Interview with Diana Nikolova
From when until when did you work at the OEI?
1982 - 2016.
In which department/chair did you start working?
Department of Law in 50% part-time.
What were the main activities in the beginning?
At that time each department had its own library. I mainly ordered professional literature and managed subscriptions to professional journals. In addition, I also wrote manuscripts based on submissions from the two professors (Prof. Westen and Prof. Roggemann), first on a typewriter, later on a PC.
Have the main tasks changed over time? Which tasks have been dropped and which have been added?
After the integration of the departmental libraries into the OEI library, I continued to handle the manuscripts of Prof. Roggemann and his various externally funded projects. After the takeover of the OEI administration by the OSI and the abolition of the janitorial position, I additionally took over administrative tasks for the OEI on a 50% part-time basis: ordering and receiving materials, accounting, mail distribution, craftsman, and room supervision. In addition, I took over the supervision of the Institute Council (invitations, taking minutes). After Prof. Roggemann left, I moved my part-time job from the Law Department to the Sociology Department. There, in addition to the usual secretarial work (business trips, bills, visitor support, organization of conferences), I processed third-party funding and proofread Prof. Genov's manuscripts.
What equipment did you work with?
PC, printer, copier.
How many secretaries were employed at the OEI?
Did you and your colleagues work full-time or part-time? Were you additional earners?
In the beginning, my colleagues worked full-time, then part-time after the introduction of the regulation that professors were only entitled to half a secretarial position. For me, it was the other way around. I worked part-time (in the field of law, then sociology). Later I took over administrative tasks for the OEI. In return, my working hours were increased to full-time. I was not an additional earner, I can no longer say that about the others.
Were there any further training opportunities at that time, and if so, what were they?
Special for secretaries none.
Were many secretaries overqualified, e.g. as translators?
The vast majority had a university degree. Some also had translator/language mediator training.
How was the cooperation with the colleagues/supervisors?
The cooperation with the colleagues was very good, with the superiors as well, although during my time there were two professors who were extremely unpleasant and showed despotic traits.
What did you like about your work at the OEI and what did you not like so much?
I liked working at the OEI. Both the staff and the various meeting and conference participants were international in composition. This made the work very interesting and varied. I also always enjoyed dealing with the students. I have particularly fond memories of my time in the Law Department because the working atmosphere was very good, both among the staff and in relation to my superiors. What was not good was that there was no further training. When they switched to PCs, you had to teach yourself everything. That was tedious and, of course, inadequate. It became equally difficult when the OEI was administratively attached to the Polsoz FB. It was not easy to have good cooperation with the head of administration there.
Is there anything you would like to share with today's secretaries?
The working conditions have changed quite a bit compared to the ones during my working time, so I can't really judge what to give to today's secretaries.
Is there anything else you would like to add that is important to you?
Without the secretaries, nothing would work at the university. They are far too little appreciated and in some cases - in my experience - treated quite badly, usually by professors, but also by administrative managers. There is still a lot of need for action there.
You can read a brief overview of the development of secretarial work, not only at the OEI, as well as interesting facts from everyday work here.