Back in the eighties, many companies began to try to get older workers to do younger people's work. This was caused by the fact that more baby boomers were going after managerial jobs then there were jobs available at that level.
But, a 39-year old doesn't want to do a 19-year-old's job. He/she considers, and rightfully so, him/herself to be beyond that. And a 49-year-old certainly doesn't want to do a 29-year-old's job. The result started the process to an increasingly frustrated workforce.
Companies that hire people promising to move them to higher levels must move them fast and make genuine efforts to accommodate their level of thinking and working until they are moved. They must give them some authority and power to do what they can do. In other words treat them at their level and not as inexperienced novices. Otherwise they will lose them.
Management and executive-level professionals cannot be treated like entry-level workers, even if they are doing jobs below their skills and experiences. As I have read somewhere, "Once expanded to larger ideas, the mind cannot return to its original size," it's as simple as that.
Because many companies don't recognize this fact, these people eventually find themselves forced to go out and start their own business. Well, that might be a good thing because, otherwise they might not have gone out and become the statistics of the 90% of the entrepreneurial businesses that collectively create jobs and hire the majority of the national work force.
However, there is also the statistics that many small business start-ups don't make it beyond their first two to five years. Many would rather work as intrapreneurs within a company then as entrepreneurs on their own. The problem is that many of those that have gone out of an unsatisfying job position, did so, not necessarily because they wanted to, but because their mental acumen was not being used; this was the only way they could be allowed to operate at their level.
As well, since companies have had to flatten their corporate structures, many lower level jobs were chucked out the window. This created another reshuffling of traditional human resources. Secretarial positions were eliminated and, combining secretarial and middle management positions gave birth to today's common job titles of Administrative Assistant or Coordinator of some project or other function. And this, over time, created the new, often ill-disposed and untrained, level of bottom management.
Now, many managers have to do their own secretarial work -- especially women managers. In a lot of cases, male managers use women managers to do secretarial functions -- except where they are met by women who can speak their minds.
It is unfortunate but for some reason, women are automatically expected to do all the clerical work that surrounds a position. Read the ads in the newspaper. Many of them are obviously addressed to women because of their list of clerical duties. Yet, the ads seek to fill managerial positions. A man reading "Executive Director" or "Project Coordinator" will turn away as soon as he gets to such words as "assist in", "word processing", "telephone answering", etc.
Fortunately, the technological age has changed that somewhat. Now, everybody has to "type" his/her own correspondence on computerized word processors. That was one way to get men to do typing jobs. However, there are many companies who still seek to hire women simply because men will not do certain jobs, within combined job positions, that are of secretarial nature.
For example men will never be expected to fill in at reception desks, answer a colleague's phones while he's away, make photocopies, send faxes, bring coffees in. Have you ever seen a guy walking in to the manager's office to bring a customer or visitor coffee? Why not?
But female managers and high level senior secretaries are still asked and expected to do this as part of their jobs. That's OK if that's what you applied for. We don't ask men to do this sort of work though. Managers will look for a woman, no matter at what level of jobs she is, to carry out these tasks, never thinking of seeking a man to do the same things./dmh