I have been secretary of Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative’s
board of directors for over two decades. I know that the week in April
each year dedicated to honor people who work with the title of
“secretary” was not meant for people like me. It’s set aside to
honor that segment of the work force that is the backbone of all
corporations, small businesses, and governmental agencies.
During my 42 years as an educator, I’ve certainly seen the value of
that person whom students call the “school secretary.” In the school
environment, these individuals’ range of responsibilities extends from
economic advisor to school mom. The educational community could not
function without them. My students certainly owe a debt a gratitude to the
secretarial staff of George Mason University.
The sad part is that, most of the time, the individuals working as
secretaries are under-appreciated and under-paid. Society has tried to
change the title of the position, but changing titles doesn’t solve
these basic problems.
In general, our culture fails to value and recognize many segments of
the work force that do the real work. In my opinion, this shortcoming
begins with a snobbish attitude that tends to degrade high school classes
designed to prepare students for the work force. If you aren’t going to
college, in many cases, you’re considered a second-class citizen. Ask
children what they want to be when they grow up. Few will ever indicate
they want to be in a real job. Most will answer giving one of the big
three — doctor, lawyer, or veterinarian. Even educators have a tendency
to degrade general work-force-type occupations; but in the final analysis,
many college graduates will occupy secretarial or similar positions.
Wouldn’t it be great if we recognized the dignity of all positions in
the work force for more than just one week or day a year? Doctors
couldn’t function without secretaries or nurses, and neither could most
Females have traditionally held the position of secretary. Recently we
have seen more males enter this field, but in my opinion secretary will
always tend to be a primarily female occupation.
The greatest secretary of all is a female position called “MOM.” My
wife Pauline worked for the medical community in a secretarial capacity
outside the home, but for most of her life she has been an
under-appreciated and non-paid secretary for the family. We will salute
her and other Moms during the month of May, but we all know that Mom’s
day is really every day of the year.
As a hobby I write county music lyrics. This one is dedicated to the
secretaries of the world.