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 😉