“The first thing the secretary types is the boss.”
Donald Trump, Former President
Pros and Cons of Working as a Secretary
You want to become a secretary? Make sure to evaluate all the pros and cons of being a secretary first to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
After reading this article, you may rather want to go for an alternative career path instead or you may also get confirmation that working as a secretary is indeed the right career for you.
Being a Secretary – Key Facts
|Short Job Description||Secretaries help managers and other people in leading positions to manage and organize their workday so that those people can work in the most efficient manner and don’t have to waste their time with minor issues.|
|Salary||$25,000 – $40,000 a year, average around $30,000, depending on your level of experience|
|Job Security||Rather low since you are replaceable.|
|Physically / Mentally Demanding?||Can be mentally demanding.|
|Future Outlook||While secretaries will always be needed, the low barriers to entry in this field will contribute to rather poor job security and low overall salaries in the future.|
|Requirements||No special educational requirements necessary.|
Advantages of Being a Secretary
- Secretaries work regular hours
- You don’t have to work on weekends
- Good work-life balance as a secretary
- Being a secretary is not that stressful
- You can work for experienced managers
- Secretaries know exactly what’s going on inside the company
- You can work indoors
- You can adopt skills from the people you work for
- Working as a secretary can be an intermediate career step
- Secretaries can work in many different companies
- Teleworking is possible in big companies
- You can build a strong network
- You don’t need a college degree for becoming a secretary
- You can avoid getting into debt for your education
Secretaries work regular hours
One advantage of being a secretary is that you will have a regular 40-hour workweek most of the time. In fact, as a secretary, you will often work a classical 9 to 5 job and don’t have to work many extra hours. Compared to other jobs where you have to work long hours on a regular basis, you will have much more time to spend on other things you like more than work as a secretary.
This means that you can go out for drinks in the evenings when other people still have to work and deal with unpleasant issues. It can also mean that you will have more time for your family or for hobbies.
You will also be able to plan your week quite well since deviations from your official schedule will almost never happen.
You don’t have to work on weekends
Another benefit of being a secretary is that you will have free weekends. While this is true for many other jobs, some people who work in management or as a consultant often have to work Saturdays or even Sundays since the workload they have to manage is simply too high for a 5-day workweek.
Instead of working your bud off, you can just relax on weekends or also make nice weekend trips with your family or friends. Opportunities are almost endless and I am sure you will have better things to do with your time instead of just working 😉.
Good work-life balance as a secretary
In general, since secretaries have free weekends and rather standardized 40-hour workweeks, they will have plenty of time to follow their passions and to do the things they love. In fact, you can go out even during the week since you don’t have to work in the evening.
If you are not the type of person who loves going out to bars or clubs, you may also become part of a sports team or paint a picture.
Whatever you like to do, you will have the time to do plenty of that as a secretary due to the high level of leisure that comes along with working in this field.
Being a secretary is not that stressful
While there can be some labor-intensive periods, secretaries also have a rather relaxed life most of the time. In fact, you will often just wait for your boss to give you some work and especially when your boss is on vacation, there will be barely anything to do for you.
You will also be able to work rather independently as a secretary, at least if you do a great job and your boss knows that he or she can rely on you without controlling what you are doing.
Hence, if you understand the game, you will also be able to work in a rather stress-free manner in most companies as a secretary.
You can work for experienced managers
As a secretary, you will also work for people with leading roles inside your company. In fact, only people who reach a certain level will have the opportunity to have a secretary working for them. This also implies that you will work with pretty important people. Quite often, you will work for people who belong to the senior management or even the board of directors.
While this may sound intimidating at first, those people are just only humans like you and me and you should not be scared. Quite often, you will be surprised who nice those people are, even though there is a lot of pressure on their shoulders.
Consequently, working as a secretary can also be great for you if you want to get to know many important people.
Secretaries know exactly what’s going on inside the company
Another upside of working as a secretary is that you will also know pretty well what’s going on in the company you work for. Since you will be the personal assistant of partners or other important people inside your company, you will see many crucial contracts and will also be able to hear many important calls.
If you listen closely and have a certain talent to combine information from various channels, you will get a pretty good impression regarding who well the company you work for is currently doing and whether you have a safe job inside the company or not.
In turn, you will also be in a pole position to search for a new job in case you hear from financial difficulties of your firm.
You can work indoors
While you might take this for granted, there are in fact many people who still don’t have the privilege to work indoors. In fact, in many jobs, it is just not possible to work indoors. For instance, if you work in garbage collection, you will just have no choice but to work outside buildings. In turn, this also implies that you will be exposed to extreme weather conditions like rain or snow.
You will also have to work under extremely hot conditions in summer, especially if you live close to the desert. Hence, while many people have to work under those adverse conditions, you will have a much more convenient life as a secretary since you can just work indoors, protected from rain and snow and you will even have air conditioning or heating to make your time at work as convenient as possible.
