Monday, June 28, 2010

It's in a name

Last week we had a meeting with a secretary sitting in to take notes.

Oh, no!! I mean: management assistant.

Having dealt with lots of secretaries the past 30 years I have taken a close look on the difference between a secretary and a management assistant.
A practical look, that is.

We used to get coffee poured in a cup, with the spoon at the right, and a cookie halfway left-to-top.
The secretary used to sit at a place which was slightly out of view, so no one would talk to her, so she could concentrate.
Often she would be able to write shorthand(, and she would be able to read it back).

I've seen perfect transcriptions and some very trusted secretaris were so good that I never read their work before signing.

The management assistant I was confronted with last week was a very nice woman.
We brought our own coffee and tea upstairs from the canteen, but the coffee and teapot was standing right in front of me at the table.
It was my own initiative to place them out of sight.

During the meeting I found myself talking to her, as I got more response from her than from the person who was leading the meeting.
Now and then she took notes, no shorthand, but long sentences.
I haven't seen her transcript, but I'm sure it's a summary, not something that enables me to confront someone with what was literally said.

Maybe I sound a bit old fashioned, maybe I should perk up the name of my function too.

Autism manager?
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