Food For Thought

Food for Thought
By John E. Bonfadini, Ed.D., Contributing Columnist;

Modern Day Cowgirl
The modern day cowgirl 
rides an office chair all day
Running businesses 
throughout the USA 
There is no dust on 
the prairie that she roams
‘Cause her prairie is a trunk line
tied to a computer or telephone
She looks in a directory
for all those doggies that are lost
Some wanting to speak 
to a cowboy called the boss
Like the old pony express
She often carries the mail
And provides the boss cover
from clients on his trail
Once a year the boss is
to pin a star on her chest
And tell her that
she’s one of the very best
But modern-day cowgirls
like women of the old west
Don’t need a once-a-year star
pinned on their chest
They know how important
they really are
And don’t need to walk around
with a bright shining star
Just remember, you doggies, to say
thank you once in a while
And they’ll continue running the
businesses with class and a smile
Finally, I would like to say “Thank You” to all the secretaries who have helped me over the years. And for all you Moms, have a great Mother’s Day.
John E. Bonfadini
John E. Bonfadini

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 professional offices.

What’s Your View?

Obviously, there are at least two sides to every issue. Do you have a different view? This column is meant to provoke thought, so keep sending comments. Each one is read with the utmost interest. Send e-mail to:, or send written responses to the editor.  Mail will be forwarded to the author.

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.


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