Wednesday 20 March 2013

Not Just A Secretary

I work as an administrative assistant to two wonderful psychologists.  I have a bachelor's degree in the Humanities.  I read six to eight books a week. 

One thing I am not is dumb.

I overheard some undetermined professionals talking and complaining about the receptionist where they work.  I'm not sure what they did for a living but one was most irritated at the receptionists inability to keep track of particular files.  (I can sympathize, disorganization can be frustrating.)  What struck me was a certain level of dismissiveness about both the job and the person doing it.  As if such a person was, by definition, somehow lesser than they.

Incompetence is one thing, but a superior attitude will light a fire on my tongue every time.  There is no category in the world which automatically exults or casts down those within it (with the possible exception of sociopaths and killers but let's not allow exceptions to derail a good rant.)

I have more respect for a gardener who does his or her work well and with a cheerful disposition than I do for a doctor with multiple degrees who can't remember my name or show up on time.  Education does not guarantee superior competence or intelligence. 

This is one lesson I'm proud to have learned from my family.  It's deep in my bones:  Everyone deserves respect for doing their job well, regardless of the job. 

I hope I can pass it on to my sons.  Service people tend to get the short end of the stick, invisible when doing well, first on the firing line when things go badly.  Treating them with courtesy and respect always pays dividends.  And it's the decent, humane thing to do, in case we needed another reason.

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