So what does that make ME?! [Long, Long Rant]

Wow … until today, I didn’t realize that having a college degree makes you too good to put paper in a printer … or put toner in a fax machine. That’s just fucking amazing! In retrospect, I guess I should’ve gone to college … not for the eduction or to grow as a person or to BETTER myself … but so that I could feel better about myself and make everyone ELSE feel like a piece of shit, eh?

I am the executive assistant to the head of a federal government agency … think Donna on West Wing … without the West Wing. What this means, in layman’s terms, is that I’m a secretary to two very important people and serve as the receptionist for my office. Do I have a degree? No. Do I keep this office running? You bet your BALLS I do!

I’m at my desk today working on three separate important projects when one of our agents came into the front office. She was using the fax machine for awhile … and then walked over to my desk to announce that “the little red light is on.” I (very nicely) asked what the little touch screen said … to which my agent said (impatiently) “it says it’s out of paper.”

Okay, there are reams of paper right beneath the fax machine … as there have been for the past 12 years I’ve worked here … and this woman KNOWS this. This is NOTHING new. So, I jokingly say, “Whew! Thank goodness there’s nothing wrong … we keep paper in the cabinet below the fax machine.”

Here’s where I get pissed. She says, “I REALIZE there is paper under the fax machine. I, however, did not get a COLLEGE DEGREE so that I could add paper to the office equipment.”

Without saying anything, I get up … walk three feet to the fax machine … reach under … get paper … open the drawer … and shove the paper IN … close the drawer … and walk back to my desk and sit down … and it takes less than 30 seconds.

I then made the mistake of looking her in the eye and saying, “I’m thinking of taking night courses … could you clue me in to which major forbids the touching of office machinery?”

<sigh> She’s stomping around the office right now ranting that the “clerks” need to “know their place” and how we’re all basically Walmart checkout girls in business suits.

Okay, Pit … … here … is my rant …

To the agent in my office: I am not a “clerk” … I am an administrative assistant … I make $35K a year … and at 12 years, I’ve been here TWICE as long as YOU have. I am the EYES and the EARS of this agency … and YES, as a matter of fact, I DO change paper, toner, etc. on a daily basis. However, just because your DADDY paid for you to party for four years, that does NOT mean you can’t refill a machine that YOU, yourself, empty!

I KNOW my place … I’m the right hand of the head of this agency, you addled-minded BITCH … he doesn’t BREATH without checking with ME … and, while I’ll bend over backwards to work with every other agent in my office, YOU will get NO help from me.

At what point did our society become the have’s and have nots? So because I don’t have a degree I’m BELOW you? I’ve received national awards and won several trips to our headquarters in Washington NUMEROUS times … but next time I’m asked to go, I’d better stay here … in case you need me to add FUCKING PAPER to the fax machine, eh?

JESUS! I think I’m having a STROKE!
Irish Rogue

I love when people wave their credentials all over the place. :rolleyes: I especially love the ones who think that clerks, secretaries, admin assistants, and any other clerical types are barely a step above slaves. Further, I love the ones who assume that because I’m female and because I know how assorted office machines work that I must be one of said not-quite-slaves.

I like your comeback, Irish Rogue - had I been there, I probably would have cracked up rather loudly.

I’m one of those college people. There are times when I have admins do things that I can do for myself. Those times are when I am extremely busy and I make those decisions based on the company getting its most bang for the buck.

That said, I agree with you. The women was a real prick. Had I been in her situation I may have asked for your help if I didn’t understand the fax machine loading system. Other than that my work would have continued after I reloaded the machine myself. But bothering you for any other reason is just plain shitty.

That woman pretty much screamed out her lack of class to the entire office.

An exec worth their money will use and appreciate the help of administrative staff. A loser will exploit them. You were dealing with a loser.

Plain and Simple,

Do you know this woman’s boss? Her attitude and actions were way beyond unprofessional!

If she thinks that getting a college degree makes her high caste, she is low caste. Having to climb out of such a low place means stepping on a lot of people.

How DO you put toner in a fax machine?

You know, Bubba, in most normal situations, I have the utmost repsect for the “college people” in my agency. I think that’s why today’s incident upset me …

I “know” my place … and I’m proud of it. My job is to clear the way … to move the wheels … to keep the office going while the agents do their jobs. I’m proud of the fact that “the trains run on time” while I’m here … and I’ve been doing this long enough that I can anticipate what they need BEFORE they ask for it 99% of the time.

You know, there’s always the “new kid” who is cocky for the first month or so … usually thinks that I, and the other support staff, am their personal indentured servant. This usually wears off the first time their butt is in a sling and I’m the only one who knows how to get it out.

I don’t think I’m better than what I am … and most importantly I make sure that THEY look good being WHO they are doing WHAT they do.

This woman has worked here years … I’ve had no problem with her and didn’t realize she thought it was beneath her to add paper to a fax machine. That’s fine … but next time I’m scheduling her travel … and she finds herself on a layover in Gnome, Alaska … haha :slight_smile:

Irish Rogue

Excellent rant :slight_smile: Thank you!

Fuck, I send my own faxes in my office. And change the paper on my exam table at need. And my title is “physician supervisor”.

A true professional does what’s necessary to get the job done. Not just their job, but the job of the office/department.


I have a college degree. I’m also afraid that the copier is going to rip my arm off when I’m clearing a paper jam.

More power to the clerks!

I dunno. Get Irish Rogue to do it for you?

