Someone asked me recently if I had it to do all over again would I be something besides just a secretary. I didn’t know how to speak the words that were running through my head, so I quietly answered, “Maybe.”
I am ready to speak (write) those words now.
You asked me if I wish I would have done something with my life other than being ‘just’ a secretary. Did you notice my silence and my eyes starting to well? This is why.
For the better part of my life I have been ‘just’ a secretary, starting when I was 17 years old and got to be an office helper at Patterson High School. After that I was a student secretary at Modesto Junior College while taking classes there. I got my first full time job right after graduating from MJC with the Stanislaus County Farm Advisors Office. After a few years there I applied and got the job of Department Head Secretary for the Stanislaus County Department of Public Works. I stayed there until Bryan was born, but my time as a full time mom was short lived because I was asked to fill in for absences in the County Planning Department and Board of Supervisor’s Office.
When I was ready to go back to work full time Joyce gave me the idea to apply with the schools so I would have the same time off as Bryan. I got a job at Kirschen Elementary School working three hours a day. This was perfect because Bryan was going to be starting kindergarten. After only two years there I was asked to apply for the Principal’s Secretary job at Sonoma. I was hired. That was 25 years ago.
I chose to be ‘just’ a secretary because I love it and I think I am good at it. My answer to you was ‘maybe’ only because of money. Most secretaries don’t make enough of it for what they do.
However; I am more than ‘just’ a school secretary. I am also an Event Planner (staff parties), Travel Agent (field trips), Accountant (school budget), Nurse, Counselor, Daycare Provider, Copy Machine Repairman, Banker, School Photographer, Mediator, Tour Guide, Conflict Manager and Purchasing Agent.
I must also be a Magician because I somehow manage to get everything done with the constant interruptions that come with this job.
I know your question didn’t mean to insult me and I am being too defensive and overly sensitive. I also know you don’t read my blog so you will never know I wrote this letter to you!
P.S. Several years ago a teacher gave me a children’s book titled ‘What School Secretaries Do When No One Is Looking’. The back cover says, “This book is about school secretaries who year in and year out give their time, energy, support and care to those principals, teachers, and students on whose behalf they work so hard.” The last page of the book reads: “And while no one is looking school secretaries make life a little easier.” I hope this is true.