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Front Page » April 20, 2006 » Secretary week focus » A Title that Means More Than Typing
Published 3,044 days ago

A Title that Means More Than Typing


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By RICHARD SHAW
Sun Advocate publisher

Lianne Milovich helps Carbon High student Courtney Trujillo fill out some paper work in the front office at the school.

People often think they know what other peoples jobs are like. They catch a glimpse of it, they spend a few minutes observing. they look at the circumstances and think they know. But most of the time they really don't know.

The same is true of thinking that all jobs with the same name are similar in duties. Maybe some key duties are alike, but often each job entails different kinds of experiences and responsibilities.

Take the term secretary for example. For three different people it means different things. First there's Lianne Milovich, who works at Carbon High School.

"I have one of the best jobs in Carbon County," she says. "I get to work with wonderful young people and they are absolutely fabulous."

Milovich's list of professional responsibilities reads like an index from the administrative assistant's handbook.

"My official title is Registrar," she says, "but I get to do a little of everything."

She says that the most rewarding part of her job is helping the students.

"Students come to the office for help and advice, and we can usually get them what they need," she said. "I'm usually their first contact when they come to the office, and I really enjoy that."

Kelly Martinez confers with Judy Peczuh about scheduling some work at Peczuh Printing.

"I get along fine with all of the kids," she added, "and it's not difficult. When you treat them with respect, they treat you with respect."

Carbon High School currently has about 750 students, down from a high of about 1100 a few years ago. Milovich says she was able to help several students make the transition from East Carbon this past year, and she was happy to be able to help.

There are about 80 staff members at the school. The staff includes teachers, teaching assistants, custodians, cafeteria staff, and office staff. In her job, Milovich works with all of the staff members as well as all of the students.

Her administrative duties include answering phones, answering questions, screening calls for her boss, principal Robert Cox, and doing a good deal of student/parent/school coordinating. She also takes care of student registrations, fees, and transcripts, as well as general office duties. She also orders books and teaching supplies for all of the teachers, and helps to service and maintain the copy machine.

"In my next life, I'm qualified to be a copy machine repairman," she says with a big smile.

"During the summer months things are calmer here," she says, "and we can get a lot done." She says that during the summer she is able to do the ordering and receiving of textbooks for the coming year, and each book must be stamped before being issued and put on the shelves. There are a lot of administrative tasks to be done that most people never imagine, she says.

She also says that each staff member is asked to participate in at least two after school activities during the year. They do that without extra pay.

"We help chaperone, take tickets, or help in any way we are needed," she says.

Milovich has seen a lot of changes during her time at Carbon High.

"I've worked here for a long time," she says. She tells of working as an administrative assistant for four principals at the school and several assistant principals.

"And it was great being here when my children came through the school," she says. "I was able to keep track of their progress and to be a part of their daily lives."

Milovich shares the front office with Cindy Pero, the financial secretary for the school. They share some duties and responsibilities and they help each other out. "We make a good team," Milovich says.

Lianne Milovich with her working partner in the front office at Carbon High, Cindy Pero.

For another definition of the job title we turn to Kelly Martinez. She works as a secretary in private business.

Martinez is an administrative assistant at Peczuh Printing. Her desk is just inside the front door and she is the first person to greet the public when they enter the business.

"Being a receptionist is just one of my many duties," she says with a smile.

Kelly has been with the company for several years and feels a deep and abiding loyalty to the Peczuh.

"This has been a wonderful place to work," she says. "I really enjoy my job. I wouldn't have stayed here all these years if I didn't like it."

She says the best part of her job is the people she works with.

"The people are terrific here," she says, "and I've always been treated well." She says she also likes to meet and greet people at the front desk. "I like people," she says, "and they make my job interesting."

"I also like the fact that I'm able to do different things on different days," she says. "I seldom do the same thing two days in a row."

Kristy Fredricksen looks through her books as part of her job as a secretary/office manager at the Children's Justice Center.

Her duties include computerized data entry, work-up orders, sorting and organizing completed orders, as well as screening and directing incoming calls. She also writes a company newsletter that is printed and distributed every couple of months.

She served as manager for the Peczuh owned Copy Center in Price for over three years, but transferred back to the main office when the Copy Center was sold to another party.

Martinez says she has seen a lot of changes at Peczuh, and has watched the company grow.

"When I started here, there were 14 employees. Now there are over 70," she says.

She has also watched the business transform from the old printing system of setting type, to the modern age of computerized design and graphics. She says the company can do things with computers now that are beyond anything they could even imagine just a few years ago, and it's been exciting to watch the changes.

"We have some of the best people in the printing business working here in this building," she says proudly.

She has also watched the old-time job of secretary evolve into that of a true administrative assistant. And the job continues to evolve as office workers become more skilled in electronic technology, office machinery, and computers. The skills and abilities of today's administrative assistant is a world away from the old-time office secretary with a typewriter, note pad, and pencil.

Then there is Kristy Fredricksen. Her job, like Milovich's is involved with kids, but at a much younger age and in a very different setting; The Family Support and Childrens Justice Center.

"You can see the good you are doing by working here," says the Carbon County native. "Here it is about caring. Many of the kids who come here need to have someone who cares about them."

If it sounds like Fredrickson is a social worker, well she is. Along with just about everything else in the place as well.

Kristy Fredricksen's job also entails working with kids who are at the center, such as Terrell Hales who was there with his mom while she was visiting others who volunteer their time.

"My job consists of every ones job who works here," she states. "I have done a lot of cross training in my 10 years here."

Fredricksen may be balancing the budget one moment, then taking care of a crying child the next and then counseling a mother who needs help a few minutes later.

"My husband (Paul) is always telling me what an easy job I have because he thinks I sit around all the time," she smiles. "He's a welder. I told him I would trade jobs with him just for a day, and I know I couldn't do what he does, but then I also know he couldn't do what I do either."

Fredricksen is proud of what she has done in her time at the center. Her career has almost spanned the entire time the center has been open.

"I get to do a lot of different kinds of things," she says. "I get involved in all the operations, I get to go out and make presentations to the community on what we do here, I get to sit on boards pertaining to our work here, I produce a newsletter about the center and I get to recruit volunteers to help us."

Fredricksen's job also can have its dangers. Children are sometimes at the center because they have a violent parent, and that can spell trouble.

"The hardest part of this job is watching families go through abusive relationships," she states. "But despite that there are a lot of great things as well. The best part of my job is the kids and the women I work with."

Fredricksen worries that, like many agencies that can have funding cuts, what could happen to the center should a funding source pull back their money.

"We're in a strange situation," she states. "We are considered county employees because they administer our program, but our funding comes from the state attorney generals office and from contracts we have with the Division of Child and Family Services."

Fredricksen continues to work on her education, despite the fact she can't see herself ever doing anything else.

"When I started out in school I wanted to be a wildlife biologist," she says pointing out that she once worked for the forest service. "But after this I can't imagine that now."

All three women say how much they love what they do; they point out that being a secretary is not just sitting behind a desk, typing letters and handling business accounts. For all of them it is about relationships and people.

And that is what makes them happy.


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