This week, bosses everywhere will be ordering flowers an making restaurant reservations in an attempt to let their secretaries know what they've known for a long time -- that without their hard work, patience, dedication and considerable skills, most offices would sink into total chaos in about 14 seconds.
Secretaries Day is a nice custom and a good idea, but it doesn't go far enough. This April 21, I think we should thank not only our own secretaries, but the ones we know who work for other bosses. You're the ones who make it possible for us to get in touch with your bosses -- and sometimes make it unnecessary for us to do so.
You're the one who knows if the boss is a bad-tempered bear in the morning or (although you'd never say so) usually too hung-over to be of much use. And when his busiest times are. And whether he's likely to say "yes" to the request we're about to make or have an answer to the question we're about to ask.
Often, your discreet (but clear) hints about the worst times to contact your boss improve our chances of having a successful meeting with him or her and save us untold hours of wasted time and frustration.
You know who the real movers and shakers are in your department, too, and how best to communicate with them. You know the people we should talk to in other departments -- who's powerful and who isn't, who's good at cutting through red tape and getting things done, and who's likely to go by the book.
Often you make the one phone call that saves us from having to make five, or take the time to tell us that we should be searching for what we want in another department, or another company altogether.
You know how to get your boss's attention in a way that's helpful to us when we're trying to see her, too, sometimes by the timing of the appointment you make for us, sometimes by the way you introduce us or present her with our resumes, sales pitches, etc.
Where would we be without you? You're a goodwill ambassador for your boss and company, the first voice we hear and face we see. Long before we begin to form an impression of your boss and company, we form one of you -- and nine times out of 10, it's excellent.
Most of you work harder than you have to, for less money and less appreciation than you deserve. Too often you're taken for granted by your bosses and by the rest of us. Too often you're treated like a personal servant instead of the dedicated, hard-working, skilled professional that you are.
This Secretaries Day, let's take the time to let not only our own secretaries know how much we appreciate them, but the second-most-important secretaries in our lives, as well -- those who work for someone else, but every day make our jobs easier.