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Administrative Professionals Day – Did You Participate?

(editor's note: We realize that Administrative Professionals Day/Week has passed, but found this information to be timely, year round)

by Guest Blogger Sybil F. Stershic

It’s just past that time of year when office workers were honored as part of Administrative Professionals Week, an event that includes Administrative Professionals Day - April 27, 2011.

Originally known as Secretary’s Day, this “holiday” was created in 1952 to honor the office staff responsible for typing/word processing (rarely, if ever, did you see a typewriter on a manager’s desk), 2755664078_b47f5d9b77 placing calls, scheduling meetings and whatever else was necessary to keep an office running smoothly. As seen in the 1960’s-period TV series “Mad Men,” most of these support type positions were held by women in a chauvinistic, sometimes paternalistic organizational culture.

Note: I once held the position of Administrative Assistant in Corporate Planning for a regional bank, and my job description included making coffee for the weekly Senior Managers’ Meeting.

Although today’s technology enables most managers do their own “typing” on laptop or desk computers and connect directly to others via smart phones, Administrative Professionals Day/Week has evolved to honor office support staff.

I wondered how the economy has impacted this holiday and asked one manager what his office was doing for this event. “Nothing,” he replied. After watching my jaw drop, he explained that he demonstrated appreciation for his office staff year round – publicly praising them for jobs well done and taking them out to lunch or dinner to celebrate achievements as they occurred – so his department didn’t feel the need to participate in this designated event.

I found a mixed bag of responses as I continued my unscientific poll on this holiday. Several other managers said they’ll continue to observe Administrative Professionals Day/Week by treating staff to lunch (paid for out-of-pocket, not company funds) or giving a small plant or gift card. One colleague told me her office doesn’t participate because company policy does not allow managers to single out certain groups (non-exempt vs. exempt employees). Another colleague spoke with pride about how her office finds the event a special opportunity to honor the office manager who provides exceptional service; she was also quick to add her firm recognizes staff for their contributions year-round, not just during this week.

If your company participated in Administrative Professionals Week, how did you celebrate your office staff this year? 


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The company I do admin work at used to take the admins out to lunch, or so I'm told. Now there's no recognition of that day. Nor is there any recognition of the work we do from anyone but our direct supervisor.

At the place where I used to work, I got taken to an expensive lunch and given a very nice bouquet every year on the day.

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