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Old 5th September 2008, 12:41 PM   #16
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I agree wholeheartedly with your post, Touche. That's basically what I am trying to say. There's a difference between having a sense of entitlement and being treated like dirt. It's the admin, not the maid. Not the scapegoat.
I hear you!

What gets me is how some of these bosses can treat others the way they do. Weren't they once in a subordinate role? Did they forget what it can be like?

I think the way a person treats their employees speaks volumes about their character.

And I don't think Angel sounded unreasonable.

My management style was much like hers. I let my employees get away with murder if they did their jobs. I was not on a power trip.

And granted, I was sometimes taken advantage of. But I'd rather be taken advantage of occasionally than be a full-time bytch.
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Old 5th September 2008, 12:46 PM   #17
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I get what you're saying Angel, and maybe you're right...but I must say, I can relate to her post about being treated like a maid and not a secretary. It's demoralizing. It definitely contributes to a crappy attitude. If you have any suggestions for keeping a good attitude while being crapped on, by all means, share them! Maybe you are a good boss, I don't know. I'll bet my boss thinks he is a good boss too. He's wrong. And the more you talk to him and try to explain it, he just doesn't get it.

For instance, our conference room is constantly a disaster. People leave their coffee stuff, don't put books back on the shelf, leave papers out...no matter how many signs I put up to CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELF, it's always a mess...and I am the one who gets yelled at when it's not clean. And that's just ONE thing among many.

But, it's a living, right?

So I am going to college, and I guarantee you, if my boss told me, "No, I won't adjust your schedule for school," that would've been my last straw and I would've walked out for sure. I don't make enough for this s**t.
Well he is a bad boss if he treats you like that. And your co-workers are really inconsiderate. People don't understand how this grates on someone and how it creates bad feelings and makes them feel used. This is poor management on your boss's part.

When I was an admin person, I wasn't expected to do things like clean the conference room for others but that is the function of some admin people unfortunately. Really, it has to be done by someone but I do think they're abusing it at your office. But even though I didn't have to do things like that, I would voluntarily do things on my own - like whenever my boss had a visitor, I thought it was just common courtesy to offer them coffee or a drink and to offer that to my boss as well. I didn't think of this as being subserviant, just couteous. Or if I was getting coffee for myself, I'd ask my boss if he wanted anything. And he started doing the same thing for me. These seem like small things but it made him feel appreciated and it connected us in a small way.

As far as the conference room thing is concerned - and I'm sure there's more stuff but I'm just focusing on that for now - if your boss puts the blame on you about it then he apparently thinks it's your job but didn't bother to communicate this to you. Again, poor management. But there is a way around poor managers. I think if I were you, make the decision that this conference room thing is your reponsibility - even though that was only halfway conveyed to you. Just look at it as a temporary thing (because you won't be there forever), that you're doing a service to everyone, that you're keeping the office looking nice, and it gets you away from the sitting at your desk for awhile. These may seem like little things but it can help with how you see it, and then that can help with not feeling so resistant to it. I think you're resistent to it because it's been treated like a side issue and it was never really discussed and you feel taken for granted. All good reasons for you to be resistant and irritated about the whole thing. But try turning it around in your mind, look at it from a different angle and maybe that will help.

If someone in my office has a crappy attitude, I will first try to find out why. I don't just make the decision that they're jerks and need to go away. There have been times when I talk to them that I find out that I did something, or was perceived to do something, that pissed them off and they were stewing about it. Most of the time, it's women fighting with other women. I once had 3 people quit on me all at once because they were fighting among themselves. I will never, ever let that happen again. But at first, I couldn't even see how I was responsible for it. But then I realized that I was responsible because I sensed problems and should've handled them a lot sooner. It has taken awhile for me to learn how to manage because it's my nature to just let people do their own thing. But I've learned that a lot of people want direction and attention, which I struggle with because I don't think that way. But I've only improved because I looked at the angles where I was accountable and where I could improve. It made a huge difference when I looked at what I was doing and how I could fix it, even when it wasn't obvious. Does that make sense?