That was no mistake, baby. That was the thing that makes me worship you as a god amongst admin professionals. {featherlou bows down at the altar of Irish Rogue}

I’ve been there, done that so many times before - had engineers walk past the photocopier to hand me one freakin’ piece of paper to copy. (In their defense, the engineers probably just couldn’t figure out how to work the copier. A smart bunch of guys, but they could barely dress themselves in the morning.)

Next time you have a run-in with this hoity-toity bitch, ask her if her arms are painted on. They like that.

I keep a log of how much time I spend doing “other duties as assigned”. Some entries show that I spent five minutes or less doing something, which makes me think, “Criminy, it probably took someone more time to come to my desk and write me a note to ask/tell me to do something than it actually took me to do it.”

Damn it, let me talk to her.

I am four days away from starting my third month of unemployment. I have not one, but two college degrees (three if you count my associates). I’ve got an impeccable work record, plenty of experience, good references, and so on. I can’t so much as get an interview to be a receptionist or clerk, much less an agent of such high importance. My last job was minimum wage. A college degree may help get some jobs, but perhaps a reminder that it does not ensure job security is in order.

Let me talk to her.

Better yet, let me have her job. :slight_smile:

I’ve been out of college for 15 years now and I just landed my first “executive” position 2 years ago.

I’m actually more likely to change toner on the printers than my employees. Paper is on a “if you need it in there, put it in there” basis.

I’ve spent time as admin/asst. and I know what you mean about being proud to keep things going. It takes a lot of skill.

Most execs I’ve worked for/with are pretty good about appreciating the support staff. This bitch probably just needs to get laid.

What an utter idiot! Not for the fax paper incident, that’s just basic being an asshole.

But to be in the working world for six years and not to realize that the last person in the office you fuck with is the top boss’s admin, that’s criminal obliviousness. The boss’s admin by definition knows 36 ways to stick a knife in your back and leave you bleeding on the floor of the break room before she even has her coffee in the morning. And to not retreate to her desk with her tail between her legs after your “which major” comment shows that she just doesn’t get the point.

Rogue, I think that it’s your duty to educate her about the ways of the working world. Simply being not helpful is a start, and routing her via Alaska is a nice gesture, but you can be more creative than that.

And, as she’s someone who doesn’t seem to be able to change the paper in a simple office machine, I’m sure she needs quite a bit of assistance from all of the “clerks” in the agency. I’m sure your administrative colleagues feel the way you do about this woman, and would be glad to assist in your educational project. I’m sure that you’ll quickly be rid of this woman in no time.

Um…how do you know her DADDY paid for her education?

Agreed. I work in a school district, and the people I “fear” the most are the superintendent and assistant superintendents’ secretaries. These are the people, mind you, who spend enough time with the head honchos that, as a result, they constantly have the bosses’ ears. My fear is a healthy thing to have.

I’m one of them college-edjumacated professorial types, and, cripes, it constantly amazes me what our admin assistant is willing to do for us. The first time she offered to copy things for me, I nearly fainted out of gratitude.

And for the love of Mike, who is stupid enough to not to recognize the inherent value of a good relationship with the administrative assistant? I can’t navigate the red tape by my self, that’s for damn sure. And there are some admin assts in some offices who are impossible to deal with. I swear, they play dumb just to make you crazy. (“I’m sorry, I don’t know what form you’re talking about. You say you sent it to us in triplicate? Because the directions told you to? Well, that’s odd, because I’ve never heard of the ‘Petition to File for Permission to Alter the Change of Committee Form’ Form. Are you sure it was supposed to come to our office and not the School of Engineering and Basket-Weaving? [long-suffering sigh] Just a minute, I’ll put you on hold while I check your file. [musak] Okay, I found it. I didn’t realize you meant that ‘Petition to File for Permission to Alter the Change of Committe Form’”) And sometimes they make up policies that don’t actually exist just to see what hoops you’ll jump through. (“I’m sorry, but I can’t change your home address in our records without letters from the chair of your department and the dean of your school. Yes, I understand that two digits of your zipcode are just transposed, and it’s only a typo, but I can’t make the change without–No, they can’t just send email, I need both letters, signed. And remember, our office is closing early today because it’s International Balloon-Animals Day, so if you don’t get those letters to me by two o’clock, the change won’t go through until February. Yes, I realize that you’re not getting your paychecks. It’s 1:35, though, so you should probably hurry.”) But, thing is, if you get your admin asst to call, they whole thing is taken care of in thirty seconds flat.

That’s right. There are times when having an assistant do something for you serves the purpose of freeing you up to do something that the assistant may not be able to do. In such cases, it’s perfectly reasonable.

What really gets me about the stupid bitch referred to in the OP is that she actually reduced her workplace’s productivity by getting Irish Rogue to do something that she should have done herself. Replacing the paper would have taken her 30 seconds, but instead she spends the same amount of time finding an assistant, complaining, and then watching Irish stop his/her own work in order to refill the paper. Effectively, there were two people doing a job that barely requires one, all because some self-important bint won’t unwrap a ream of paper.

[slight hijack]

Has anyone seen the recent FedEx commercial, where the admin woman asks the new guy to help ship packages?

He says that he doesn’t do shipping.

She says “No, it’s really easy.”

He says “No, you don’t understand, i have an MBA.”

Looking slightly worried, she says, “Oh, you have an MBA.”…pause… “In that case, i’d better show you how to do it.”

I love it!