.—marie957
I'm a legal administrative assistant. I have two bosses. Yesterday, I uploaded all the National holidays onto their outlooks calendars and set a reminder for today's event. Did I get a lunch out? No. Did I get a Starbucks gift card? No. Did I get a simple "thank you" No. Instead, I got to work through lunch.
I hear my predecessor (that I've been told I'm "10 times better than"), was showered with gifts in her day. I don't know if they just don't feel I qualify, or if they closed the pop up reminders without reading it, but I've been sad all day. —omnijess
I am the Personnel Assistant at a temporary staffing agency. We are the people that send out the temp. administrative professionals where they are needed. There was a party thrown and gifts, massages, etc. given to the temps that came to the party but nothing was done for me. Some of these people work one day every other week, while I'm at our office for 9 hours Mon-Fri. Talk about feeling under appreciated!— jessicablizzard
I was a legal secretary for 30 years. In one job an attorney whom I had worked for a number of years insisted on taking me to lunch on Secretaries Day. The other attorney usually gave me a Border's gift certificate for $75 and a small plant or flowers. Although the lunch wasn't really comfortable for me, it was, however, an extension of his respect and yes, even affection for me. He enjoyed the occasion. This was a man who never left the office at the end of the day without thanking me for my support that day.—kaci
Although I work for a temp agency, I have been in this Admin position at a large universal company for almost 4 years. The company I temp for is very good to me, but there are times (like today) when I feel like Mrs. Cellophane.
There are two ladies I share this position with. They have both been with the company many years. […] I, being the "McAnus" in the middle of these two butt cheeks, have kept my silence, honor, and politeness towards both of them and our boss/bosses (who have done nothing to fix this ridiculous situation). But today was Admin Day and the two ladies I work with received presents in pretty bags with festive paper sticking out. I, Mrs. Cellophane McAnus, nothing.—McAnus
I am a woman working in a male dominated field. I get kudos from my clients on a regular basis. I use this made up holiday as an opportunity to remember I have a team backing me up and I'd be nothing without their supportive attention to detail.—lilysmom
I was an office manager for almost 9 years and always felt like calling in sick on Secretary's Day. My boss's wife, who worked for the company part-time, would send me flowers signed from the two owners and then sometime during the day, one of my bosses would come up to my desk and say, "what's with the flowers? Is it your birthday or something?". I wish they had just given me what I really wanted - a genuine thank you and a raise!—Ricochet
One year my boss gave me a dozen beautiful red roses for secy's day, when the others were given nothing at all or some generic flower mix. He was told by his boss, have jokingly, half seriously, not to do that again because it made the rest of them look bad.—Liz-8
I work in an optometry office. Years ago the dr's wife sent us small bouquets for "secretaries day" even though we aren't really secretaries. I appreciated it and thanked the Dr. he said "it wasn't my idea, it was (wife's name) so I said "nevermind, then." He was really rude about it. So I don't care about it either. Why can't we be appreciative of each other all the time and not just once a year?—lucyloo
My bosses, I have three, give me the same thing every single year without fail. It is a giftcard to a local department store. All three make in the mid 6 figures, but the amount of the card usually toggles around $50-$60. The card is always written in my female supervisor's handwriting and they present it together to me with stern faces as if I am about to be put on punishment. Every year I smile, say thank you, glance over the notecard and smile again as they give me the generic "—msburch
Several years ago I had worked for twin brothers for quite some time and was usually taken to lunch by one of them on Secretary/Administrative Assistant Day. Well, this particular year both were to take me to lunch. To preface this, I had been having trouble with my teenage son at the time and was told by one of my bosses that it was OK to take time off to take care of everything. Unknown to me, one of the girls in the office was complaining because she thought she was having to do my job too often. Also one of the other bosses had just told me that I was a doing great job. The three of us get to the restaurant and order. Then they proceed to tell me what I was doing wrong and that I needed to be at the office as much as possible. It went on and on. I could barely eat lunch and it sure spoiled what could have been a nice time. When I got back, the boss who told me I was doing fine saw me and asked me what was wrong. He was surprised too. They sure lost a lot of admiration from me that day.—Notappreciated
My company just sent all of the secretaries, filers, registration, etc bouquets of flowers. And if they forgot one person the flower person had extra in her delivery truck to make sure everyone got them.—mae
I'm a secretary and I work for two individuals that rip me apart day after day. I catch there bad days, and really don't get much kindness on there good days either. Now, I'm forced to spend my lunch hour with them, I don't really like them, and really don't look forward to spending and hour or so mingling with them. I have nothing in common with them, and its awkward to say the least. I would much rather they ignore me on this day as they do the rest of the year! I think the perfect way to spend this day is to just be given the day off!—BoldlyGoingNowhere
While I was a student at New York University, I worked as an Administrative Asst for a popular woman's magazine. It was a hectic office with lots of competitiveness, back-stabbing and the like. However, I enjoyed a great working relationship with my manager. We respected each other, got along very well and--thankfully--never had any major disagreements.
