This year marks the 60th anniversary of Administrative Professionals’ Day, the holiday formerly known as Secretaries’ Day. I can’t believe that I just realized what an important day it is, while I was finishing up for the day.
The only excuse that I’m giving for my lapse is that I no longer work in an office, so I don’t have an administrative professional to thank for all their hard work. And really, the only excuse you could have for ignoring this Hallmark holiday is that you don’t have any admin employees in your company. That is the only acceptable excuse.
Plenty of people like to compare this pseudo-holiday to events like Valentines Day or Sweetest Day. (I can completely admit that I celebrate those holidays as well.) They look at it as just another marketing campaign to put money in the pockets of greeting card companies. They think its a tedious attempt to give a hollow compliment or maybe a free lunch. Some business people look at this holiday as a nuisance.
The most common excuse I hear from those who don’t want to bother with a card or some flowers is, “I treat my assistants and secretaries well all year long, I shouldn’t have to make a special show of it now.”
You want to know the type of people who say this? Ones who frequently trip their admins like crap. If they really were so kind and generous all year long, I doubt that they would mind making a small extra effort to say “Thank You” once a year.
I’ve worked on both sides of this holiday. I’ve been a receptionist/secretary/office manager. I’ve answered phones and sorted mail and gotten almost zero recognition for my work or understanding about the frustrations that come with an administrative professional’s job. I’ve also known the value of a truly competent and responsible administrative assistant.
Administrative work is a thankless job. Your the first person to hear a complaint and the first to be blamed for a problem. You’re rarely given all the information you need to do your job sufficiently. And your frequently asked to take on the role of a personal maid, scheduler and babysitter. More than anything, your expected to spend hours a day satisfying someone else’s wants and needs as if they were your own. Doing that job well takes a level of dedication that can be hard to explain.
These holidays aren’t just to help Hallmark’s bottom line. They are reminders to be thankful for the people who work so hard to keep our offices running smoothly. It’s a moment to let someone who often gets overlooked become the center of attention. You don’t have to spend a fortune or lavish gifts on your assistants and secretaries, you just need to take a moment and make a thoughtful expression of your gratitude.
None of us should be above saying thank you for the service we receive. So take a moment and raise a glass to the administrative professionals in your company. They deserve it.