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Old 31-10-2011, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by bellmiko View Post
Thanks for the very comprehensive reply.

I do not think I am very confused about the whole situation. Companies can give the position whatever title they wan it to be. be it Executive, Secretary, PA etc. But eventually what they are doing is managing senior management's calendar, make travel arrangements, arrange meetings etc.. these are more Secretarial instead of administration.

presently, of course i am not expecting a big organization/MNC to consider me for a PA position because a PA is such an organization is as you said must be mature and well groomed etc.

at this point, i am just looking to start somewhere, dealing with the type of responsibilities i mentioned above, regardless what the company wants to name the position..

Aha, but the devil is in the details. Both basic administrator & executive secretary & even PA can be doing overlap jobs that consist of managing calendars, travel arrangements, or organizing events, but the expectations and problem solving required are very different. Organizations can call whatever BS title they want, but you yourself cannot be confused & think they are all the same.

Let me be clearer less you lump anyone that arrange meetings as secretary:

Managing Calendars

Exec Secretary – Expected to understand the nature of meeting & priority of each stakeholder. Knows how to reshuffle, prioritize & front stakeholders who are requesting meeting with the boss. In the event of last minute changes, able to make decisions on the spot and guess 80% who, when where the boss would want to meet first in the event of conflict. Understands boss preferred timings, likes & dislikes on venue, who he now trying to “siam” etc.

Basic Administrator – Order taker. People call to make meeting with boss, you look at Outlook calendar, find an empty slot and key in timing to reserve slot. Boss call & say I wana arrange meeting with so & so, you go call up person & book a timing. Any conflict with multiple stakeholders you call boss & ask what he want.

Travel Arrangements

Exec Secretary – You liase actively with your counterparts in other country to make all necessary arrangement & present your boss his travel itinerary, this often includes sorting out complicated visa requirements, local transport arrangements, liasing with multiple overseas parties to make sure boss can meet whoever he wants over there. Overseas interview for candidates is the worst, bloody problematic & prone to last minute changes. Many times could involve boss family members on private trips as well.

Basic Administrator – Order taker. Boss say need to fly to China next week. You phone travel agent, find out all available flight times and ask what he want. If got corporate hotel, help him reserve a room for required duration.

Above just 2 examples to show you how although you can say both jobs are “managing calendar” & “doing travel arrangement”, the expectation completely different. Just as a guide, secretaries are usually paid $4 - $5k, that’s about 3 times your current level.
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