Take a memo: time to say 'Thanks' to assistants

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Take a memo: time to say 'Thanks' to assistants

For those who didn't know or who forgot: The last full week of April is Administrative Professionals Week (more commonly known as "Secretary's Day," when your "administrative professional" is not in earshot). Approved by the International Association of Administrative Professionals, the week has been recognized since 1952 as a way to remind the general public to appreciate secretarial staff. The Joong- Ang Ilbo English Edition spoke with five secretaries around town:

Jung Cho-jung, 33, business coordinator/executive secretary, Euro RSCG Next

"My job is to forget my own needs and focus on my boss. It's my duty to assure him that every meeting is organized, and that all the paperwork is confirmed, filed and remembered. I have to do my work well so my boss can do his work well. So I am not only the face of the company, but also the face of my boss. I feel satisfied when my boss acknowledges my painstaking work and says those magic words: 'Thank you.'"

Lee Jung-eun, 25, executive secretary, M.Net

"Thanks to my fluency in Japanese, I was able to tackle some hard tasks while negotiating with Japanese firms like Sony Music. I send funny e-cards or happy music e-mail to my boss. Sometimes he replies with a sincere note. It may seem trivial, but it adds up to trust. In order to make sure that my boss never confuses his restaurant reservations, I keep the telephone numbers of all the restaurants the boss goes to regularly in my mobile phone. That way, if for some reason a reservation cannot be made or I need to find out if they have an empty table, I can call whenever, wherever I am."

Park Kwang-hyun, 27, president's secretary, SPACE Cyberlink, Inc.

"The CEO I used to work for was a woman. She taught me many things about this business. We were like a team, but at the same time she took care of me like a mother would take care of her child. She was very professional, but very emotional too. She devoted herself to everything related to her job; she knew everything that was going on in the office. She could tell if a flowerpot had been moved or not. Later I worked with a male boss. People get suspicious if they think that you are getting close to your male boss. This did not happen with my female boss. The change was new to me, but my ambition and pride in my work were a big boost to help me do my best. A secretary is not a pretty flower who sits at her desk, sometimes making coffee and taking phone calls. There is much more to this job. I wish some men, specially the older ones, learned to acknowledge the real value of their secretaries."

Jeon Hae-kyung, 33, executive secretary, country management office, ING Barings

"A good secretary should be spontaneous, witty, quick, know when to say things, accurate, resolute, considerate. . . I always liked to work with people, and being a supporting and patient person help me manage my job in a professional manner. A secretary is part of the image of the company and the impression that she gives to others is the impression that they get of the company."

Cho Soon-young, 32, group secretary, Arthur Andersen

"My wish is to maybe start a new career in a totally different industry. All I know how to do is secretary work.

"Because I have been working in this field for eight years now, I do have pride, however, there are times when I would like to try something new, like be a shopping-TV host.

"Before working here, I used to be a personal secretary. That job was not for me because a personal secretary has to put in a lot of effort into one person's feelings and that was too much stress for me. Here, because I confront a variety of people, the focus is on getting the job done accurately."

by Cathy Han, Jenny Yun

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