They used to call us secretaries. We knew everyone in the bureau – at least on sight, we understood the agency’s major issues and could at least listen to leadership talk about them without getting completely lost. We had a clear grasp of organizational history. We could tell a hot button from a cold fish and could tell when the Exec was going from affable to angry instantly.

Oh….and we could type 80 wpm. Many times the typing was the most important part of the job. Our skill and knowledge of the grammar and usage of the English language was second-to-none. We kept many people who were far above our paygrade from sounding stupid on paper.

They don’t need secretaries anymore. They have GS-13 Chiefs of Staff to do the first paragraph and GS-4 mindless typists who do the second. And they call it “multi-tasking.”