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A secretary is 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.

Historically, the role of secretary has been associated with women. In 1952 American businessman Harry F. Klemfuss created a special Secretary's Day holiday in his company, to recognize the hard work of the women in his office. The holiday caught on, and is now celebrated in offices all over the world, often renamed "Administrative Professional's Day" to highlight the increased responsibility of today's secretary and 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.

In some countries, a secretary is also the leader of a department of government, and performs duties equal to that of a minister of a ministry, for example The Secretary of Defense.

The term secretary is also used to describe a specific type of desk with an hinged working surface, such as a secretary desk, a fall front desk or a Bargueno desk.

Secretary is also the name of a film.

Last updated: 02-07-2005 03:54:08
Last updated: 02-21-2005 12:01:56