Not “just” an Admin!

With Administrative Professionals Week (APW) fast approaching (April 23-27), I’d like to take this time to herald the Administrative Profession as just that, a CHOSEN profession.  Being an Administrative Professional is a legitimate career, and one to take pride in.  I would encourage everyone not to view being an admin as just a stepping stone until you can land a “real” job, but as a viable, long-term career option.  In this work climate of “do so much more with so much less”, today’s admins are being called upon to do far more than the stereotypical secretaries of old who would answer the phone, take dictation, type letters and make lunch reservations.  Being an admin is a vibrant and increasingly integral career in most companies.

The theme for the 2012 Administrative Professionals Week is: “Admins, the pulse of the office”, and that statement couldn’t be more true!  The role of Administrative Professional has grown to include project management; IT management; marketing and social media; financial report and budget preparation, review and analysis; comprehensive event planning; complex international travel arrangements; and so much more!  The career outlook for admins is bright according to numoerous sources, so if you are considering a career in the administrative world, the market may be better than that of some other careers that were hit hard in recent years.

A good admin is an indispensible part of every office, so below find my thoughts on things to do for APW (and beyond) if you are an admin, or you employ one.

If you ARE an Administrative Professional:

  1. Pat yourself on the back, chances are no one has done that for you recently and you really deserve it!  Your co-workers no doubt rely on you to keep all the wheels turning behind the scenes but probably don’t tell you so very often.  So go ahead, take a moment and bask in your wonderfulness.
  2. After you are done admiring yourself, get over it – you have work to do! We have more to do now than we ever have in our roles and still the same 8 hours a day to get it done.  If you struggle with fitting it all in, find yourself some training online on time management  and apply what you learn ASAP, you don’t have time to waste.  www.eatyourcareer.com is one great resource for both free and reasonably priced career growth tools for the savvy admin, as is www.allthingsadmin.com. There are many others.
  3. Link yourself – the best way to learn, vent, brainstorm, etc. about your career as an admin is to surround yourself with other like minds!  LinkedIn is an invaluable social media tool to do this and you will find many helpful groups available just for admins as well.  Some of my favorite groups are Admin Pros, Admin Secrets, IAAP, and ASAP – but again there are many others.
  4. Don’t forget the face time – as admins we spend so much time behind a computer monitor that it is easy to be tempted to stay there.  I would encourage you to get out of your comfort zone and do some networking in person as well.  The International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) www.iaap-hq.org is a professional association just for admins with many chapters world-wide.  (SHAMELESS PLUG)  The Syracuse Chapter of IAAP offers monthly meetings with hour long career relevant trainings and workshops, not to mention that invaluable networking and a chance to hang with some pretty neat people.  I have been involved with the chapter for many years and can assure you, we’d LOVE to have you join us.  www.iaap-syracuse.org
  5. Invest in yourself – do trainings, get certified, stay current on technology, you know the drill. Not only do you enhance your knowledge, you are showing your employer and co-workers that you value what you do and they should too!

If you EMPLOY an Administrative Professional:

  1. Go pat your admin on the back, you know you need to for something.  Then sincerely tell that person how much you value his/her daily contributions.  Most admins would tell you that is what they want the most.
  2. Support your admin’s career and training goals, the more he or she grows the better off your organization will be for it.  Paying for a membership in IAAP would be one great way to do that (ONE MORE SHAMELESS PLUG), but there are many other ways to do this. Send your admin to a training class, a conference, pay for a webinar, anything that helps build his/her skills.  You all win!
  3. And last but not least, for Pete’s sake DO NOT FORGET Administrative Professionals Day®! It is Wednesday, April 25th this year and I guarantee you that he or she knows that but may be too tactful to remind you.  So if you rely on your admin to tell you about all of your other important dates, meetings,  doctor’s appointments, and so on – this one may be on you.  Mark it down now and take time that day to celebrate the partnership you have with your Administrative Professional!

Suzanne Benderski is the Recruiting Services Administrator for Professionals Incorporated.  She has been a career Administrative Professional for 20 years and has attained the CAP-OM rating from IAAP and the CCP rating from The Catalyst Institute in Toronto.  Suzanne is currently the Vice President of the Syracuse Chapter of IAAP and will (obviously) shamelessly plug the association at every opportunity!  If you would like to connect with Suzanne, she can be reached at sbenderski@cpsprofessionals.com or on Twitter @SSBenderski

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10 Responses to Not “just” an Admin!

  1. Joy Rinaldi April 19, 2012 at 1:37 pm #

    This couldn’t be more true and sums up Suzanne’s responsibility. Suzanne, I hope you know how much you are valued and appreciated……I am so fortunate to be able to work with you again and for that I am very thankful (this is your pat on the back :)).

  2. Melissa Sharp April 20, 2012 at 10:50 am #

    Awesome – great article and so true — love the plugs!!

  3. Charles Pyott April 20, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

    While I genuinely appreciate the positive approach/sentiment associated with this article, which contains many wonderful points, I would caution the extent to which one considers being an administrative professional a “viable, long-term career option.”

    At least in my own personal situation, adjusted for inflation, I still currently earn about the same amount of income (just under $30,000) as I earned in 1994 ($20,000), in my first year after graduating Georgetown University (18 years ago); and there is little prospect for improvement that I can see.

    Falling into the administrative assistant role (or caste, in point of fact) is probably one of the worst mistakes of my life. And I have absolutely NO doubt there are countless other people out there who feel precisely the same way.

    • Candler Adams April 20, 2012 at 11:40 pm #

      Equally as frustrating and disheartening is the fact that, as an admin, one is inevitably confronted with a considerable number of people who can only be characterized as classist, condescending, brusque, and conceited towards people they deem to be their social and intellectual inferiors.

      On the other hand, at least, the informative side of this phenomenon is that ‘admins’ have countless opportunities to observe people in their true forms. As an admin, one can often far more quickly and accurately ascertain the comparative humility and — ultimately — the moral character of the people one interacts with. One very quickly learns to distinguish the true from the false, in people.

  4. Karen Kohn, CAP-OM April 20, 2012 at 3:09 pm #

    Suzanne:
    Thanks for your timely article; it’s right on. I hadn’t considered the word “vibrant” with this career before, but it’s truly fitting. I love the challenge every day brings. Too, your encouragement to invest in yourself is a mantra we should all keep in front of us as a daily reminder. And…I don’t know of a better way to do that than active membership in IAAP. (one more “shameless plug”) I invite everyone who is interested in IAAP to visit the website noted above, learn about this great association, and join a local chapter. Come grow with us!

  5. Betty Blodgett CAP-OM April 21, 2012 at 5:11 am #

    Excellent article! Thanks for the resources you have provided as well. Happy Admin Day to you!

  6. syracusejobs April 24, 2012 at 12:02 pm #

    Thanks for all the comments everybody – we sure appreciate seeing some lively discussion. Nice to know people read our blog! 🙂 If you are an admin, we hope you enjoy APW!

  7. Mary Beth Johnson April 24, 2012 at 3:27 pm #

    I just stumbled upon this Blog, and will check back often. I have been a “Career Admin.” for almost 32 years, and it was my choice. I am a pleaser and love to help people. This role is perfect for me. I have been very fortunate to work at major companies in the Syracuse area for my entire career. I have worked my way up, and now have 4 people reporting to me. I have been blessed, and hope to continue working in this capacity until I retire.

  8. The Dubin Group Staffing Firm April 25, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

    Reblogged this on The Dubin Group's Staffing/Recruiting Blog and commented:
    Great Administrative Professionals Day read from Suzanne Benderski for @SyracuseJobs ! Hope you’re all having a wonderful day!

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