One of the things about being an admin person is that you're constantly shifting from one thing to another and must wear many, many hats. If that goes unappreciated, it makes things tough. But I think you can shift things a little if you do some of the things I mentioned. I used to work at a huge corporation and I had managed to move up fairly high - but I'll never forget the secretary who was a level above me who cleaned up after meetings or whatever. I realized then that our jobs were really like catch-all jobs and something would fall on us whenever they didn't know where else it should fall.

After you try some changes for awhile and if your boss starts acting nicer toward you, if there are other admin people in the office, you might want to suggest to him that the conference room cleaning be dispersed amoung all of you. That's what I do at our office about cleaning the kitchen each day and turning off the coffee pots. And I'm one of the people who does the kitchen cleaning. Everyone has their day to check on things and straighten up - whatever. It's no big deal but it would be a big deal if I didn't communicate how I expected things to work or if I put it on one person but never really discussed it with them. So you might want to try that somewhere down the road, while also suggesting that the people in the meeting at least put the books away. But in the meantime, just schedule in the conference room cleaning the way you do other aspects of your job. Maybe it'll help you - at least until you can get out of there if things don't improve.

Explaining things to your boss probably won't get you very far. But if you can somehow weave a connection between the two of you, he might start responding differently to you. Not to say that you're 100% of the problem - because I'm sure you're not. I'm just saying that I've learned that when I change things about myself, things around me change. You may have a boss who's so clueless that he'll never get it. I don't know. And you shouldn't spend your life feeling like you're beating your head against the wall every day. It gets old.

Ok, I need to get back to work....!
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Old 5th September 2008, 12:56 PM   #18
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Figure out where you want your life to go and then do what it takes to get it there.

I wouldn't recommend quitting right now though. Depending on your location, and job type, you might be looking for new employment long after all your reserves run out.

I regret quitting my last job before having a new one lined up. I hated my job. I haven't had a boss that bad in ages. I was relieved to be out of that company, but it is incredibly stressful to be unemployed. Plus, I was passed over for a few great jobs because I had quit my last one rather then sticking it out.

Now, I have quit a job to attend school full time. I needed a career path and my job wouldnt' allow me time off to take classes. I left on good terms. Completed my degree and was able to use the previous position as a good reference for potential employers.

Overall.. whatever you do... do NOT burn your bridges. Be the professional you wish the rest would be. Hold yourself to a higher standard. If you're unprofessional about it then it will negatively affect your chances of getting a new position in the future. Take the hit on this now to give you a chance at a better future. Think long term goals, rather then short term gratification.
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Old 5th September 2008, 12:59 PM   #19
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There are certain aspects of the conference room cleaning that I know are my responsibility. And I don't mind doing that. The problem is, after I take care of my end, people negate the work I've done. For example, the project books. There is a sign stating not to leave the project books in your office, to put them back on the shelf at the end of the day before you leave.

But what inevitably happens? Someone keeps the book in their office. Then someone else is looking for the book. Even though I put up the sign stating NOT TO LEAVE THE BOOKS OFF THE SHELF, I am the one who gets yelled at because I don't go around every day asking, "Did you put your books back?" I just get frustrated. I am not the mother. I am the secretary. And the coffee cups? Come on. It's common sense to put your cup in the trash, or your lunch in the trash when you've finished it. Don't leave it on the table for the secretary to clean up.

But I get what you are saying, Angel, you have a point. It's a means to an end and if I view it differently, maybe I'll feel better about it. I'm just frustrated because I am the 13th secretary in 2 years here, and there is quite a bit of chaos. I'm doing my best to manage it, and I think I'm making some headway, but I'm still relatively new. I do hear from other employees that I'm the best one they've had, and that I have lots of promise. I don't know if that's blowing smoke up my butt because they don't want me to leave, or what.

