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Thread: Secretaries/Office Administrators/Executive Assistances

  1. #1
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    Secretaries/Office Administrators/Executive Assistances

    Well, our secretary is out on vacation this week. I knew she did a lot things around teh office, but not how much I rely on her for the simplest of tasks (mailing letters).

    I have been real fortunate that while this job and my last totally sucked, the administrative people where awesome. Please share you good / bad or ugly stories about your secretary.

    My last one would always order enough sandwiches/soup when we had meetings to make sure the poor single guy had some to take home. Plus she was really good at keeping people away from me

    My current one is an administrative genius. She knows what is going on in some of my files better than I do.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  2. #2
    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
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    What is this administrative support staff you speak of?

    Our office consists of two planners, and the director. Period. End of story.

    And guess who gets to do the monthly mass mailing for planning board meetings?
    All these years the people said he’s actin’ like a kid.
    He did not know he could not fly, so he did.
    - - Guy Clark, "The Cape"

  3. #3
    maudit anglais
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    After working for 3 three years with no admin support, I really really really appreciate finally having an AA!

  4. #4
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    We have a person who sits up front, talks to her kids and BF on the phone, searches the internet, calls in sick, late, or just has more vacation time than anyone else. She is also the most likely to make some a comment that could be considered sexual harassment. She was out for a week, we had a temp in and … hang on a sec… I have to get the phone…

    OK.. we had a temp in and the office was in shock at how well everything flowed, the mailings got done, and the phones … AHHH… Hang on, I have to get the phone again….

    Ok.. at where was I? Oh yea, the phones got answered.

    As it is, we rotate out sitting at a front desk with our secretary and the permits coordinator. Guess here I am right now… yea that’s right, up front.
    "I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which, was that you can fail at what you don't want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love." - Jim Carrey

  5. #5
    maudit anglais
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    Guess here I am right now… yea that’s right, up front.
    ...surfing on the internet!

  6. #6
          Downtown's avatar
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    Adore our AA. The planning staff just hand fills in the blank on form letters and sends them up front where they type all the info out and mail everything. heaven.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
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    I have been really lucky in most of my jobs to have excellent administrative support. Unfortunately, I don't have much support right now and it does affect our work program. We just ended up firing a few people because they were either unwilling or unable to update their skills as the years progressed. I think I knew excel and word better than they did! Unfortunately, when they left, the positions went unfilled and were cut.

    My favorite story is about quirky little office assistant I worked with. She liked to take breaks at her desk, but then would be upset when people would talk to her or ask her to do work. Eventually she started to tape a sign to the back of her chair that said "BREAK". After awhile the sign was taped to her back, just in case she needed to walk around to do stuff on her break. It got quite a few laughs in the office, since we all took it as a suggestion to pop her in the noggin. She was lucky we didn't have blunt objects around.

    Wait... another story about her. She was a freak about germs and wouldn't want anyone to answer her phone. She started taking mailing tape and taping the handset down onto the phone console. Since it was clear tape, a lot of people didn't notice until they tried to pick up the handset. This was one of the huge console phones that showed every line in the department. I went to pick up an incoming call once and ended up ripping the console off the desk, and a piece of it fell behind the desk. I didn't bother putting it back together, since I had to run to another desk to actually answer the call. Boy was she ever ticked when she came back to her desk!

  8. #8
    Member Wulf9's avatar
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    From my experience, departments with good administrative support work and those without don't work.

    I have very good admin support right now and am extremely grateful.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tranplanner
    ...surfing on the internet!
    Looking up information on Flood Plain Management and Development....
    "I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which, was that you can fail at what you don't want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love." - Jim Carrey

  10. #10
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Secretary from Hell: arranged my flight to a conference; while en route, she cancelled the last leg.

    Best Secretary: ...better not go there.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian GeogPlanner's avatar
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    ...anyone seen my dept's secretary? She's wandered away again...'nuff said.

    Staff have ceased giving our secretary real work years ago. I do have some very minor tasks for her to do from time to time and I do admit I give her busy work, because, I am just too busy to do it. Sometimes she answers the phones...but most of the time just sits there and plays games, e-mails, or talks on the phone...letting department calls roll into voice mail. Speaking of which I better check it...

    My last office manager in my last job is a good friend of mine. She never really did much work though. Mostly sat on the internet and chatted.

    In my college internship, my office manager was a godsent. She was on the ball 24/7 and was hands down the best one I have ever had the chance to work with. I remember trying to fill in for her while she was on vacation...OMG it was a lot to contend with.
    Information necessitating a change of design will be conveyed to the designer after and only after the design is complete. (Often called the 'Now They Tell Us' Law) - Fyfe's First Law of Revision

    We don't believe in planners and deciders making the decisions on behalf of Americans. -- George W. Bush , Scranton, PA -- 09/06/2000

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Had two "perfect" AAs while in one planning job. To my knowledge, they never made a mistake, guarded the files like Dobermans, took the initiative to keep learning, and could also handle most phone/counter inquiries we got.

