19 Pros and Cons of Being a Secretary

Companies of all sizes hire secretaries in order to answer phones, keep the office organized, and conduct a number of other tasks.

Being a secretary can be extremely rewarding as long as the people who work around you are professional and respectful.

Understanding the pros and cons of the job will make it easier to decide if it’s a desirable career for you.

Pros of Being a Secretary

Being a secretary of an office can involve a number of responsibilities.

There are lots of pros to the job as long as you look at everything in the right light.

1. Enjoy Consistent Hours

When you work as a secretary, you will have fairly consistent office hours.

In most instances, you will work Monday through Friday with a schedule that is 8 AM until 4 PM or 9 AM until 5 PM.

Sometimes, you will also be given a lunch break.

There will likely only be a few rare occasions where you will be asked to stay later.

2. Avoid Working Weekends & Holidays

Secretaries generally only work during the week.

This means that you will have weekends all to yourself, allowing you to plan many getaways and more.

Many offices are closed on major holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, giving you time off – and many companies will pay you for that time off.

3. Enjoy a Positive Work-Life Balance

Since you don’t have to work long hours or deal with a significant amount of stress, you will be able to enjoy a great work-life balance.

You will be able to leave most of your work at home so that it doesn’t follow you wherever you go.

All of your off time will be yours, so you won’t have to be constantly checking your phone or logging into your email remotely.

4. Work Indoors

You will be working in an office, generally with air conditioning and a desirable environment.

It will allow you to be comfortable throughout the workday without worrying about getting sunburned.

Beyond working indoors, you also won’t have to worry about too many physical demands.

The heaviest workout will likely be carrying in a package or changing out the toner cartridge.

5. Gain a Variety of Skills

Depending on the industry that you work for, you will gain a variety of skills simply because of being actively involved in day-to-day activities.

Obviously, you will learn about email correspondence, phone communication, and basic office activities.

However, you may also learn other valuable skills that are unique to the industry that you are working in – and this can help you grow within your company or expand your opportunities elsewhere.

6. Work for Different Companies

You will have the ability to work for different companies.

Almost every business, small and large, depends on at least one secretary in order to keep things operating smoothly.

Once you have worked at one office, you will be able to translate that experience into working for another office.

It provides you with plenty of job security.

7. Enjoy Benefits

Most companies will offer benefits to all of their full-time employees, and that would include secretaries.

This may provide you with health insurance, paid time off, paid vacation, and even access to a company 401(k) program.

All of these benefits can add up to enhance your employment package and make a company more desirable to work for.

8. Network

There will be plenty of ways to network as a secretary.

You may end up talking with secretaries from other companies that you are required to interact with as well as a variety of clients.

Take advantage of all of the networking opportunities because you never know when someone in your network can be of assistance to you.

9. Get the Inside Track

The secretary is usually able to learn about all of the different gossip going on within the company.

You may be responsible for filing HR reports on employees, and people will ask you about what they need to do in various situations.

Being such a central employee can ensure that you have all of the insider information about your company, giving you the upper hand in many situations.

10. Grow Within your Company

While you may be “just” a secretary now, that doesn’t mean that is all you will ever be.

You may work for a company that will offer tuition assistance.

This will allow you to get your degree while you continue to work as a secretary.

From there, you will already have your foot in the door to grow into other positions.

You may also be able to move from secretary to executive assistant for one of the higher-level positions in corporate.

Cons of Being a Secretary

Being a secretary can be stressful depending on the company, your responsibilities, and the people you will be working with.

Understanding the various cons of the job will make it easier to be realistic about whether the job is right for you.

1. Salaries are Often Low

Secretaries aren’t generally paid all that well because there aren’t unique skills that are necessary to do the job.

Unless a secretary is required to know shorthand, a second language, or some other unique skill, the pay can often be less than $40,000 a year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

2. Work Can Be Stressful

There may be times when the job can be extremely stressful because there are too many people asking too many things of you.

There may be piles of paperwork to wade through while also answering the phone and corresponding to various emails.

Entering staff meetings where leadership is disagreeing about various things can also be stressful and leave you in a situation where you don’t know what to say.

3. There’s Not a High Social Status

If you tell someone that you are a secretary, it will generally not give you high social status.

People will make assumptions that you are uneducated and that being a secretary is the best that you could do.

The reality may be that you love your job, but people won’t think very highly of you.

4. Sexual Harassment is Real

Secretaries are often the subject of sexual harassment in the workplace.

Particularly if a female works for a male manager, there is the assumption that the female will provide any service that he may need.

The same can be said if there is a male secretary working for a female manager.

Some companies and industries have more sexual harassment cases filed per year than others, so it’s important to do your research.

5. You’ll Need an Extensive Wardrobe

Secretaries are an extension of the company.

They are often the first person that a client sees when entering an office.

Therefore, they need to look professional at all times.

It can require an extensive wardrobe of professional attire, which can be expensive if you don’t already have the necessary wardrobe.

Most companies will not provide any financial compensation to help you build a professional wardrobe.

6. The Work Can Get Boring

The work of a secretary can get boring as you will find yourself doing the same things every day.

While you may talk to different people and file different paperwork, the tasks tend to be monotonous.

You will struggle to find ways to change up your workday in order to stay motivated week after week, year after year.

7. The Position is Replaceable

There is not always a lot of job security because the position of secretary is considered easily replaceable.

Since you may not have a lot of valuable skills, anyone can be brought in and quickly trained in order to do the job.

Particularly after being in the position for a few years, many companies will find that it’s easier to replace a secretary with someone they can pay less than to offer a higher salary.

8. Some Will Take Advantage of the Position

Secretaries are often viewed as personal assistants.

Managers may take advantage of this by using you as their personal assistant.

You may find yourself getting coffee, picking up dry cleaning, and taking lunch orders for the office even though these items aren’t in your job description.

Failure to do these tasks may even lead to low marks in your job performance reviews.

9. It’s Hard to Get Promoted

As a secretary, it will be hard to get promoted unless you are going to school or working on a variety of skills that will benefit the company in other positions.

Otherwise, the only positions you may be able to get promoted to would be the executive assistant for a particular individual, such as a department head or CEO.

Pros and Cons of Being a Secretary – Summary Table

Pros of Being a SecretaryCons of Being a Secretary
1. Enjoy Consistent Hours1. Salaries are Often Low
2. Avoid Working Weekends & Holidays2. Work Can Be Stressful
3. Enjoy a Positive Work-Life Balance3. There’s Not a High Social Status
4. Work Indoors4. Sexual Harassment is Real
5. Gain a Variety of Skills5. You’ll Need an Extensive Wardrobe
6. Work for Different Companies6. The Work Can Get Boring
7. Enjoy Benefits7. The Position is Replaceable
8. Network8. Some Will Take Advantage of the Position
9. Get the Inside Track9. It’s Hard to Get Promoted
10. Grow Within your Company

Should You Become a Secretary?

If you enjoy organization, interacting with a large number of people, and sitting at a desk, being a secretary may be a great career for you.

Much of it depends on the individual job description and the company.

Talk with other secretaries to find out whether they are happy in their jobs and use these pros and cons as a way to make an educated decision about this career path.

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

2 thoughts on “19 Pros and Cons of Being a Secretary

  1. Gareth Cheeseman says:

    The role of a secretary is diverse, involving tasks from document preparation to event planning, making it a dynamic career choice with a range of responsibilities.

  2. Kyle Baird says:

    Strong communication skills are a must for secretaries, as they interact with colleagues, clients, and visitors, creating a positive first impression for the organization.

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