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Friday, October 22, 2010

Help Me Escape the Secretarial Pool

Dear Evil HR Lady,

About 18 months ago, I was hired as an Administrative Assistant to the VP of Human Resources of a smallish company (<2K employees). Within a couple of months, my job duties began to change as I acquired tasks previously belonging to other members of the HR staff. Then there was major restructuring of the HR functions of the company, and I became responsible for several specific functions. For almost a year, I have bided my time to address this change with my manager. I wanted to give ample time to prove that I was capable and fully responsible in this new (unofficial) role.

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity I was looking for at my annual evaluation. I had just received a superior score and praises for my work, so took the leap. I presented the drastic changes to my job duties; I presented the difficulty I had being able to represent as an authority on my specific functions due to the “just a secretary” mindset of certain managers and outside vendors; I offered a full listing of various HR titles with tasks to show which might be more appropriate with all the changes. We discussed my desire to obtain PHR certification and the changes that would need to be made to my title/position in order for me to do that. She agreed with all of my points, but said she couldn’t give me a definite answer just yet. I followed up with her yesterday and got a response filled with business double-speak that translated to a resounding “no”.

What have I done wrong here? I have a college education and business degree, over ten years of experience with half of that specifically in HR, and I have proven myself over and over with any task given to me. I am on a first-name basis with the executives of the company and my reputation is solid. What can I do to officially break free of the secretarial pool?

Help Me Escape the Secretarial Pool

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