Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
A secretary is an office/administrative support position. The title refers to a person who performs routine, administrative, or personal tasks for a superior. These office employees perform duties such as typing, computer processing, and scheduling for an executive. Secretaries are often hard-working, important members of a business who know its administrative workings better than anyone else. They usually work at desks in offices.
Since the Renaissance until the late 19th Century, men had assumed the title of secretary. In the 1880's, with the invention of the typewriter, more women began to enter the field. Since World War I, however, the role of secretary has been primarily associated with women. By the 1930s, fewer men were entering the secretarial field.
In an effort to promote professionalism amongst secretaries, the National Secretaries Association was created in 1942. The organization developed the first standardized test for office workers called the Certified Professional Secretaries Examination (CPS). It was first administered in 1951. Today, this organization is known as the [] International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP).
In 1952,Mary Barrett, president of the National Secretaries Association, C. King Woodbridge, president of Dictaphone Corporation, and American businessman Harry F. Klemfuss created a special Secretary's Day holiday, to recognize the hard work of the women in the office. The holiday caught on, and during the fourth week of April is now celebrated in offices all over the world. It has been renamed "Administrative Professional's Week" to highlight the increased responsibility of today's secretary and other administrative workers, and to avoid embarrassment to those who believe "secretary" refers only to women or to unskilled workers.
At the administrative level many job descriptions blur into each other; a secretary in one company might be called an administrative assistant in another. However, while Administrative Assistant is a truly generic term, not necessarily implying directly working for a superior, Secretary tends to be biased towards typing-based activities directed by a superior. Other titles describing jobs similar to or overlapping those of the traditional secretary are Office Coordinator, Executive Assistant, Office Manager and Administrative Professional.
Secretarial jobs are popular as they require few formal qualifications and yet can be skilled jobs. At the most basic end of the spectrum a secretary may need only a good command of the prevailing office language and the ability to type, while at the other end of the spectrum they may be required to take shorthand at spoken-language rates, type at high speeds using technical language, organise diaries and carry out administrative duties which may include accountancy. Other common tasks are filing and fetching papers (or the equivalent files and databases online), and planning meetings.
Secretary is also the name of a film.
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