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Administrative Professionals Week

Administrative Professionals Week originally called National Secretaries Week is a week that honors secretaries, administrative assistants and others whose job title falls under this very wide umbrella.

I have shared some of this information before, but feel that it bears repeating. These tireless office workers can no longer been seen as, "just a secretary" as their duties have grown from typing letters to managing a large staff. Early on this celebratory week was established to recognize and thank secretaries for their contributions in the workplace; also to help bring people back to the secretarial field. Today job titles and descriptions have been changed to better reflect what these hard working professionals do. Affectionately called "admins" by some, these individuals do everything and anything from answering the telephone to attending a meetings for executives.

In the past, secretaries were the invisible glue that held offices and sometimes businesses together. As a former admin, my job was all encompassing. I answered the telephone, set up meetings for two or twenty, reviewed people and drafted contracts; and yes, I made coffee.

National Secretaries Week name has changed with the times. It was changed to Professional Secretaries Week and is now known as Administrative Professionals Week.

Former Professional Secretaries International president, Nan Nemars wrote a book titled You Want Me To Do What?, concerning workplace ethics, office dilemmas and more, that administrative professionals face daily. Nemars interviewed secretaries at all levels, they opened up and shared stories that run the gamut from funny to poignant to "You want me to do what?" The book was written in 1998, but the ethics are still relevant. For the life of me, I can't bring myself to toss this book or give it away.

One of my films is 1988's Working Girl starring Melanie Griffith as the secretary or working girl, and Sigourney Weaver as an insensitive, high powered, and somewhat high strung Wall Street executive. The film gives a skewed and humorous look into the world of the executive and support staff relationships--and office politics. When Griffith's tyrannical boss is laid up at home with a broken leg, she still barks orders without regard for her secretary's private time. She has her picking up dry cleaning and more. When a big honcho mistakes the over-worked secretary as the boss, she does not correct him. We should all be aware and grateful that most bosses are not like the one seen in this funny film.

If you are a manager don't forget to let your administrative professional know that he or she is appreciated. If you are an administrative professional and have not yet received that all important thank you from your boss, don't despair, go out and buy your own flowers. Put them in a vase on your desk and enjoy the beauty.

The National Secretaries Association (NSA) was founded in 1942 to provide a professional network and educational resources for secretarial staff. In 1997 the association's name was changed to International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) to encompass the large number of varied administrative job titles and recognize the advancing role of administrative support staff in business and government. IAAP introduced an additional advanced certification courses to set recognized standards of excellence in the profession. For more information, visit http://www.iaap-hq.org/

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