Administrative Professionals Week 2017

Dear Administrative Peers,

I hope this finds you healthy and happy. I hope your week is full of demonstrations of employer recognition that is valuable to you.

I hope that you recognize and understand your true value, not only to your company, to your co-workers, but to the overall economic good.

I hope you are able to see that people count on you, your work, your ability to communicate clearly and honestly, and to deliver on tasks. I hope you have the respect of those you work alongside.

I hope your supervisor(s), your company, your co-workers can acknowledge your continuous effort to keep all the pieces moving in the right direction.

For those of you that hate being in the administrative field, I hope you can find a different employer, or perhaps a different career field, that makes you content.

Some may say this week of recognition is nothing but a  made up holiday in order to sell more flowers or cards. Some  say this week of recognition is just a small opportunity to make others aware of the work we do.  I see it as a week of pride, almost like a homecoming celebration. One time a year, we gather as a profession to acknowledge the hard work loads and  sometime challenging personalities we encounter in our daily work. I like to think of it as one big ‘Clink’ of glass as we toast one another for a successful year.

Best wishes to each and every one of you. I am so very proud to be part of this community- For the exceptional assistant, this is not a job. It's a vocation. They've dedicated their life to it, and it compels them to greatness in the role.- - Jan Jones, the CEO's Secret Weap.

~ K.

 

Cocktails & Connections- DMV Style

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My banner from 2016  APW

First, let me share a quick thought here about collaboration. I utilized the banner above on almost all my tweets, posts, pictures during this week. The hashtags represent APW themes from (in order) Office Dynamics, Executive Secretary Magazine and yours truly– all set to the IAAP background green! To bring attention to our career field, we must get the word out! More importantly, we must get the word out together!

So, what does collaboration look like? It means many administrative associations working together globally to represent the purpose and professionalism of our career field.  Funneling down, it also means communicating the value we bring to our companies to the organizations, suppliers, human resource and recruiting personnel within our business networks.

 Administrative Professionals Day – DMV Style

The DC Local Area Network for IAAP (International Association of Administrative Professionals) was hosted by our local Cambria Hotels and Suites.[Disclosure: DC Cambria provided meeting space and appetizers for our event. They also provided a separate cash bar for the event.] The hotel is part of Choice International brand.Their sales/marketing staff has been savvy enough to reach out to the IAAP members in several cities because they understand administrative and executive assistants frequently fill the role of meetings/events planner for organizations. This is particularly true for our field when it comes to board and committee meetings. Many of us are frequently in search of a modern meeting room space that won’t break the budget. Would I have visited this site without being contacted by their sales/marketing staff? Not likely. After touring I was convinced that this property (because of its Metro-friendly location and board room space) would be a superb resource for local IAAP members. Thank you to Lee Callicut, Jeff McClain, Ayesha Aurora, Lois Goldring, and the entire DC Cambria staff for the wonderful customer service and fantastic event.

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Several attendees check out the roof top deck and bar at Cambria ( too cold for us to use it that day! boo hiss!)

Twenty-seven local executive suite administrative professionals and an executive assistant recruiting firm representative, representing corporate, government and non-profit organizations toured the property after a networking hour. We had two attendees join IAAP after attending. Door prizes for the event came from The Howard Theatre, ChocolateChocolate DC, and Clyde’s Restaurant. I hope you were able to catch some of my (@OfficeRenegade)periscope livestreams from the day of the event.

There’s an old proverb- Many hands make light work.  A heartfelt thank you to Joyetta Delaney, Janet Brake and Debbi Shaffer for your help during this event.

Thank you to my DMV (District|Maryland|Virginia) peers for coming into town and being part of our really fun Cocktails &Connections Event for Administrative Professionals Day.

#KeepLearningKeepGrowing

 

I’m Not a Gatekeeper, I’m a Timekeeper

I'm a Timekeepr

I have a fantasy.

No, not that kind.

The kind where I stand in front of the full roster of attendees for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) conference and I share my brilliant! understanding of the administrative profession.

You see, with all the moving parts of the economic world of HR, recruiting, employee engagement– the front line is being forgotten when it comes to updating and re-writing the job descriptions and expectations of today’s administrative professional. Mind you, I do fundamentally understand the challenges of what type of support the company requests vs. what the job really needs vs. what the pay scale is vs. the vast swath of candidate/applicants for the position.  Please allow me to first address the term: GATEKEEPER.

Let me be clear. Executive Assistants| Administrative Assistants|Receptionists are not gatekeepers contrary to popular belief and the delightful, sometimes patronizing, verbiage from unsuccessful sales calls to the office. We are not gatekeepers;we are timekeepers.

TIME IS MONEY- Benjamin Franklin

It is the administrative professional’s key purpose/raison d’être  to save staff time. Whether it be a cold call at the front desk in person or a caller that cannot provide exact detail as to what they need– it is my job, my peer’s job to do the right thing and SAVE time for our managers. It is not my decision as to whether you’ll be able to meet with my manager or speak with my manager– that call is his/hers. However, it is my responsibility to carefully measure the intent and value of the interruption, and to assist the caller or visitor in getting the best chance of getting their information to the decision-makers.

So, please do not call me a gatekeeper. I prefer to think of the members of our profession as timekeepers. Or, better yet, time savers. And by that correlation, we become money savers and companies would be better served to see the administrative profession that way.

Special Announcement – A Year-Long Series Dedicated to Admin Leaders You Should Know

IYOTSA- 2014 |  Admin Leaders You Should Know

I could think of no better way to celebrate the kickoff of the International Year of The Secretary & Administrative Assistant (IYOTSA) than to highlight ‘Admin Leaders You Should Know’.

That’s right!