You can adopt skills from the people you work for
Many people you work for will also be pretty smart. Since they have achieved to get into leading positions in your company, they must have done something right.
In fact, you can learn a lot from those people. You just have to look at how they structure their day, on what topics and tasks they focus on and so on.
By working for those people, you can adopt many important skills into your personal skillset and you can really grow as a character.
In turn, you may learn a lot for your future and this can even help you to get into more demanding positions later on in your life.
Working as a secretary can be an intermediate career step
In fact, becoming a secretary in a renowned company may only be the first step of your career path. Many secretaries choose to get additional education later on in their lives since they just aspire to a more demanding career.
However, since they have worked as a secretary before, they already know many important people inside the company and this can really give them a head start when it comes to promotions or to long-term success.
Hence, it can really be a smart move to start out as a secretary and to climb the career ladder later on in the future.
Secretaries can work in many different companies
Since working as a secretary is pretty similar across companies and even across countries, you will also be able to work for many different companies. For instance, if you don’t like the working climate inside your company, you can just work for someone else.
Moreover, if you aspire to moving to a foreign country in the future, you will also not have that much difficulties with finding another job as a secretary, especially if you are good at what you are doing.
Thus, you will also have many options for whom you want to work for as a personal assistant.
Teleworking is possible in big companies
In some companies, you will even be able to work from home as a secretary. In fact, teleworking has become increasingly popular over the past decade and will likely become even more popular in the future. Quite often, your boss will just work from home and so can you if the IT infrastructure is sophisticated enough to allow that.
By working from home, you will also be quite flexible regarding when to work and when to take a break. You will also be better able to manage your family since it will become easier for you to pick up your kids.
You can build a strong network
Since you will coordinate many important appointments as a secretary, you can also build a really strong business network. In fact, this is not only true inside the company your work for, you can also build many relationships with clients.
By building all those relationships, it will be much easier for you to switch companies or to get into more demanding roles inside your own company. Hence, make sure that you network well to maximize your career options in the long run.
You don’t need a college degree for becoming a secretary
You also don’t need to go to college for becoming a secretary. In fact, you often just need a high school diploma or similar qualifications and you are good to go. This means that you will be able to earn money from the first day while many of your friends will have to go to college for many years before they even start earning any money.
Hence, becoming a secretary can also be great if you don’t have the motivation to get many additional years of education after school and if you want to stand on your own feet right from the beginning.
You can avoid getting into debt for your education
Since you don’t have to get a college degree for becoming a personal assistant, you can also avoid student loan debt and the related serious adverse consequences that come along with it. In fact, in our current state of the world, it is quite common to finance college degrees with student loans.
While student loans can make your time in college much more fun since you don’t have to worry that much about your finances, you will have to pay the piper later on in your life since you will have to pay back large sums of money.
In turn, many young people get stuck in debt, especially if they drop out of college after a few years without a degree. As a secretary, you can avoid all of this since you can just earn money right after school without having to spend huge sums of money on tuition and other things related to college life.
Disadvantages of Being a Secretary
- Salary of secretaries is rather low
- Many secretaries struggle to cover basic expenses
- Secretaries don’t have a high social status
- Affairs inside the company are quite common
- Being a secretary can be difficult for your private life
- Job as a secretary may become boring after a while
- Not that many promotion opportunities
- Secretaries have a rather standardized workday
- Fun at work greatly depends on the people you work for
- You have to solve many minor issues
- You may not feel important as a secretary
- Secretaries are replaceable
- Rather questionable job security
Salary of secretaries is rather low
As we have seen before, there are many important advantages to becoming a secretary. Yet, there are also some issues with this career path. In fact, one problem with being a secretary is that your salary will be pretty low.
The average income of secretaries is around 30,000 dollars in the United States and only few personal assistants make more than 40,000 dollars.
Hence, you will not be able to afford many fancy things as a secretary and you should definitely go for an alternative career path if money is really important to you.
Many secretaries struggle to cover basic expenses
Especially in big metropolitan areas, many secretaries even struggle to pay for their basic expenses. Since rents have increased quite a lot, many people are just no longer able to afford a home and many of them end up homeless in the streets.
You may suffer from the same destiny as a secretary since your income will just not be high enough to pay for your rent and for other important things at the same time. Sure, you can marry a rather wealthy person to overcome this problem.
However, if you are on your own, be aware of the fact that you will have to deal with serious financial difficulties as a secretary in the long run.
Secretaries don’t have a high social status
Another downside of being a secretary is that you will just have a rather low social status. While doctors save lives and pilots have great responsibility for many people on a daily basis, you will just carry out some paperwork and many people may consider your work as rather inferior and not that important.
Hence, make sure that you are also able to ignore haters who may want to bring you down in this regard.