Every year on Secretary's Day I would arrive and see on my desk a wonderful assortment of gifts--gift checks, fancy chocolates, coffee beans and something to wear. (I must include that maybe my being male made a difference.) My boss--a lady--would then take me out to a fabulous and expensive lunch just for the two of us. I rewarded her with excellent work and loyalty over the years & she spoiled me in return. The other assistants in the area would have an attitude but, then again, THEIR bosses didn't value them as much. In the end, I think, you get rewarded based on your performance, not just because it's a day marked on a calendar!!!—Enrique
At my company they deal with the sticky topic of "who to include" by lumping in the marketing team and including them with the AA staff in all the festivities - the marketing team includes a manager. I guess that should make me happy but my job requires a degree and an AA doesn't at my company....—yadda
I'm Office Mgr for a woman who doesn't have a clue - her "gifts" are so measly as to be offensive. This year? A small cardboard notebook & card. The Office Asst got one with a destroyed cover (where the $1 pricetag came off, probably). Guess I'll scribble "thanks" on a piece of the notebook paper and leave it in her in-box. Maybe she'd have done more if she knew that I'll be leaving as soon as I can...—vals
My boss has no clue who is what here in the office. He is not ashamed to ask for anything. He will ask anyone of the women in the office to make coffee or clean his office if he has important clients coming. I use to think I was above doing these trivial things because I was not hired to do this stuff. You have to look at your cup half full, not half empty. You think about people who's job is to make coffee all day and what they make per hour verses your salary, now don't you get paid pretty well to make that coffee? On Admin. Day my boss does not pick and choose. He is very fair about it. Guys you run the place. "Come on girls, I'm taking you all to dinner." So, yea, he might be a bit of a male chauvinist pig, but he is a fair one.—halseymd
I worked for a large corporation where the Human Resources Dept. had ordered numerous cheap, identical Secretaries Day bouquets delivered to the department secretaries. I happened to be in the hospital giving birth to my first child that day. Instead of sending me flowers to acknowledge my new baby, my cheapskate boss had my Secretaries Day flowers diverted to the hospital. Standing out amid all the cute baby bouquets in my hospital room was a cheap bouquet that read Happy Secretaries Day. The jerk's only comment when I called and told him my baby had been born was, "Who's going to type the Annual Operating Plan?"—Loulu
I got Shari's Berries for Administrative Professional's Day, so yahoo!! I thought at first they were from my boyfriend, and I was wondering what the occasion was, when my boss said "They're from me! It's Administrative Professionals Day!" What a great surprise. =) He's a great boss (I type as he reads over my shoulder ... lol) No he really IS a great boss. =) The best I've had, hands down.—Emz
I'm a PhD student who refused to live on the slave wages that the grad school offered me for funding. So I found a job with fairly nice people who are willing to work around my school schedule. Sometimes its a little demeaning to make copies for people that are my intellectual and educational equals. I also have a hard time taking the job as seriously as some of my colleagues do. But its an okay gig and this isn't the only thing I'm ever going to do in my life. My attitude about Secretaries Day is simple: I appreciate the fact that my bosses took time to buy me a little something and say that they appreciate the work that I do. They didn't have to do it.—funkgenie
What did I get from the boss? Nothing from her. One of her subordinates, who talks wistfully of the days in which she had secretaries, (note plural) gave me a perennial calendar in a cheap wood frame that comes unbolted from its base every time I change the page. The woman is notorious for giving away items after cleaning out her closets. The calendar should have stayed in the closet.—Splendid_IREny
I work for a large law firm, with lots of Secretaries, Admins and, like me, just general support staff. Instead of leaving it to individuals to celebrate (and cause jealousy) they have a list of prizes, food and sometimes games planned for the week. Mostly a LOT of food. Anyone, including management is invited to eat and participate in games. Everyone but lawyers and upper management are eligible for prizes. In the midst of stuffing ourselves, I doubt anyone notices if "Mary" got a bouquet and they did not. — debbieae
This brought back memories of the year everyone in the secretary pool got a potted plant, a $5 off dinner (for 2 or more) certificate, and the office ordered in a catered lunch. Attendance was mandatory. The following Friday we were "reminded" to adjust our time cards for our long lunch! My present supervisor quietly leaves a thank you note and small box of candy on each of our desks on Secretaries Day, and expects business as usual. I much prefer it.—mgcontrary
I am a receptionist and I have never expected anything for this day and then when I do get something it is a really nice surprise. This year every assistant and administrative worker received some very lovely tiger lilies. Mine are the only ones that are not open yet. Some other people have made comments that I might have gotten screwed out of my flower, but I know different. I try and look at it more optimistically. When everyone else's flowers are dead and dying mine will be in full bloom.—crystalrosebelle
Come and commiserate in the Fine Whine Fray. GA … 3:20am PST
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
In Memoriam. As a committed New Urbanist (living in Los Angeles, no less), FrayEditor05 was joined in sadness with other readers over the death of urban planner/activist Jane Jacobs, eulogized in this elegant obituary by Witold Rybczynski.
VIVA_NOLA writes: "I hope that in remembrance of Jane Jacobs we fight to maintain the integrity of New Orleans, a great American city that had the character she wrote about."
In her own words, denverherbie describes Jane Jacob's legacy:
I'm only a few chapters into Death and Life (I mean seriously, she loved sidewalks!) but her vision for cities remains beautiful to this day. Every city planning book since D&L must acknowledge her work, even if they disagree with her.
Her thesis always seemed to hinge on one thing: involvement. Design a street/city/block so that people can be involved... so that people MUST be involved. Our American individualism has drifted to points so extreme, that people can't stand being involved with others... thus sprawl.
And with sprawl comes the disconnect: Why should I bother with "them?" Why should I care? I think that's the saddest part... people have been given permission to move to the suburbs and check out of community participation (voting on acceptable house colors in the HOA doesn't count, rallying your neighbors to help keep your streets safe does).
She called to care about others... to live for things bigger than ourselves... but mostly for beauty, as it expresses itself on your street.
Inspired by Jacobs, BenK offers his own manifesto on "zoning, planning, and city death" here.
Any of your thoughts would be much appreciated over in obit. AC … 7:03pm PDT
Adam Christian is co-editor of the Fray.