I just can say, I can relate to the OP's feelings of frustration, especially since she has her degree...I don't have mine and that's why I feel like, "Well, I have to take it, it's not like I can get a better job." But she (I'm assuming it's a she) can, and I just would hate for someone to settle like I've had to! (That's why I'm going back to college!)
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Old 5th September 2008, 1:01 PM   #20
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Walk gave some excellent advice.
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Old 5th September 2008, 1:46 PM   #21
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There are certain aspects of the conference room cleaning that I know are my responsibility. And I don't mind doing that. The problem is, after I take care of my end, people negate the work I've done. For example, the project books. There is a sign stating not to leave the project books in your office, to put them back on the shelf at the end of the day before you leave.

But what inevitably happens? Someone keeps the book in their office. Then someone else is looking for the book. Even though I put up the sign stating NOT TO LEAVE THE BOOKS OFF THE SHELF, I am the one who gets yelled at because I don't go around every day asking, "Did you put your books back?" I just get frustrated. I am not the mother. I am the secretary. And the coffee cups? Come on. It's common sense to put your cup in the trash, or your lunch in the trash when you've finished it. Don't leave it on the table for the secretary to clean up.

But I get what you are saying, Angel, you have a point. It's a means to an end and if I view it differently, maybe I'll feel better about it. I'm just frustrated because I am the 13th secretary in 2 years here, and there is quite a bit of chaos. I'm doing my best to manage it, and I think I'm making some headway, but I'm still relatively new. I do hear from other employees that I'm the best one they've had, and that I have lots of promise. I don't know if that's blowing smoke up my butt because they don't want me to leave, or what.

I just can say, I can relate to the OP's feelings of frustration, especially since she has her degree...I don't have mine and that's why I feel like, "Well, I have to take it, it's not like I can get a better job." But she (I'm assuming it's a she) can, and I just would hate for someone to settle like I've had to! (That's why I'm going back to college!)
Yeah, go back to college. It'll be the best thing you ever did for yourself because it'll open doors for you. Your office sounds like a total mess and I'm amazed they can even stay in business opeating as they do.

The thing that stands out to me most is the yelling stuff. If that's happening, it needs to stop or you need to leave. Well you do have one advantage and that is that they DO NOT want to go through yet another secretary so maybe you can turn things around so that they'll be more inclined to listen. They should be listening now but that doesn't sound feasible. I honestly think you're in too much chaos for it to be fixed because the level of disrespect is very high. Just keep looking and maybe you'll find something new. Or if you don't have kids or anything, then maybe there's a way you can work part-time and go to college full-time. That's the best thing to do if it is at all possible.
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Old 5th September 2008, 1:48 PM   #22
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But I get what you are saying, Angel, you have a point. It's a means to an end and if I view it differently, maybe I'll feel better about it. I'm just frustrated because I am the 13th secretary in 2 years here, and there is quite a bit of chaos. I'm doing my best to manage it, and I think I'm making some headway, but I'm still relatively new. I do hear from other employees that I'm the best one they've had, and that I have lots of promise. I don't know if that's blowing smoke up my butt because they don't want me to leave, or what.

I just can say, I can relate to the OP's feelings of frustration, especially since she has her degree...I don't have mine and that's why I feel like, "Well, I have to take it, it's not like I can get a better job." But she (I'm assuming it's a she) can, and I just would hate for someone to settle like I've had to! (That's why I'm going back to college!)
I've been there too. I was a.. not even a secretary, but an over worked receptionist for several years. I couldn't stand the abuse, and finally went back to college for my degree.

Fetch the coffee, clean the offices, proof the letters, balance the budget, had no power over others but held responsible for every thing. I could never understand how they could trust me with handling all their money, yet they considered me retarded in all other activities. Just demoralizing. Not to mention every one had the power to tell me what to do and how to do it. I'd get 3-4 people saying jump at the same time, while 3 others were saying run over there. I really had to bust butt to get everything accomplished before the deadlines.

