empirieCOMMUNITY: "Miss Moneypenny" is so last year!

25. Apr 2019
Johannes Haaf

Those who work as assistants often have to struggle with prejudices. Find out why our two colleagues Nadja and Sabine have little in common with the typical "Miss Moneypenny", but much more with being the good souls of the office, managers, all-rounders and multi-talents!

Nadja und Sabine

The typical image of a "secretary" is firmly anchored in peoples’ heads, which is why most of them think they know what her day looks like: sitting behind the desk and painting her fingernails in the brightest colours? Far from it! They wouldn't need to with tasks as colourful and diverse as theirs!

Together with Nadja and Sabine we had been able to uncover some of the most famous clichés – moreover, we have proofed them wrong!


Cliché No. 1

"All a 'secretary' has to do is smile nicely, look pretty and take phone calls."

One thing for sure: Nadja and Sabine can easily do all of that – but they are capable of so much more!

The job as an administrative professional requires a sound knowledge of office software, business, as well as basic labour law regulations; a good command of written and spoken English is required, too. Communication skills and managerial qualities are indispensable skills alongside organisational skills, independence and assertiveness. Qualities such as flexibility, a sense of duty, the ability to work in a team and a sense of order help them to master the daily office life; and – despite all the hustle and bustle – they always have a sympathetic ear for everyone.

In addition to coordinating appointments for empiriecom’s management, their tasks include time management as well as travel planning and -accounting for the entire company. Moreover, Nadja and Sabine take care of hospitality during meetings, centralised investment procurement, they purchase office supplies and invoice them. They manage and archive user tools, take care of mail processing, plan the entire administrative process, organise conferences and events and take on further special tasks, such as the ‘onboarding’ of new employees. Their working days are intense and none is like the other – “but that is exactly what we love about the job.”

Cliché No. 2

"Top tier: stenographing and making coffee."

"Dictated but not read” – that was way back! Stenography or super-fast shorthand has not been used for twenty+ years and has been replaced by dictation machines. Although they do not think themselves too good for making coffee, this is certainly not one of their important disciplines of an administrative professional.

They act as the management’s "right hand" – and that is not just a catch phrase! They represent this saying by being able to solve different kinds of problems, thinking along as well as -ahead and through having a close connection and identifying with the management level.

Nadja und Sabine

Nadja and Sabine are acting as "placeholders" – but not deputies for the superiors – and that is not always easy to handle. It requires a lot of knowledge and instinct. They organise at least two jobs: that of the superiors and their own, needing a lot of factual and economic knowledge in the process. The tasks of both of them are: to relieve, support, remind, inform, filter, shield, motivate, communicate, organise, monitor and control; additionally, they act as a point of contact for issues from A to Z. Apart from these many administrative tasks, they also consider themselves as mediators between management and roughly 110 colleagues at empiriecom.

Cliché No. 3

"Secretaries gossip all day long."

Clearly ‘NO’! Once again, the typical picture of a 'secretary' holding a cup of coffee while chatting with a friend of hers on the phone does not apply here; they wouldn't have any time for those activities anyway.

Their day starts with the preparation of the workplaces at 7a.m. – not only their own but up to seven at a time. If there is any appointment set, the room and catering has to be prepared and the agenda must be prepositioned – all of that has to be settled before Nadja und Sabine can even start their day-to-day business. Most of the colleagues arrive around half past eight – from then on the rollercoaster starts riding and everything is pretty much on the spur of the moment. This requires a lot of short-term organisational talent!


Nadja und Sabine

We've tried to use this blog post as an opportunity to ask our management and a few employees a bunch of questions regarding our administrative professionals:

How would things proceed at empiriecom without them?

"When I think back to my first few months at empiriecom, their door has always been wide open for me. They had and always have a sympathetic ear, a smile on their face, lots of tips and information that ease the first steps and the best overview of all the processes going on throughout the company. Without Nadja and Sabine, there would be a quite the chaos at empiriecom."

Our office, or rather: all-rounders in action.

They do much more than just making coffee and taking telephone calls (not at all what the cliché of a 'secretary' is trying to have us believe). The organisation of trips, conferences or even events, such as our famous summer party (and much more), are on their toes. Besides the huge amount of tasks they have to cope with, one of their best attributes is that they are always taking time for the employees – be it for questions, problems or organisational topics.
And that is what makes them indispensable. Our everyday heroines!

"Well, empiriecom would probably be all knocked out without our two lovely stars. Thanks to the ladies, we are an extremely fast, flexible and precisely acting and organising team that always keeps an overview; even if tremendously busy situations occur.
I could not imagine empiriecom without Nadja and Sabine!”

"Even if it is a cliché: without Nadja and Sabine the management (and their meeting participants) would have absolute caffeine withdrawal...

Without the two many small tasks (maybe not visible at the first glance, yet important) would remain undone...

We would probably forget most of our appointments, not find meeting rooms etc. without Nadja and Sabine reminding us…"

"Without our administration professionals, an appointment with the entire management would not be happening…
Without our administration professionals there would be no summer parties or alike...
Without our administration professionals, we would not be able to survive at all!”

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