How does a secretary improve your working life?
November 17, 2008 3:05 PM Subscribe
I've just started a new job and have inherited a secretary. What should I be asking her to do? I've never had a secretary before, so I'm at a loss as to how I should be using her skills and experience.
posted by finding.perdita to Work & Money (22 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I started a new job last Monday, and on Thursday my boss said "oh, I forgot to tell you, K is your secretary." I asked what that meant, and she said "To be honest, I don't know what she did for M (my predecessor, who left 6 months ago). K is close to retirement, so we don't want to make her redundant, so you just need to find things to keep her busy. She's not good at taking minutes though, so don't ask her to do that. She's an old-school type secretary." I have no idea what she's been doing for the last 6 months.
I had a brief chat with K today, apologised that I hadn't made time for her last week, and have a meeting scheduled on Wednesday to discuss her role and how she can support me / the team. But I need some ideas!
I've never had a secretary before so I have no idea what to expect from K. She's helpful and friendly, and competent on MS Office type applications (I think) and willing to contribute - I don't get the impression that she's happy doing nothing (but given my boss' comments, she's probably unwilling to admit how little she does at the moment, in case redundancy looms) But I want her to feel useful and valued - and I'm certainly up for anything that will reduce my workload!
- I touch type and almost never send letters (everything's via email)
- I've never done dictation - I think that I'd type something much more quickly myself than if I dictated it (and I revise a lot as I'm going)
- She's a secretary not a personal assistant, so picking up drycleaning etc isn't on the cards
- The 2 national forums that I chair on a regular basis are organised by the departmental administrator, not her
- I have lots of meetings, often around the country. Would a secretary book tickets for me? Print out and collate meeting materials? (But that still wouldn't be enough to sustain a fulltime post)
- What else would a secretary do?
- I have a small team, so I'm happy for her to become a team secretary rather than a personal secretary
Any suggestions / personal experiences would be welcomed!