Not that I love working now... but at least I get treated as a valuable contributor to a team. I've been a janitor too, and I'd put secretary below janitor status... at least a janitor is expected to be grumpy and surly. Secretaries are expected to be all smiles and postive attitude. bah.
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Old 5th September 2008, 1:56 PM   #23
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wow thanks for the responses
Kchi...you and I are working in similar places. I also have to pick up after the whole world...literally, they go buy their meals and leave all their trash, bags and uneaten food scatter throughout the conference room. Difference is? Im not allowed to put up signs...not even send out an email requesting for anything. I once asked if they could give me a reference for certain packages I have to sent out daily and I got a nasty email about how I cannot be putting more work on the others, that I have to figure it out for myself.
Also I have to do supply orders but they have no control over who gets what so by the end of the week the supplies are gone..so ofcourse i have to do another other and then get yelled at because Im doing too many orders..lose lose...

In any case, Angel thank you for the shift kick in the butt. I do agree that it doesnt look good me changing jobs so often, and maybe i could stick it out a bit longer, but in reality my job here is useless for my career, other than to say i held a job for a year after college. No I dont have a bad attitude, its more frustration than anything else. When i interviewed for the job I clearly stated I would be going back to get my masters and I was told we would work out a good way to facilitate that...thats not happening. As far as screwing up, I forget to do small things such as order candy, or a certain type of coffee...the last screw up was big though (sent paperwork to wrong address)...and I took full responsibility for that, but its not like Im making faces all the time and blowing off my responsibilities. Im just tired of a senseless, thankless job but i do agree that it would build character (not to mention the good money) if i stick it out.

Princess, I have a BA in psychology and I am getting my master in clinical psychology with emphazis on MFT. I have always been very clear as to what I want to do with my life, but unfortunately a BA in psych wont get you very far. The first year after I graduated I worked as a therapist with autistic children in a preschool, but since i didnt have a master I was left to change diapers. I changed that for another company doing therapy and though the job was great it only give me about 25 hours and in august and december we had no job because the school distric is closed. I still had to pay rent so I choose to do this while I got back to school.

Right now im going to school full time as well as working full time. Its draining, and Im afraid that i wont do well because of it. On top of the frustration of the silly things I have to do here....

Anyway, I was supposed to give my notice today...I was going to give a four week notice so that they had a chance to find someone and I could train them for at least a week...However im too scared of not being able to find a part time soon enough....
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Old 5th September 2008, 2:00 PM   #24
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I've been there too. I was a.. not even a secretary, but an over worked receptionist for several years. I couldn't stand the abuse, and finally went back to college for my degree.

Fetch the coffee, clean the offices, proof the letters, balance the budget, had no power over others but held responsible for every thing. I could never understand how they could trust me with handling all their money, yet they considered me retarded in all other activities. Just demoralizing. Not to mention every one had the power to tell me what to do and how to do it. I'd get 3-4 people saying jump at the same time, while 3 others were saying run over there. I really had to bust butt to get everything accomplished before the deadlines.

Not that I love working now... but at least I get treated as a valuable contributor to a team. I've been a janitor too, and I'd put secretary below janitor status... at least a janitor is expected to be grumpy and surly. Secretaries are expected to be all smiles and postive attitude. bah.
TOTALLY GET U!!!

I have 30 people to do projects for....on top of always looking pretty even when picking up their trash....ughhh what a sad job. I dont understand how people make a career out of these types of jobs!
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Old 5th September 2008, 2:01 PM   #25
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I don't have children yet, and I've been giving it some thought. I live with my mom temporarily while I'm focusing on my college education. There was a time when my mom didn't support me in going to college, but now she does 100%, thank goodness. So it's not like I'll starve. I just don't want to quit a job. I will see how long I can tolerate this. There are some good aspects. I have some really cool coworkers, and one of them told me she is getting a new position in November and she would like to take me with her. (I take that with a grain of salt, although that would be appreciated.)

There's a reason there have been so many secretaries, and now I see the reason. It is very chaotic and disorganized AND dirty. The conditions are unsanitary. Rat poop constantly falls from the ceiling. There are flies EVERYWHERE. I have to take out my own garbage. I'm tired of hearing myself complain, but you get the idea!

