Friday, February 27, 2009

Etiquette Lesson # Two from Betty and Emily: Women in the Workplace! Know Your Place!

Sure, Betty's dedicated her role as Domestic Goddess, but Betty's also a Career Gal.  She understands the delicate tightrope that a woman must walk between home and the workplace.  The major problem, as I see it, is that even after a woman has put on those faux pearls and sensible, but calf-enhancing heels, and heads to the office, her mind may still wander back to the domestic front.  The marred glass of the photocopier can remind her that she needs to wash her windows at home.  The aquarium in the lobby can make a recipe for tuna casserole pop up in her mind like forgotten toast in the toaster.  The employer who sits like a fat rodent at his desk calling for her repeatedly may inadvertently remind her that she really needs to do something about those troublesome gophers that are currently tearing up the front lawn at home.

What's a Career Gal to do?  How can we be MOST efficient at our jobs?  Well, luckily, I've found that Emily has some advice for us and it's darn good advice for all women employees, not just secretaries. 

The Perfect Secretary
from Emily Post's Etiquette, pg 662

The perfect secretary should forget that she is a human being, and be the most completely efficient aid at all times and on all subjects.  Her object is to coordinate with her employer's endeavor and not make any intrusions, which would be much more likely to affect him as hurdles than as helps.

She should respond to his requirements exactly as a machine responds to the touch of a lever or accelerator.  If he says, "Good morning" she answers "Good morning" with a smile and cheerfully.  She does not offer a remark--unless she has messages of importance to give him.  If he says nothing, she says nothing, and she does not even notice that he has said nothing.  In fact, when she notices his preoccupation she waits, if possible, holding back irrelevant messages until he has finished the letters he wants to dictate or whatever business it was that made him ring for her.

Needless to say, a secretary must not betray  the secrets of her employer.  His business dealings must be regarded as professional secrets that it would be dishonorable to divulge---no matter how inconsequential they may seem.

Well!  At last we have some guidelines with which to work.  You may not be lucky enough to be a secretary (yet!) but adapt this basic philosophy, adding your own special ingredients to like you would a cookie dough recipe, to your current job and see what happens.  

Who knows?  You may even get a Certificate of Recognition at the next employee luncheon.  Better yet, your boss may get one and you can sit back and smile, watching him accept that award, with the secret, thrilling knowledge that you made it all possible.  You'll clap and smile along with all the other employees, thinking only of him and his outstanding achievements, not even remotely thinking of that Gopher Gasser currently in the trunk of your car.

1 comment:

Susan said...

great work, Betty! You had me at "sensible, but calf-enhancing heels!"