They eat chaos for breakfast. They routinely make the impossible possible. They are the steely scaffolding of companies the world over, including Microsoft. They’re the ultimate wingmen. They’re … administrative assistants.
“People don’t realize what all admins do. So much of it goes on behind the scenes, which is as it should be,” said Scott Roberts, executive assistant to Microsoft marketing executive Allison Watson. “The thing is, if people don’t realize it’s being done, then it’s being done right.”
Roberts paused. “Hmm, I like that. If I were running for office, that would be my slogan.”
The last week of April is Administrative Professionals Week, which presents something of a paradox for those in the profession. Admins are the ones who help some of the busiest people in the world remember important details, meetings, tasks, anniversaries and birthdays – heck, sometimes even remember to eat lunch. But who reminds people about Administrative Professionals Week?
“It’s tricky,” said Nancy Malm, longtime executive assistant to Microsoft executive Yusuf Mehdi and a “mama duck” to some of the company’s younger administrative workers. “It is kind of a silly Hallmark holiday, like Valentine’s Day, but it’s also nice to give people a chance to think about the meaning of the holiday – to appreciate what we do.”
Executive assistant Kousy Ramkumar agreed. “Admins work hard every day to support managers and groups in both their day-to-day needs and in the frequent fires they help put out. They don’t only handle the logistics of the business, they offer creative solutions to often difficult problems while making sure the team is in compliance – and all with a smile.”
In honor of Administrative Professionals week, we spent time on the front lines with four administrative assistants including Genise Dawson.
“Take the time. Remember. Make your admin feel like his or her work is appreciated. Let’s be honest, a lot of admins feel like it’s a thankless job,” Dawson said.
“Think about all those times you’ve gotten to your meetings or traveled without a hitch or gone days without missing a beat. It’s really important to say thank you.”