Be nice to your Admin Assistant

I would like to ask you all one thing – be nice to your admin assistant/admin support/admin officer (whatever it is called in your office).

Admin assistants are remarkably overlooked people, yet without us things really would stop working.

Admin assistants aren’t quite PA’s (a job for which I am rapidly gaining respect). Nor are we secretaries. Our job is not to act as gatekeepers (though we often do). Our job is to make things easier for everyone else. We make you look good. We make sure you have the information you need when you need it.

We’re the facilitators.

The little jobs. The jobs our bosses don’t have time to do. We take the crap off their desks so they have time to do the actual work. We compile 40 page reports so our bosses can go to the chief exec. and pretend it was all their own work. At your request we spend a week trying to identify two people out of 10,000 based on just their first name and a two week window when they might have worked somewhere, then when we do identify them get a “Oh… Er, right. And why were you doing that again?”

It’s the admin assistants who have that weird form of telepathy that means we can work out exactly what you want from a mumbled “I need a report on this… No idea how I want it done or what the end result will be… And I need it for next week…”

We can decipher any handwriting (more or less). We can divine what you meant from a cryptic scrawl on a post-it. We get into work early and leave work late just to make sure projects get done in time. We are experts at any and all computer systems. Yes, we know exactly why your computer froze, and yes we are able to get all your data back.

Admin assistants are a remarkably under appreciated bunch I’ve discovered. Be nice to us, really. We have the power to make your life miserable in ways you haven’t even dreamt of yet.

There’s this coven of admin assistants that exist in any organization. At least it does in ours. You start to build up contacts in other departments. You know who to ask when you’ve got a query about one thing. You know where to go when something else goes wrong. The amount of gossip that flies around is astounding. It’s great when you move teams and you suddenly make other connections. What were two disparate parts of your network suddenly overlap and… Ooooh! Lots of new exciting gossip (and worthwhile information of course) is yours for the taking.

If you ever want to know something, ask an admin assistant.

Yes, that’s our job. We don’t expect recognition from on high for the work we did. It’s an understood, even if it isn’t ever really verbalised. We don’t ask for anything special really. Just… Every once in a while, say something nice to your admin assistant. Even a little email that says “U R a star!” goes a long way. Most of us really do like our jobs – it can be quite interesting. But we’re a part of your team. We may be a fair few grades lower down on the pay scale, but we’re the glue that holds everything together.

It’s hard to get enthusiastic about glue but do try.

Look at it this way – you never know when your admin assistant might have a blog. Who knows what they’re saying about you behind your back 😉

9 thoughts on “Be nice to your Admin Assistant

  1. You have an Admin Assistants Day?!!?! :O

    From my surprise you can probably guess that no, we don’t have them over here. In general we have less ‘days’ than you do in the states. Mother’s day, Father’s day, Valentine’s day… Er, St Patrick’s day (though that’s just an excuse for the students to get hammered), St. David’s (the Welsh like to get their own back), St. Andrew’s (though the Scots really couldn’t care less. They celebrate at Hogmanay) and St. George’s (and it took me a few moments to work out which saint was the English one then). That’s it. Hallmark occasionally try to bring in days for grandparents and the like, but they never stick.

    Admin Assistant’s day though… When is that? I might just lay in some hints for the boss 😉

  2. Wow…we don’t celebrate St David’s, St Andrews, or St George’s that I know of. We do get Independance Day though which is always good. Barbecue, booze, and explosives. YAY! But anyways, I think it is in September but I’m not certain. Never worked with an admin assistant so it’s never been pertinent information. But yes, anyways….HELLO OH GREAT AND WONDERFUL CAS!

  3. We don’t get St David’s Day or St Andrew’s Day In England really, and you’d be hard pressed to find someone who actually knows when St George’s Day is, or what it is (I know, I’ve tried). 🙄

    There’s a nurses day, and I think there is a secretaries day. They’re Hallmark holidays though. There’s cards in the shops but no-one actually takes any notice.

  4. We certainly do. Also called “Secretary’s Day“, but that’s getting old. I’m usually pretty busy, too, because it’s while I’m getting ready for Mother’s Day. Poor you, you should move on over here. I deliver flowers, balloons, candy, gift certificates, you name it. The only sucky thing is when a guy comes in and buys one bouquet for like five assistants to share. That’s low, man. Just low.

  5. A Hallmark holiday but, I admit it, it would be nice to receive some flowers… The last (in fact the only) bunch of flowers I got given were from a girl. *sigh*

    Then again, I’ve never ascribed to the belief that you have to have things bought for you. If I want flowers, I buy them myself. Why wait around on that (non existent) somebody to get them for me? Though the last time I bought flowers for myself the Scouse One spotted me and acted like it was very weird for a girl to buy herself flowers.

    I can’t win.

  6. Are you my twin? I handed in my notice at my job last week. HR gave me a questionaire to fill out, asking if there were any comments I felt may be useful. I asked them to acknowledge the work of everybody, not just the people who sell our business.

  7. Lol. Welcome to Bright Meadow cheesecake 🙂

    I got the idea for the post because I am currently working for a boss who does recognise and appreciate the work I do. Which is a startling change from my previous post where I… wasn’t… appreciated. In that one we were treated as drones and any initiatives we had were quashed instantly.

    Such a small thing, saying ‘thank you, you’ve done a good job’, but the difference it really makes is astounding.

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