She sits at the front desk but rarely gets noticed.
She's the woman who answers the phone. She knows where the files are, knows where the extra pencils are stashed, knows the office inside out. But she often is overlooked.
This week, employers take the time to recognize the women -- and men -- who really run corporate America. They're the ones who make the appointments, order the supplies and keep offices running smoothly.And the flower and greeting-card industries want employers to take the time just to say "thanks."
Yes, it's that time of year again when secretaries are nationally recognized for their hard work and support. On Wednesday, bosses all across the nation are supposed to remember their secretaries.
But someone, at some time, mysteriously changed Secretary's Day into Secretaries Week, and so secretaries will be recognized all this week.
In Anne Arundel County, secretaries aren't just being recognized. Some are taking the day off with pay, while others will be wined and dined by their employers, or simply receive a small gift of appreciation.
CDI Temporary Services Inc. is offering free temporary help tobusinesses on Wednesday. By hiring temps, companies can continue running smoothly but still reward their own secretaries with time off.
In return, the temporary help will be recognized by CDI. The company's staff plans to visit the job sites with gifts for their employees.
"It's a wonderful way to salute secretaries," said Tracey Walter, account representative for CDI, "because they really are the foundation to a lot of companies' successes."
The YMCA of Anne Arundel County and the North Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce are also showing their appreciation this week at the sixth annual Secretary's Day Luncheon. The luncheon will be Wednesday at the Rose Restaurant, inside the Comfort Inn on Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard.
The luncheon will kick off with a buffet, followedby a fashion show featuring styles from Gantos and Casual Corner.
Fleet Business School in Annapolis, which provides instruction in a variety of disciplines such as microcomputers and word processing, will offer a two-hour seminar from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Friday.
The seminar will feature a fashion show, makeover tricks and tips on professional advancement. The school will also provide refreshments and door prizes.
Employers who don't have the time to recognize their secretaries with lunch or a vacation bonus can always resort to sending flowers.
Pat Hornberger, secretary for the vice president of studentservices at Anne Arundel Community College, recalls one year when she got a different flower arrangement every day of the week.
"It was really thoughtful," she said. "So many times your boss doesn't havethe opportunity to say 'Thank you,' and appreciating your secretary on Secretary's Day is a great way to make up for the times missed."
But what makes a secretary so important to the office?
"A lot ofpeople think you're just a secretary," explained Walter, "but you have a million people pulling you a million different ways. Without a secretary, the office severely lacks administrative organization."
For those who still are unsure about what a secretary wants, Walter has a suggestion. She believes all secretaries deserve an extra day off with pay.
Although some secretaries might yearn for such benefits, others think Wednesday could turn into just another working day.
"I never expect anything," said one secretary at Anne Arundel Community College. She paused for a minute and then quipped, "although flowers would be nice."