Affairs inside the company are quite common
There are also some prejudices regarding the personal life and relationships of secretaries inside the company. Quite often, rumors will be spread that you will have an affair with your boss. In fact, this could even become true sooner or later.
Many secretaries have affairs with their bosses since they often work together for an extended period of time and know each other quite well. Thus, you will also have to deal with prejudices and social stigma as a secretary.
Being a secretary can be difficult for your private life
Since your partner will also know that affairs between secretaries and bosses are quite common, he or she will often not be able to trust you and will become quite jealous in the long run.
In fact, many relationships ended due to those high levels of mistrust and becoming a secretary may therefore lead to all sorts of issues in your private life.
Job as a secretary may become boring after a while
Many secretaries also get pretty bored in the long run. While the first months or even years may be exciting, many secretaries just don’t like to go to work anymore after this period since they always have to deal with the same stuff and don’t get any exciting work to do.
It is also relatively hard to get into more demanding positions in your company without having to get additional education. Hence, make sure that you really like working as a secretary before deciding for this career path since it can be hard to get out of this profession once you are in.
Not that many promotion opportunities
In general, you will also have a pretty hard time getting promoted as a secretary. In fact, there are not many promotion opportunities at all and after a few years, there will also not be much room for raises anymore since you will not be able to provide any additional value to the company compared to previous years.
Secretaries have a rather standardized workday
Another disadvantage of being a secretary is that you will also have a rather standardized workday. In fact, there will not be many surprises during your day and after a few years, you will feel like you could do much more interesting things instead of just having to work as a personal assistant in this standardized manner.
Thus, if you aspire to a really exciting career, you will also be rather unhappy with the job as a secretary in the long run.
Fun at work greatly depends on the people you work for
Since you will work closely with your boss on a daily basis, whether you will have a good time at work or a really bad experience heavily depends on the mood of your boss and on his overall attitude towards life. If your boss is a nice person, he or she will try to make your life as easy as possible. If not, you will have a pretty hard time at work and will literally hate your life.
Hence, there will be a pretty high and rather unhealthy level of dependence if you work as a secretary and you should really ask yourself whether you want to become that dependent in the long run.
You have to solve many minor issues
As a secretary, you will also be the person who has to solve all sorts of annoying minor issues. For instance, if the printer is no longer working anymore, you will often be the one who gets the task to fix it. If there is no ink left, you will be the one to order it.
These are just examples, yet I think you get the point. You will just have to deal with many minor and boring problems while your boss can manage the really important stuff that brings your company to the next level.
You may not feel important as a secretary
In general, you will also feel rather unimportant as a secretary. While you will see many important people around you, you will be the one who just assists those people, yet you will have no power to change things to the positive whatsoever.
In fact, many secretaries feel pretty lost in their jobs after a while since they realize that they can just make no difference and no real contribution to the success of the company they work for.
Secretaries are replaceable
Since the work of a secretary is pretty standardized, you will also be replaceable pretty easily. In fact, if there is a younger candidate who accepts a lower salary, you may just get fired, especially if your boss doesn’t like you.
Rather questionable job security
Also in the long run, job security as a secretary will be rather limited. Standardized work will be automized much more in the future due to machine learning and artificial intelligence and many secretaries will just lose their jobs due to that.
Top 10 Being a Secretary Pros & Cons – Summary List
|Being a Secretary Pros||Being a Secretary Cons|
|Secretaries have good insights||Secretaries don’t earn good money|
|You can build a strong network||Affairs with bosses are quite common|
|Secretaries have standard workweeks||Being a secretary can be boring|
|Good work-life balance||Low social status of secretaries|
|Secretaries don’t have to work on weekends||You can’t deal with the important stuff|
|Teleworking may be possible||Secretaries are replaceable|
|You can work with important people||Rather low job security|
|Secretaries can work indoors||Limited promotion opportunities|
|You don’t have to go to college||Rather standardized workday|
|You can avoid student loan debt||Fun at work depends on your boss|
Should You Become A Secretary?
Now that you know all the advantages and disadvantages of being a secretary, it is time to sit down and evaluate all the pros and cons yourself so that you can make a profound decision regarding this important topic.
Don’t worry if you no longer want to become a secretary. There are so many different career paths you can take out there and I am sure you will find the right thing for you.
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About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people about the different career paths that are possible in our current state of the world. In my opinion, people often make the mistake to choose their profession solely based on how much money they can earn from it instead of doing what makes them really happy.
This is quite sad and I just want to give people a more objective picture of how a fulfilling career could look like. I did the same when I started working in consulting after finishing my Master’s degree in Economics. However, I’ve quit pretty soon after that since I haven’t found true meaning in my job.
Now I can do what I really love to do and I want to enable as many other people as well to go this exciting path towards happiness instead of money.
I conducted various interviews with employees to give you a good impression of what working in different fields will look like and that you can make the best possible decision regarding your future career choice.
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