During my recent travels, a colleague with whom I was corresponding required a transaction that I could not complete without access to my physical office, which was thousands of miles away. I was stunned to get an email message that asked me if my secretary could help. Perhaps "she" could scan the necessary item and email it?
Perhaps she could, if she existed. I do have some colleagues who have a secretary or who share a secretary with 1-3 other faculty. I, however, am secretaryless.
It would be nice to have someone help with the technical aspects of managing a research program, but my department isn't going to supply me with a secretary any time soon, and I'd rather spend my grant money on research and students.
My husband occasionally mentions that he wishes he had an office "concierge" to make him espresso 5-12 times/day. For some reason that I probably don't want to explore too much, he pictures this person as a gay man with an Italian accent.
The concept of having a secretary or office assistant is too remote for me to have a mental picture of what my theoretical secretary would look (or sound) like. I personally wouldn't mind having an office tabby cat to reduce the rodent population and to look fierce when people come to my office to ask me to do things I don't want to do, although that wouldn't be too practical when I need help with grant or lab management.
7 years ago