A tribute to the people who make the office run, the coffee fresh, and fix the copy machine’s paper jams.
We answer the phones, fax, file, and copy the documents you type, order the office supplies, and keep everything behind-the-scenes running smoothly.
And, as times have changed, we’ve gone from being more than someone who types letters and opens the mail – we have bigger, more diverse responsibilities, and we’re the reason you’re prepared for a meeting. We may type your minutes, but we also take the best notes.
You need us. Who are we? We’re…Administrative Professionals. And while we may be glorified “secretaries,” we’re more than we were fifty years ago, and we’re proud of what we do.
Ah, to be an Administrative Professional. The idea of being an administrative professional has changed over the years, as responsibilities have become bigger, and the work place has changed. To say that someone is a “secretary” is an understatement when you consider what secretaries do these days. Sure, we do the normal filing, copying, faxing, and letter-typing duties. But, some “secretaries” do so much more.
Take my job, for example. I provide administrative support at the county division of a state-operated non-profit organization that provides support and advocacy for individuals with developmental disabilities. Did I mention this organization is also a national organization? Because it is.
My daily duties involve the normal administrative duties, but once a month, I’m responsible for posting attendance reports for the various programs and group homes the organization operates. I receive incident and medication reports daily by the stack, and have to enter them into a database. I also mail out reports to the Department of Developmental Disabilities once a month. Every three months, I process sign-ups and payments for recreational activities we sponsor. I also sign adults up for a program we have on Sundays, created especially for them.
When I’m asked what I do for a living, I call myself an Administrative Professional, A Family Support Assistant, and Secretary Extraordinaire. Job titles are fun only when you can make them technical.
And, once a year, we get the respect we deserve with our own day of commemoration.
Secretaries Day: What's in a Name?
Secretaries Day is an unofficial secular holiday, established in 1952. It is celebrated on the last Wednesday of April (for instance, this year’s day of commemoration is on April 21), and pays tribute to the hard work of secretaries, administrative assistants, receptionists, and support personnel.
Upon establishment in 1952, the commemoration used to last a full week (National Secretaries Week). Harry F. Klemfuss, a New York-based publicist, sought to encourage more people to enter support-based positions. He established this week of commemoration in association with what is now known as the International Association of Administrative Professionals (the title of this association formerly had “Secretaries” in place of “Administrative Professionals.”
When it was originally established, National Secretaries Week was held June 1st to 7th in 1952. The official day of commemoration was June 4th. In 1955, the week of commemoration was moved to the last full week of April.
The name has also changed significantly with the times. In 1981, the name was changed to Professional Secretaries Week, and in 2000, it became what it is known as now – Administrative Professionals Week. Any way you slice it, whether you’re a Secretary, an Administrative Assistant, or Support Personnel…you’re the reason an office runs smoothly. Don’t forget that. And don’t let the person who signs your paychecks forget it either!
So, this year, from April 19th to April 23rd, be sure to thank an important Administrative Professional for a job well done. And what we do...it's all in a day's work!
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