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Front Page » April 17, 2014 » Focus » Administrative assistants: The world owes them
Published 126 days ago

Administrative assistants: The world owes them


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By RICHARD SHAW
Sun Advocate publisher

Go to any office, any organization, any place of work and often the first person you meet will be what many call a secretary.

Today, administrative assistants as they are called perform a myriad of functions, depending on the business. In most cases they are the right hand person of the manager, president, CEO, etc.

Given some time, their general knowledge about a company or organization is often only surpassed by their boss, and even he or she often asks them about how things work.

While secretaries were once only thought of as typists and/or receptionists, the truth is they never were just that. And today's modern administrative assistant has many talents and abilities that often pertain directly to the business they are involved with.

Next week is Administrative Assistants Week and Wednesday is Administrative Assistants Day. It is a time when these hard working people are honored by all.

The difference between the jobs they do from company to company and organization to organization are large.

One of the most revered administrative assistant jobs is that of being a legal secretary. They serve lawyers and sometimes judges. Their training and experience is important to anyone involved in legal work.

Take Bonnie Nicoles for example. As the administrative assistant for Price attorney Mike Jensen her ability to deal with people and still carry the speciality that is legal work is important to his practice.

Nicoles was born in Flagstaff, Ariz. and spent much of her young life on a ranch near there. When she got into the world of work, things became very interesting.

"I spent my first years working as a mail clerk at the Palo Verde Nuclear Generation Station near Phoenix," she said.

But she knew she wanted more and soon found herself beginning her legal career in Tucson working in a law office doing word processing. As she learned about the world of legal work she grew and eventually was promoted to oversee six paralegals. Finally after some time she became the legal secretary for an attorney.

Over the years she has worked in that same capacity in not only Tucson, but also in Flagstaff and then on to Janesville, Wis. Eventually she ended up back in Arizona, this time in Phoenix.

It was after she moved there that she met her husband and eventually moved to Green River. There she worked in management at the KOA facility, changing career directions for awhile.

But she missed being in the legal world and eventually she hear about a job in Price, the one she now holds.

As in all businesses, things sometimes are good and sometimes not so good. But she says she almost always likes what she does except when she has to deal with the occasional disgruntled client.

"I love this area," she said, having moved to Price only two years ago. "It has so much to offer. I like working with Mike and I love the interaction with the clients."

Over the years Nicoles has worked on various kinds of things in law firms and also has training in many areas. These include personal injury cases, commercial litigation, medical malpractice, estate planning, planning and zoning, liquor licenses, real estate and employment discrimination.

But it is not only the big things that make a difference in a legal secretaries training, often it is the little things.

"I love doing briefs," she said. "Most people don't realize that a briefs have to have a certain page count and some pages need to be different colors than others. If these aren't done correctly the court will reject them."

She loves the research that goes into things. The job is obviously a perfect fit for her.

Across town another kind of administrative assistant handles a lot of affairs for one of the most important people in town. Her name is Jennifer Baletka and she is USU Eastern Chancellor Joe Peterson's assistant.

Unlike Nicoles, she is a native of the area, growing up in Emery County. However she has lived in Price for 11 years.

"I am very committed to the college," she said. "In fact it is a generational thing. My grandpa came to Carbon College (the original name of the school) in 1938, the year the school opened, He graduated from here. So did my parents, my brother and my uncle. They are all graduates of the college."

Baletka, also a graduate, is currently working on a bachelors degree herself in Political Science and Sociology.

"I love working here," she said. "I feel very blessed to work for the Chancellor and this amazing faculty and staff."

Before working for the Chancellor Baletka worked at the Price City Library and later as an administrative assistant to Ethan Migliori at the Small Business Development Center, which was also on the USU Eastern Campus.

As with all jobs it has it's good an bad points. However for Baletka it is pretty much all good.

"I think what I like the least about this job is that sometimes I am privy to more information than I wish I had to be," she said.

But the energy in the office and the fact that "the Chancellor is very progressive" makes her work life very good.

She is the face of the Chancellors office to those that come in and the impression she gives can set the tone.

For the future, Baletka thinks she would like to enter into a life of public service.

"Some day I would like to do that," she said.

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