Friday, June 28, 2024

Microstory 2180: Secretary is a Dirty Word

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My neighbor and new assistant has agreed to let me tell you her name, and a little bit about her. I didn’t ask her if I could do this; she volunteered, thinking that it didn’t make much sense for me to keep referring to her by her relationship to me. I try to keep the specifics about other people out of my posts, and not reveal too many details about them, in order to protect their privacy, but I can also see how it may feel impersonal and detached. I hope that no one else is experiencing any such issues. Anyway, Jasmine Soun is 29 years old. She’s from St. Louis, Missouri. After she graduated from St. Louis University, she decided to leave all of her belongings behind, and just start driving. She stayed on the road for four hours, and the only reason she stopped is because she ran out of gas. She had made it to Kansas City by then, but wasn’t too near a gas station. She had to get out, and walk the rest of the way to buy a gas can, and fill it up before making her way back to her car. It was there that she met her future boyfriend when he offered to give her a ride. He also offered her a job at the gas station, and she didn’t have any other prospects, so she accepted it. That’s the kind of person she is, a real go-with-the-flow type. He would later convert her to vegetarianism, which was what made her have to quit her job before too long. She didn’t like selling the types of foods to which she had a moral objection. I can very understand that. Fast-forward about six years, and she’s no longer with that guy, but they keep in touch. She’s had a number of jobs since then, but just before I hired her, she was a secretary for the Vice President of Manufacturing at a computer hardware company that specialized in memory modules, so she has decent experience, which means that it’s not a cronyistic hire. Back in my home universe, secretary is a dirty word, filled with a historical context of misogyny, and an imbalance of power through a gendered dynamic. People in this world apparently never had that problem, so the word doesn’t have the same negative connotations. Sure, it’s not like it’s a coveted position, admired like astronauts, but it’s not shameful either, and it hasn’t been traditionally dominated by women either. No job really has been; I find that interesting. And on that note, we better get back to work. Say goodbye, Jasmine. She says hello.

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