I've been working here for 8 years, not one of which I was a secretary.
What's wrong with being called "secretary"? I'm not sure I can truly sort through the psychology of it all. What I can do is tell you with certainty that I am not a secretary, nor do my duties include typical secretarial duties. Not that there's anything wrong with being a secretary. I personally don't look down on secretaries. I don't think them lesser beings for their job title. So why would it bother me if people assume that's MY job title?
What is my problem? In the 8 years that it's bothered me when people assumed I was a secretary I have never been able to put my finger on it. And I tell myself it doesn't matter, because really it doesn't, but it still bothers me.
So most of the older men around here think that every woman in the department is a secretary, because they are older, and they are used to a workplace that is set up that way. And they are surprised when they find out that I'm not a secretary, and that my responsibilities include more than copying and unjamming the printer (which two things can be mutually exclusive). But their old age causes them to forget these facts so that the next time the subject comes up, they ask me again if I'm a secretary. *Sigh* They'll never learn.
As I mentioned before, one part of the TC got a job equation is that I'm quitting my job. And, as I've mentioned twice already in the previous few paragraphs, I've been working here for 8 years. I'm lacking the fire and vigor and excitement I once had for my job. And I consider that what I do is important and deserves fire and vigor. As a result, I've decided to step down, take a break, and focus on our little family for a while. I'm very VERY excited for this new phase of my life. And I have all sorts of plans of how I will organize my home, my time, and how well fed and dressed TC will be.
Since I'm leaving, my job was opened and resumes were accepted for a few weeks. And people in my department, mostly the older men, have come to ask me things like the following:
"Now the job description says it requires a bachelors degree. Do YOU have a bachelors degree?"
"The job description says that Spanish-speaking ability is required. Do YOU speak Spanish?" (That's where "Spreken ze Español" was born.)
"The job description says that experience with programming databases is required. Do you know how to program databases?"
*sigh* My sarcastic side wants to reply, "Well I'm certainly not making your coffee every morning, now am I?"
It's the surprise in their voices that really gets to me. And especially the surprise in one man's voice, I shall call him TJ. He came to me to tell me about a fantastic possible replacement for me: A nice little Filipino girl (his tone when referring to her is a subject for another day) that he knows from the bus who would be great in my job. She would be fantastic. But she doesn't have a BA (Do YOU really have a bachelors?), speaks very basic Spanish (So, you speak Spanish?), and doesn't know anything about databases (I didn't know you knew about databases. Wow. Did you study that in college? How did YOU learn?). But she's a sweet girl. Really nice. And she would be great.
*sigh* Another sarcastic comment: "Oh, I'm sorry. 'Nice' isn't one of the job requirements."
Does the fact that the people around me, who do not work directly with me anyway, don't know what I do actually have any bearing on my self-worth, or accomplishments, or anything at all? No. But it still makes my blood boil, just a little bit. (Note that the elevation here makes for a lower boiling point.)
So here I am revealing my inner-bias against being called a secretary, proud and wanting people to know what I do but not so they can ask me to do things for them-jerk. I hope you don't think any less of me.