David Rabbitborough's A to Z of Australian Species



The Australian office is a highly organised environment organised into different levels. The top level, called the Bosses, appear to rule the colony but in fact Bosses, like Queen Ants, are totally helpless and must be looked after by a special class of workers called Secretaries.

Secretaries come in many different shapes and forms but all are easily distinguished by their mannerisms. Whereas the slow, ponderous bosses flounder about helplessly and are often almost immobile, secretaries are constantly on the move. The secretary performs a multitude of vital functions for the boss including bringing them nourishment every few hours, protecting them against outside intruders and generally running the office.

Although is the Boss acts as if he or she is not the least bit dependant on the Secretary, if the secretary leaves the office, their true power becomes immediately apparent. This is mainly because the Secretary instinctively never writes anything down but keeps in their own brains such information as where the taxi vouchers are stored, how the filing system operates, the password for the computer and the location of the coffee.

One of the great mysteries is why secretaries never seem to metamorphose into bosses themselves. One answer is that they have seen enough of bosses, never to want to be one. Another is that they lack that vital ingredient that's essential to a boss, which is, the ability to put up with being looked after by a secretary.

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