Secretaries are losers who can't do hard jobs
Fail! It takes a whole lot more than just making phone calls to be a secretary. There are indeed a bunch of serious misunderstandings about this job. Because: although many people seem to think the contrary, being a secretary is one of the most underestimated jobs around. In fact it's not easy at all. It's basically quite a tough position and you have to be able to organize like hell and say no to a lot of people who have higher positions than you.
Don't be scared to ask for help
When you're new, it's scary to take on a whole new situation. So on or right after that first day, you should not be scared to ask some relevant questions if you're confused or you don't understand something. It's a good thing to ask for more information as it shows your interest and your desire to learn. Stay relaxed while doing so though, you don't want to pressure your colleagues into helping you while they've got stuff to do themselves. It's good to ask, you will all benefit from it. Besides, you get to know some people in the meantime.
The writing stuff down part: true!
Of course you are going to pick up the phone and write stuff down… it's where all the prejudices come from. So make sure to always have a notebook or writing pad in reach. Seriously, write things down in a place where you can find them again. So no post-its! You're bound to loose them. Write down what you need to do tomorrow. That's right, like that you're well prepared and ready to go the next day. Try to organize your tasks by sorting them on relevance and urgency. Less important things can be done later. Start with the deadlines and tasks that were asked by your boss. Prioritize.
Say no like there's no tomorrow
But being a secretary is all about doing stuff for others, no? That's right. So it takes a lot of gut to say NO to your superiors. Think about it… as a secretary, when you're busy handling people's requests, it's difficult not letting them walk all over you. It'll pay off if you learn to say it NO. If for example you're being showered with all kinds of requests and tasks because you work in a bigger office, it might seem hard to decline. Don't be scared! There is a solution. Just tell them you are busy and you can't pick up their task immediately. Tell them you need to do this and this first and then you'll get to it after you finish. Unless of course, the request is coming from your boss. Always take on as much as possible, but don't overdo it.
Still sounds dead easy to me!
That's great news, and good for you too, because companies are hiring. And what are they looking for? They need people who can deal with things that have gone wrong and who can fix them. People who can deal with stress and who are willing to step up. Also: people with secretarial skills who are so efficient that those things are unlikely to go wrong in the first place. High on the wish list are secretaries who are adaptable, supportive and are able to present a warm and friendly face. Even when things are not going according to plan! Keep on smiling, no matter what. Not so much a job for those who can't do anything else, huh? Indeed, it takes a lot more than answering a phone… not just any loser can be secretary. Secretaries are people too… damn smart people!