    The worst? Just a few years ago. She was always on the phone with friends, visiting her mom upstairs, or playing suck-face with her boyfriend in the parking lot. Her estranged hubby got wind of her antics, beat up a guy (wrong guy, not the boyfriend) he saw her talking to outside the building, and called our office, threatening to come kill her and whoever got in his way. We started timing her workdays and figured she spent less than an hour a day actually doing work.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian iamme's avatar
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    I am not in a planning related position but our AA is horrible. I'm afraid to give her work because I always end up chasing a paper trail later to find where she messed up. My office manager recognizes this but it complicates the situation that the AA is a co-worker's sister. Grrrrrrrrrrr, and yes, it is against company policy to hire relatives.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian JNL's avatar
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    We used to have one AA for a staff of 42. She was fast at typing but never paid any attention to what she was typing to check if it made sense. So if typing from dictation she would type something approximating what she thought she heard, and leave it at that. She was pretty good at fixing formatting problems but somehow always managed to screw up another part of the document that she wasn't supposed to edit

    Because I'm the baby at work and reasonably good at typpign , some of the managers starting bringing their typing to me! So I told them that is not what I am here for.

    The AA doesn't work here any more and has not been replaced.

  15. #15
    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mike gurnee
    Secretary from Hell: arranged my flight to a conference; while en route, she cancelled the last leg.
    So what did you do to her when you got back?!
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    C'mon and get me you twist of fate
    I'm standing right here Mr. Destiny
    If you want to talk well then I'll relate
    If you don't so what cause you don't scare me

  16. #16
    Cyburbian ludes98's avatar
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    Our office of 30 or so has three. One is very good the other two are marginal at best. Not to mention they bicker among themselves.

    My wife is the AA of our lives. She calendarizes our appointments and I would miss alot of stuff if she didn't remind me. How come I can remember projects that go to council on 1/19/05, but I can't remember the appointment with my oncologist?

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Habanero's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ludes98
    Our office of 30 or so has three. One is very good the other two are marginal at best. Not to mention they bicker among themselves.

    My wife is the AA of our lives. She calendarizes our appointments and I would miss alot of stuff if she didn't remind me. How come I can remember projects that go to council on 1/19/05, but I can't remember the appointment with my oncologist?
    Because you dread oncologist appointments, hopefully. :P

    We have two awesome women in my area. Amazing really. I often feel bad because they'll ask if I wouldn't want them to do something for me and I just don't feel comfortable asking them to do more when they already do so much so well. I've never worked with better women, and they crack me up half the time as well.
    When Jesus said "love your enemies", he probably didn't mean kill them.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian plankton's avatar
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    michaelski - your first post is hilarious

    About two years ago we cashed in our AA for a planning tech/permit coordinator to free me up to do more long range planning work. It worked, sort of.....

    I have gone from being frustrated at overseeing a low functioning person :-P not willing to learn new things to overseeing a low functioning person 8-| willing to learn (and screw up) new things. I prefer the latter situation but would kill for a good AA - I have never worked with one but I know they're out there somewhere......

    I do all of my own mailings as I want it done right and it is just too painfully slow and cumbersome to hand it off to the technician to complete - I consider it down time away from the rigors of zone change applications, site design reviews, grant admin., etc... Yep, it sucks.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Mastiff
    So what did you do to her when you got back?!
    She was promoted to Mayor's secretary. One of the many issues with that job.

  20. #20
    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mike gurnee
    She was promoted to Mayor's secretary. One of the many issues with that job.
    So now the Mayor gets stranded at airports?!
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    C'mon and get me you twist of fate
    I'm standing right here Mr. Destiny
    If you want to talk well then I'll relate
    If you don't so what cause you don't scare me

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Plus
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    In my office we have 2 AA that are simply priceless.
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  22. #22
    Cyburbian sisterceleste's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by JNL
    We used to have one AA for a staff of 42. She was fast at typing but never paid any attention to what she was typing to check if it made sense. So if typing from dictation she would type something approximating what she thought she heard, and leave it at that. She was pretty good at fixing formatting problems but somehow always managed to screw up another part of the document that she wasn't supposed to edit

    Because I'm the baby at work and reasonably good at typpign , some of the managers starting bringing their typing to me! So I told them that is not what I am here for.

    The AA doesn't work here any more and has not been replaced.
    Good for you. Back before dirt was invented in my much younger planning days, I was typically the only female planner and would be asked to do clerical work. I would politely refuse and it would pi$$ off the asker...but what the hell.
    You darn tootin', I like fig newtons!

  23. #23
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by sisterceleste
    Good for you. Back before dirt was invented in my much younger planning days, I was typically the only female planner and would be asked to do clerical work. I would politely refuse and it would pi$$ off the asker...but what the hell.
    In my first planning job, I was flown to the state capitol to meet with a state agency, along with a co-worker lawyer, who was expecting me to play secretary, but I let him know I was there on business, too. He complained to my supervisor when we got back and was told to go pi$$ up a rope. hehehehehe.... Girl = secretary. Not.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian Trail Nazi's avatar
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    SC and ZG, wouldn't you agree that our AAs/Secs were pretty awful?

    One of my worst AAs would constantly lie and say things couldn't be done. She drove me nuts and what I can't figure out is why she is still working even though she has been on probation on more than one occassion.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Trail Nazi
    SC and ZG, wouldn't you agree that our AAs/Secs were pretty awful?
    I'm taking the Fifth.

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