Monday, April 24, 2006

WTF is Administrative Professionals Day About?

April 26th (this Wednesday) is Administrative Professionals Day.

Whether it's called secretary, receptionist, or Cuddly Bildy-bop, the titles have all basically meant the same job in society: answering phones and filing. Now, realistically, the job means a lot more than that to those who work it. It means dealing with many different people at different levels with different temperaments. It means processing reports, figuring out how to streamline the office environment, and managing schedules. It means covering for the boss when he or she is out, developing ideas that the boss may sometimes take credit for, and picking up the boss' lunch at his or her favorite restaurant, even if it means sitting in traffic for an hour.

But does this multi-faceted job constitute a holiday or day of observance? The IAAP, or the International Association of Administrative Professionals, says yes: "[The day] was established as an effort to recognize secretaries [oops!] for their contributions in the workplace, and to attract people to secretarial/administrative careers." Apparently, the annual event was organized in 1952 as "National Secretaries Week" by the National Secretaries Association (the name the IAAP used to hold). The IAAP explains the name change from secretary to administrative assistant to administrative professional: "The names were keep pace with changing job titles and expanding responsiblities of today's administrative workforce."

It just doesn't make sense to me to celebrate someone's occupation on a specific day, especially because the motives behind it seem so transparent: " recognize secretaries for their contributions in the workplace..." Well, duh. They should be respected and treated nicely every day. "...and to attract people to secretarial/administrative careers." A-ha. That's what it boils down to. It seems that the IAAP wanted to make being a secretary fun, to show that they are not the peons of the workplace, as they are sometimes portrayed. Look - they even get their own day! But giving a subordinate position a holiday does not move them up the company ladder, unfortunately. Even if it did, there is a CEO/Boss' Day anyway, so the ladder would just be raised once again. (Boss' Day is October 16th.)

So if there isn't a holiday, then what? Well, I don't believe that appreciation for a job should be shown on one day, just because a calendar says so. My favorite boss used to buy me lunch every once in a while. He'd recognize that I was working hard and promoting the company, and he'd give me a raise. In the morning, if he came in late, he'd bring in a cup of coffee for me as a thanks for covering the heavy phones while he was gone. And most importantly, I respected him because he believed if the assistant is doing a good job, he or she should be rewarded for it.

In Observance of National Secretary's Day - conspiracy?
IAAP Website - Administrative Professionals Week, history, suggestions

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This sweet jam has all the answers: