|The "Perfect Secretary" at work - 2005|
I Did Secretarial Jobs
Personal Note: Below is an article from The NYTimes November 5, 1975; a bit dated, but interesting. After retiring from my software company in 2000 I looked for something to do that would challenge my feminine character. As I stated in my resume, "Who could be a better administrative assistant that a retired executive; we know the ropes". After many interviews, I was hired. First as a volunteer/intern and then full time. The official titles during my seven years were (three jobs), "Administrative Assistant" and "Executive Assistant". One of the jobs was in Palm Beach.
There was much public interaction because two of the jobs entailed setting up fundraising events, symposiums and seminars. I even did one-on-one fundraising visits with established donors. Several I still know and talk to occasionally.
I will never forget the evening I was attending the holiday office party, when my boss's wife introduced me as "Larry's Secretary". I smiled.
I believe that I was the perfect "Secretary". I certainly enjoy every moment.
November 5, 1975
While women airline pilots and miners have dominated the headline as invaders of male bastions of power, a small number of men have been staging a career revolution of their own.
Thousands of men are entering the world of office work, a field vacated by many followers of the women's rights movement. These men are discovering that in today's depressed economy the secretarial route may he the surest step up the corporate ladder. Others are finding that the stenographic pool offers more fulfillment than the assembly line or construction crew.
|The New York Times Archives|
Typist Has Advantages
“Because of the recession, there are fewer training programs and less recruiting on college campuses. A male graduate who can type will get the job over another applicant because he won't need a secretary assigned to him at the beginning of his career and will save the company money.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there were 3,200,000 secretaries in the country last year, up from 1,873,000 a decade earlier. Of these, 28,900 were male secretaries up from 13,000 in 1964.
The bureau does not keep separate statistics comparing female secretarial salaries to male salaries. Fran Riley, public relations director for the National Secretaries Association (International), also said her organization did not have comparative salary figures.
Interest Linked to Wages
“More men are becoming secretaries today because an outstanding secretary can earn as much as 820.000 year,” said Doris M. Brookshier, national executive director of the National Secretaries Association, which has 30 men in its 33.000‐member organization. “Certification examinations like ours also have helped upgrade the image of secretaries and have made the field more attractive to men.”
“In the past, real‐estate firms, insurance companies, and railroads were the only companies that would hire male secretaries because it. was traditional for top executives in these firms to have male secret—cies,” “aid Helen Lamm, manager of the marketing division of Kelly Services in Los Angeles, the nationwide temporary ‐ help agency that was formerly known as Kelly Girls.
“Now all kinds of companies want male secretaries because they are such diligent workers. Men who never thought about secretarial work find they like it and are good at it because it enables them to use a variety of skills.”
Kenji López-Alt Spent 5 Months Studying Chicago Thin-Crust Pizza. Here’s What He Learned.
Bob Goldrich, Walter J. Leonard and Jerry J. Marks are three men who have worked as secretaries for Kelly Services in Los Angeles recently. None of them planned a secretarial career but they acquired their typing skills to help them do term papers. Mr. Goldrich, a sophomore in history at the University of Southern California, could not find a summer job and Mr. Leonard and Mr. Marks were both tired of their management jobs in manufacturing and retailing and wanted to try new fields. All of them were welcomed by employers.
“Employers like male secretaries because men are used to get ting the job done,” explained Mr. Goldrich. “The women spent 20 minutes on coffee breaks chatting with their friends while we did the typing.”
“Executives give male secretaries more responsibility because it is easier for man to work at night or to come in early than it is for a woman with young children,” said Mr. Leonard. “They also know that a man is usually the breadwinner
for his family and anxious to get promoted so they notice him more and take a greater interest in his career.”
Male secretaries are usually better paid although the gap in salaries is closing because of equal‐rights legislation. In 1972, the latest date for which information was available, the average male secretary earned $179 a week, compared with $145 a week for women.
Hostility from women secretaries also seems to be decreasing. “Sexual roles in the office are not as rigid as they once were,” said Mr. Marks, who worked for several women bosses. “Do your own thing is the motto today and people tend to relate to each other as peers rather than as superior and inferior.”
Still, there are male secre taries who have encountered opposition. Ralph A. Dowling, past president of the Denver chapter of the National Secretaries Association and a secretary for more than 20 years, was unemployed for several months last year after he left the Denver law firm where he had worked for 14 years.
Mr. Dowling, who had received his secretarial training at the University of Alabama and who is a certified professional secretary, received little response to his resumes. He had eight unsuccessful job interviews before he found his present position as secretary, to the medical director of the Air Line Pilots Association in Denver.
“Male applicants for secretarial positions incur resentment from female personnel directors because they think that the men are after their jobs,” said Mr. Dowling.
“Male executives are even less enthusiastic because they are afraid that their peers will jump to the wrong conclusions and accuse them of being homosexuals if they hire a male secretary. Men also favor women secretaries because they would prefer to have their peers ask, ‘Who is that sharp chick working for you?’ rather than ‘How did you ever find that efficient man?'”
Happy in His Job
The 42‐year‐old Mr. Dowling likes being a secretary so much that he has passed up opportunities in management.
“It is hard to be a man in a field dominated by women,” he admitted. “Like the token woman, I am under great pressure to be above average. Women secretaries are very critical and want to know if I do sloppy work.”
Unlike many women secretaries who object to serving their bosses coffee and running errands, Mr. Dowling considers such chores “all part of the job and a little like being a host in your own home.”
“Secretarial work is a field that more men should consider because it can be a lot of fun,” lie said. “After all, it is only in the last 100 years that women have taken over the field. Before that, people like Cleopatra had male secretaries and nobody thought it unusual. Maybe what we need is Warren Beatty to play a sexy male secretary in his next film. That might end these sissy rumors forever and encourage a lot of men to sign up for shorthand and typing.”