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I have reached a new milestone in my life. I have a secretary. Now,… - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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[Nov. 23rd, 2002|06:51 am]
[Current Mood |contemplativecontemplative]
[Current Music |Beethoven - Piano Concerto No. 5, the Emperor Concerto]

I have reached a new milestone in my life.

I have a secretary.

Now, granted, said secretary is stationed at the downtown office, while I'm out at the campus satellite (insert Sputnik noises), and she is the secretary for a number of paralegals. Nevertheless, I am apparently free, and in fact encouraged, to refer to her in the possessive. People say, have your secretary send those forms to you, or fax it to your secretary. The attorneys in the office have said to me, "Oh, you can send that to my secretary" as if I would already know who this person was, like an identifiable appendage.

This is not the old-school senior attorney. It's the younger women attorneys. They actually apologized that, because I am not at the downtown office I will have to do my own typing. I have entered a world I do not understand.

So far, my secretary has served two functions: she has faxed me forms that I did not receive and she enters my timesheets into the computer system. The firm has no centralized case management--everyone writes their billable time on a form and gives it to his or her secretary to enter into the billing system (the computers aren't even tied to a central server for document backup--everyone saves to C:, a fact that alarms and amazes me). We aren't in the same building, so I can't give her things to copy or mail, and documents to me come to my office, not hers. Nevertheless, despite the fact that she is well-known to the other employees in the office, they refer to her as "your secretary."

I feel odd, possessing someone's skills. And even odder thinking about being so possessed. I have been people's paralegal, receptionist, buyer, even secretary. I never even noticed. But now, that little thrill of possession, I've felt it. i may be some sort of sick meglomaniac to feel this way, but it's there--just a hint. And I'm certain that I'm not alone.

No wonder men treated women so badly all those years. It's not a healthy feeling. Objectification would be a simple matter.

[User Picture]From: lyssabard
2002-11-23 10:15 pm (UTC)


You know...you've articulated from the other end something I have often put into different words, working as a secretary--feeling that sense of being lower on the totem pole, taken for granted at times but--"possessing someone's skills"--yes. That hits the nail on the head.
And yet, when you work in said position--its part of your job. It's what you do--because you can. And I have always felt one should do one's best in whatever one sets out to do.
The thank yous are nice, though.

Lord, there's so many layers to this topic, I can't even begin to touch on them. :) And at 1 am, my brain isn't working well to address them. THough I am tempted to ask--are you afraid of delegating, holding the reigns, as it were--just because of the simple fact that perhaps you might lose sight of the person to the task? Knowing you...I doubt that. :)

Just a thought. There are more.

And I am sorry I missed this entry earlier today! It got backwashed adn I didn't check my prev pages. :(

More soon, I am sure.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2002-11-24 07:36 am (UTC)

Re: wow

Actually, you didn't miss it earlier; I had written it partially and then had to leave in the morning, so had saved it as a private entry just so I'd have the "draft," then forgot to update the time on it for the real thing [g].

There ARE many layers to this, and I realize that the distinctions are silly in a way, since I have been in the position of delegating tasks before--I'm very bad at it, because so many people are seriously incompetent and I live in fear that they will fuck it up. As a Taurus, I do have a wee bit of Emperor in me, however, so I do feel compelled to be careful NOT to lose sight of the person.

(Not that I have all that much power, and one of the things I already know is that you'd better be damned nice to the staff because there's generally only one person in the company high enough on the totem pole not to get reamed out for pissing off the good help.)

I have frequently had my skills possessed, and I think that is part of the reason I'm in law school now--I just didn't see it from the other perspective until now.

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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2002-11-24 02:52 pm (UTC)

Re: wow

Yeah, I think that is one of the reasons I had a crisis last week about law school (although 3/4th of my class waas also having a crisis, so I think part of it is just a rite of passage). I do have good reasons for being in law school, but they aren't the emotional, psychological ones, and if those run to the forefront it's easy to get lost in it when the going gets tough.

For the record, you have consistently been one of the coolest people to work for--I almost always felt like a team with you, not like a possession. And that was the origin of one of my GOOD reasons for going to law school, watching you work and wanting to be able to work like you do. You're still my hero!
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