Secretarial: Sex and the sickie: the truth

WHEN IT comes to secretaries' gripes, research shows that the practice of linking their grades to those of their managers comes ever higher on the list. Employers claim it acknowledges the fact that they work as a team, and that reward for achievements should be given to both parties. But linking can be a problem for both secretaries and managers if an excellent secretary has a poor boss or vice versa. If it becomes a problem for you, follow these four steps: first, talk to your manager. You could have under-estimated his or her desire to succeed. A career- minded, ambitious secretary could provide the motivation he or she needs. If this fails, however, approach personnel. Ask whether you should aim to work with a different manager or whether there are other ways to progress. Thirdly, it's worth finding out if other secretaries feel the same way. There's always strength in numbers. Finally, consider your own performance levels. It's all too easy to blame others for our own shortcomings.

u

DUREX'S ANNUAL sex survey consistently shows that people from Yorkshire are by far the most sexually active in the UK. It may be no coincidence that the CBI's new Focus On Absence survey reveals that workers in that part of the country take by far the most days off sick each year. Women are the worst offenders, according to a separate report by the Office for National Statistics. It found that females are off sick for 4 per cent of their working lives up to the age of 40 - which is double the figure for men. More than 200 million days were lost last year through sickness - an average of 8.4 days per employee.

u

IF YOU ventured abroad for your summer holiday this year, it can't have escaped your notice just how bad the British are at using other languages. Whether it's in a taverna in Greece or a temple in India, we are notorious for our cringe-worthy tendency to simply expect all foreigners to converse in English. In the world of business - which is increasingly being referred to as a "global village" - this is particularly dangerous. No wonder, then, that secretarial staff with language skills are now more in demand than ever before, according to recruitment agencies. Those who speak other tongues can now expect an extra 8 to12 per cent in their pay-packets. Reports reveal that the industries most likely to reward language skills among secretaries are finance and banking, fashion and cosmetics, and management consultancy - and that German is the language most in demand.

u

MOST OF us are all too aware of the threat of violence on the streets, but we are rarely warned about the increasing risk of brutality in the workplace. According to the Health and Safety Executive, there has been a significant increase in the number of violent attacks by colleagues and clients at work. Even schools and libraries are higher-risk environments than ever before, and receptionists report a growing number of incidents. Staff from housing departments have even had the odd kitchen sink or toilet hurled at them. One was held hostage by two 65-year-olds. Although the British Crime Survey does not have a specific category for workplace violence, it does note "acquaintance violence", which accounts for about half of all attacks on men and one third of all attacks on women. A staggering 23 per cent of these involve a customer or client, and around 20 per cent occur at work.

u

IT'S NO secret that employers are becoming increasingly strict about office staff surfing the Net at work. Many block access to pornographic and sports websites. But corporate censorship is, according to the magazine Personnel Today, now being extended to the Dilbert web page in some companies. For those who aren't familiar with Dilbert, he is the cynical office boy with the most satirical views on the modern world of work. One example of his columns is Most Contradictory Statements Made By Your Boss, of which two are "No overtime. Can you work Friday night?" and "We've installed a totally anonymous system to let you voice your concerns. First you have to log on..." If you can get past the Internet police, check it out at www.dilbert.com.

Kate Hilpern

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams' “Happy” was the most searched-for song lyric of 2014
musicThe power of song never greater, according to our internet searches
Arts and Entertainment
Roffey says: 'All of us carry shame and taboo around about our sexuality. But I was determined not to let shame stop me writing my memoir.'
books
Arts and Entertainment
Call The Midwife: Miranda Hart as Chummy

tv Review: Miranda Hart and co deliver the festive goods

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of Downton Abbey in the 2014 Christmas special

tvReview: Older generation get hot under the collar this Christmas

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Transformers: Age of Extinction was the most searched for movie in the UK in 2014

film
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Ronson has had two UK number two singles but never a number one...yet

music
Arts and Entertainment
Clara Amfo will take over from Jameela Jamil on 25 January

radio
Arts and Entertainment
This is New England: Ken Cheeseman, Ann Dowd, Frances McDormand and Richard Jenkins in Olive Kitteridge

The most magnificently miserable show on television in a long timeTV
Arts and Entertainment
Andrea Faustini looks triumphant after hearing he has not made it through to Sunday's live final

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
News
Shenaz Treasurywala
film
News
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
music
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

    The West needs more than a White Knight

    Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
    Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

    'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

    Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
    The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

    The stories that defined 2014

    From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
    Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

    Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

    Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
    Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

    Finally, a diet that works

    Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
    Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

    Say it with... lyrics

    The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
    Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

    The joys of 'thinkering'

    Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
    Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

    Monique Roffey interview

    The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
    Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

    Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

    Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
    DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

    Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

    It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
    Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

    How we met

    Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

    Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

    Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
    Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

    Who does your club need in the transfer window?

    Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
    The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015