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The Secretary’s Manifesto

October 8, 2003


My name is Squirrel, and I’m a secretary.

Thanks for calling this office. I understand that you’re just doing your job. Please understand that I’m just trying to do mine.

If you’re looking for a job, I’m sorry, but we’re not hiring. No. Really. We’re not hiring.

If you’re looking for a job, please don’t walk around our building in jeans, a shirt better suited to a dance club, and more make-up than the original Avon lady. Especially if you’re a guy.

If you’re trying to sell something, I’m sorry, but we’re not buying. No. Really. We’re not buying. NO. SERIOUSLY. WE’RE NOT BUYING.

As far as you’re concerned, I’m the Messiah of supply ordering. Yes, I do have the authority to make that decision. No, you can’t talk to someone else. They’ll just send you back to me. If we need to change our suppliers, we’re going to do our own research, not use someone who walked in the front door or called on the phone.

I’m sorry, but I am under no obligation to transfer you to the general manager, the president, the grand high poohba or anyone else for that matter. Please don’t act like I’m offending you or wasting your time when I tell you I won’t transfer you. Taking my name doesn’t scare me. Asking to speak to my supervisor doesn’t either. Calling back won’t help. It’s just me here, you won’t get anyone else. When you ask for someone who hasn’t been with the company for a couple of years, don’t be surprised when I tell you that the person who replaced him might not want to talk to you. The fact that you don’t have updated information tells me that you are calling to solicit something.

If you’re not calling to solicit, please be straight forward and clear in explaining what you need. My job is to make sure that the calls go where they are supposed to and if you won’t tell me what you want, I can’t help you.

If you’ve called and I tell you the person is on the phone, please don’t demand that I go get them off of the phone. You are equally as important as our other callers, but not more so.

Voice mail is a wonderful thing. If you would like to leave a message, use it. I can’t guarantee that the sticky note will be seen when the person you want gets back into the office. I can’t guarantee that the voice mail will be heard either, but then at least I don’t get blamed for them missing the message.

We are here to serve you, but we are not at your beck and call. People have days off, meetings, lunch breaks, bathroom breaks, and other various reasons for not being at their desks. If they don’t answer, leave a voice mail.

I am not your personal verbal punching bag. Don’t be surprised if you lack of niceties makes me less than polite. There is only so much hassle I will take until I start putting you on hold until you give up and go away.

Thank you. One moment please while I transfer you.

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