What kind of work was a young temp(orary secretary) in NYC in the 1980’s called upon to do? First of all, we weren’t office administrators, we were secretaries. And really, I thought clerical work was terribly easy especially before technology arrived. I generally worked for Accurate Temporaries, but also did some work for Kelly Girls, I think.
The hardest thing about temping was dealing with new people, new personalities, constantly. Some were nice, some not so nice; some were assholes, some were evil. Regardless, you had to maintain good relationships with them AND remember names and faces.
With practice and necessity, I became pretty good at short term name recall and temporary relationships.
At work, we had any number of clerical tasks or duties. The main categories: 1. answering phones/reception; 2. Making phone calls for the bosses; 3. Taking dictation and/or transcribing taped memos with a Dictaphone; 4. Doing personal errands for the bosses; 5. Making photocopies on Xerox machines; 6. Sending faxes; 7. Filing; 8. Lastly, perhaps one of my favorite tasks: Typing drafts from pages of handwritten notes, on a typewriter, usually on IBM Selectrics -- large, clunky, loud machines that had removable font balls and, if you were lucky, had white correction strips so you could cover your mistakes, cleanly and fast.
Let’s explore each one of the previous clerical/secretarial tasks in more thrilling detail. . .