Office and Admin

Which Essential Office Support Staffer Are You?

Written by Miranda Pennington

Are you a secretary or an executive assistant? According to CEO and founder of Office Dynamics International, Joan Burge, secretaries are assistants who develop a routine and get comfortable with a set list of tasks. A secretary’s role is static support—they may be crucial in the office, but their position is not as conducive to same amount of growth and opportunity as a dynamic executive assistant’s gig.

An executive assistant may have the same responsibilities—phones, scheduling, paperwork, correspondence—but their perspective is more adaptive. Their function requires reflecting on past experience and developing strategies to improve future outcomes. It’s right there in the name—you need executive functions.

If you’re an executive assistant and want to up your game, check out Burge’s training videos! Featuring lessons on time management, adminology, and frank feedback from executive and office professionals, they’re free on her website:

A Secretary vs An Executive Assistant


About the author

Miranda Pennington

Miranda K. Pennington is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared on The Toast, The American Scholar, and the Ploughshares Writing Blog. She currently teaches creative nonfiction for Uptown Stories, a Morningside Heights nonprofit organization. She has an MFA from Columbia University, where she has also taught in the University Writing program and consulted in the Writing Center.