I'm sorry to t/j you OP, but I think you've gotten some good advice from this thread. Don't let yourself get bitter like me! I'm only at the ripe old age of 25, and I am so bitter. It's pitiful.
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Old 5th September 2008, 2:12 PM   #26
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Please don't give your notice until you find another job. You really don't want to be screwed. Let it be up to them to find someone to train them. I truly think 2 weeks is sufficient. If you want to give 4 weeks that's fine if it's OK with your new employer...but please don't quit before you have another job.
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Old 5th September 2008, 2:31 PM   #27
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Try to avoid burning work related bridges. An excellent reference can be priceless. In the past month, I've had two ex-employees phone to thank me for glowing references, which got them their ideal jobs.

Find another job before quitting. After you hand in your notice, make certain you maintain a positive level of work attitude, completing tasks given within the time required, sometimes exceeding their expectations. If you do this, many times, reasonable employers will sit up and take notice, wondering if they're letting a commodity go. You might be surprised how many will rethink things and offer you something better, getting involved in a bidding war for your services.

Btw, now that your immediate boss has agreed to you leaving early, do come in early, take your lunch and leave early. When lining up interviews, ensure they're within the time frame of your new hours. You might also be surprised at how accommodating a potential new employer can be about keeping your integrity within an existing job. They also want someone who will treat them right, when it comes time for you to leave them.
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Old 5th September 2008, 2:46 PM   #28
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Try to avoid burning work related bridges. An excellent reference can be priceless. In the past month, I've had two ex-employees phone to thank me for glowing references, which got them their ideal jobs.

Find another job before quitting. After you hand in your notice, make certain you maintain a positive level of work attitude, completing tasks given within the time required, sometimes exceeding their expectations. If you do this, many times, reasonable employers will sit up and take notice, wondering if they're letting a commodity go. You might be surprised how many will rethink things and offer you something better, getting involved in a bidding war for your services.

Btw, now that your immediate boss has agreed to you leaving early, do come in early, take your lunch and leave early. When lining up interviews, ensure they're within the time frame of your new hours. You might also be surprised at how accommodating a potential new employer can be about keeping your integrity within an existing job. They also want someone who will treat them right, when it comes time for you to leave them.
Thanks Trial,

I do agree it would be best if I could find something before I left, but I am only allowed to leave early one day a week, when I have class. So I leave at 4 and have class at 4 15 until 10pm.

Other than that I would have to take time off....and I dont know if they will like that much... its really really tricky. I cant quit til i find another job, but I cant go to interviews while working here...
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Old 5th September 2008, 2:52 PM   #29
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Thanks Trial,

I do agree it would be best if I could find something before I left, but I am only allowed to leave early one day a week, when I have class. So I leave at 4 and have class at 4 15 until 10pm.

Other than that I would have to take time off....and I dont know if they will like that much... its really really tricky. I cant quit til i find another job, but I cant go to interviews while working here...
That's too bad that you can't change all your hours. There's always lunch hour (which is how most people do it) and vacation time. Regardless of whether you're part time or on contract, you're still entitled to time off in lieu of your 4% or whatever it is within your jurisdiction.
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Old 5th September 2008, 3:00 PM   #30
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Now that I have a better picture of this, you are both working in completely unacceptable places. I wouldn't dream of treating people this way and I've never worked in environments like this. Sorry, I just didn't understand and couldn't comprehend what you were talking about.

Seriously, to both of you, if it is at all possible, do what all other students do who go to college full-time - work part-time in the city that you go to college in and get loans, grants, scholarships, whatever and go full-time. If you have to get a full loan for college, do that. It's that important (as I'm sure you know). And I mean go out of town - away from your parents and be a college student. If you just can't do that, go to a community college. There are now major univiersities that have branches in other cities and they often have a policy that if you go to those for 2 yrs, you can automatically transfer to their main campus. It's worth looking into. And keep yourself debt-free, except for college expenses.

You are expending so much time and energy by working full time and trying to get a degree. I'm afraid you're going to burn out.
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