Laura Parrino Byxbe’s Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘Administrative professional

A great Administrative Professional is hard to find/wonderful to have

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I work with a wonderful partner. Melanie Weston is our Office Administrator, and she devotes herself to ensuring our office is a smooth-running, happy place.

Like most hard-working Administrative Assistants (AA), she doesn’t get a lot of acknowledgement. Of course, once a year, on Secretary’s Day, we say thanks. But the rest of the time, this much maligned job is subject to criticism and micromanagement. Like Rodney Dangerfield, “I get no respect.” Maybe it’s because it’s traditionally a “women’s job,” and a subservient one as well.

Did you know that men dominated the field until the 20th century? The role arose out of the natural need for a prominent person to whom confidential matters could be entrusted and who could act as an assistant for a principal. There were secretaries in Rome, usually educated men who took dictation as “scribes,” and oftentimes acted as trusted advisors.

Men dominated clerical and secretarial roles until the late 1880s, and it was the advancement of technology that opened the doors to women. The typewriter was the most significant development, and not many people know that the first commercial  typewriter was invented in Milwaukee.  With the invention of the adding and calculating machine  and the telephone, and the breaking down of  cultural taboos after World War I, women began to work outside the home, and enrolled in the growing numbers of secretarial schools. The demand for secretaries was so great that it outpaced the supply. Eventually, the number of men with the title secretary dwindled, and in the 1930’s women dominated the office workforce.

Melanie is the glue that keeps it all together here at the Right Management office. She’s cheerful, tries to be proactive, and makes us look good.  She really tries to make my job easier, and for that I am eternally grateful.    I gave her a plant on Secretary’s Day, but owe her much more.


Written by Laura Parrino Byxbe

May 6, 2011 at 7:10 pm