Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The working life: If I'm going to be a secretary, I want to get overtime‏

I'm a little cranky. I'm at work and I don't have enough to do because my boss has been gone for a week and won't be back for days and I need to review a bunch of stuff with him before I take it further.

I always worry when I don't have enough to do. Will they eliminate my position? What will happen? That's when I start to look for more things to do. I'm not being paid to sit around and do nothing, you know. Although that is what I was paid for when I was temping at the World Bank. I would do two hours of work a day - deliver the mail, print out my boss' emails and key in his handwritten replies, send a fax or two - and then I would be bored. Bored, after I was shocked that one secretary whom I was replacing had bookmarked several porn sites on her work computer. I still wonder why they bothered to get a temp to fill those positions when the secretaries were on vacation. I still wonder why they had those positions to begin with.

So my boss is gone. I don't want to do a lot of work that it will turn out he didn't want. 

I am bored.

Yet. When the country manager for Malaysia asked me to make his hotel reservation (when I make mine) for our upcoming trip to the Middle East (oh yay! Another 13-hour flight!), I got all cranky.

I am not a secretary.

I have been. It wasn't a bad deal. Easy work for almost as much money as I take home now, with none of the responsibilities. (Obviously, I was a very low-level secretary. I know senior executive assistants have to be really on the ball and do a lot of hard work.)

As a temp secretary, I never had to prepare financial reports for the board of directors and sweat bullets worrying that I had made a mistake somewhere. The buck stops with me on the numbers at my job. I don't do the initial reports, but I am the person who takes the numbers from finance and moves them around and puts them in the format that my boss wants and the BoD wants and believe you me, it is easy for a number to go wrong in all that shuffling and in all the different reports I have to do that I have come to realize might not even be seen by anyone. Which I suppose is better than having someone use them and notice a mistake.

I am not a detail person. I am good with numbers and math, but I am not good with corporate math, which involves imaginary numbers. Not the square root of a negative number kind of imaginary, but corporate imaginary with crazy targets and frantic accounting. I am not good with putting together an initial strategic plan and then changing it 400 times and making sure each time that all the numbers roll up and tie. It is work to make a person insane.

Where was I? Oh. Right. Responsible for more than basic admin work, but not paid much more than basic admin wages.

I am bored.

But I am not bored enough to make a hotel reservation for the country manager of Malaysia.

I don't care that we are both going to the Middle East. I don't care that we are staying at the same hotel. He and I report to the same boss. We are peers. I am not his secretary. I cannot believe he had the nerve to ask me to do it.

And yet I will. Because how do you say no to that? "It's not my job?" I hate that phrase. "You have insulted me by asking me to do your menial work for you, work you are perfectly capable of doing yourself?" Does a male from that part of the world even understand why this would be insulting to me?

Better go. I have to make a hotel reservation.


Kimberlee Stiens said...

Oh, man, this is inspiring and depressing all at the same time.

webb said...

Next time you travel together, you send him an email that says, "Since I made the reservations last time, how about you make them this time. Thanks. "

Ain't much, but might make you feel better.

Class factotum said...

Kimberlee, I know. Because this is what women do, right?

Webb, I'll give that a shot!

Anonymous said...

I'm an executive assistant (or secretary, if you insist), but I don't get overtime, thank you very much; I've been on salary for years.

Class factotum said...

Anon, that's too bad! I would much rather not be exempt from being paid for working more than 40 hours a week!