For all of 2014, Adminrenegade.com will be dedicated to introducing you to administrative peers from across the globe. Sue France, FCIPD/INLPTA, will be featured in a two-part blog post to help us get an early start for the 2014 IYOTSA series.

To learn more about how you can be involved with IYOTSA, visit the Professional Association for Secretaries and Administrative Assistants website.

To be notified when a new blog post is available, follow me on Twitter – @OfficeRenegade or here on WordPress.

Continued Fascination with Social Media…

I can’t really say when it happened.. probably when I first started blogging.  Then one day, I logged in to join Facebook to follow my friend, JaneEllen (TheJaneEllen.com), it carried over to iTunes and then to LinkedIn, then to Twitter and Twitpic.
I can’t seem to stop.  I think I’m particularly enamored of Twitter.  Do you know Twitter?  Think it is stupid or another annoying site?  I encourage you to think again. There really is no other site that compiles my many varied interests with little tidbits of info like Twitter does.  I follow inspirational speakers like Rev Run, Ralph Marston. I follow my favorite sports tweeters- Peter King from SportsIllustrated, John Buccigross and various tweeters from the Washington Capitals.  And, get this.. there are many IAAP chapters that use Twitter to promote their upcoming programs and events. Some even use it to announce new members or fundraising efforts.  I also use it to follow many celebrities in comedy, film, theatre and music.  But, I must admit, my favorite thing to follow is the news.  So many sites.. I can add local  news, national news, international news, money news, sports news.. you name it.. it’s out there.

If you are an admin- this is a new educational content arena and, I might add- another opportunity to shine. How?  Start following Tweeters that are relevant to your company or your company’s industry (retail, banking, associations, etc).  You’ll find that  you may learn about some breaking industry news long before your executives do.. and..  you can forward them the link – which shows that  you are looking at the big picture.  You can even set it up as an RSS feed to your email.   Some companies block social media web sites.  The company I work for has a detailed and clear set of guidelines for social media use in the workplace.  More companies should embrace these kind of guidelines.  There.. that’s all I’m going to say about my fascination with social media.  I really do love it.
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On a different note: I’ve been investing a tremendous amount of time in IAAP this year.  I don’t regret it.  I think my disappointment comes from knowing that so many admins are missing out on one of the most important networking and professional development groups that impacts our field.  I suspect that larger and more demanding workloads are truly leading to admin burnout.  I can’t say I blame them.  I have a hunch that employee burnout is prevalent throughout the US workforce.  For me, I’ll keep plugging along.  I’m grateful for employment, grateful for my friends in the admin world and glad I can keep sharing and learning through the web with my friends and peers.

What makes an Executive Assistant? Are you a 43-6010? 43-6011 ?

Several years ago an IAAP chapter hosted a breakfast for the executives and supervisors of IAAP members. I remember having a fairly spirited conversation with a local well-known CEO about what defines an administrative professional?

How do we define our field? Is the category reserved only for the clerical realm? What about mail room staff or if your firm has an in-house print shop? What about meeting planners? What about the Executive Assistant that pulls together an entire I expressed my beliefs politely yet firmly that administrative professionals cover a much wider spectrum of support staff than perhaps he believed. He’s not alone. Reviewing a few sources reveals a wide range of approaches to quantifying and defining the field.

Office Team supplied the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) with a list of job titles and definitions for what they feel covers the scope of the field.
Now, take a look at the Bureau of Labor and Statistics approach to our field. Are you a 43-6010? 43-6000 -New definitions of the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) for the administrative profession were released on March 10, 2010. (See http://bit.ly/cX1MHJ)
for the breakdown by job area.

A glimpse of this information is provided below.

43-6011 Executive Secretaries and Executive Administrative Assistants

Provide high-level administrative support by conducting research, preparing statistical reports, handling information requests, and performing clerical functions such as preparing correspondence, receiving visitors, arranging conference calls, and scheduling meetings. May also train and supervise lower-level clerical staff. Excludes “Secretaries” (43-6012 through 43-6014).

IAAP uses this definition:
Q. Who qualifies as an administrative professional?

A. Many people who contribute to the workplace in a variety of settings. IAAP defines administrative professionals as “individuals who are responsible for administrative tasks and coordination of information in support of an office-related environment and who are dedicated to furthering their personal and professional growth in their chosen profession.”

Research shows that many workers around the world still hold the “secretary” job title; however, many alternative titles have become more popular, such as administrative assistant, office coordinator, administrative specialist, executive assistant, and office manager.
If you have a chance to go to the site and look at the vast categorization that Office and Administrative Support covers– Seven different categories with about sixty subcategories- some that seem very relevant and others.. not so much.
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And by the way.. how does one define the engineering equivalent portion of our jobs? — You know, the engineering part of taking apart copiers to find jams- or replacing toner cartridges or taking apart the coffee machine and putting it back together. Silly, yes? Time consuming? Yes. Vital to the continued smooth functioning of our company? Absolutely. But these are skills learned on the job…and rarely documented within a job description or review. It is assumed that the administrative support staff member will inherently be able to address or take on- the small breakdowns of office and kitchen equipment.

One more page to look at -the 2008 statistics for Administrative Professionals (in the BLS category of Secretaries and Administrative Assistants) shows our field at 4.3 million strong in 2008 and the field was expected to grow 11% by 2018.

I digress. Those of us already employed in the field, we already know how much territory we cover and just how tricky it is to define our daily work accurately. We define it more by the title(s) of our supervisor, the number of years of experience, level of education and/or certifications. There is no doubt though- just as in every other occupation- there are those that hold the title- but obviously not the expertise or experience.

For the number crunchers and category makers- It is their task to generalize definitions to get the bulk of our work into neat columns of data. It is encouraging to me to see their efforts to sub categorize the field and to truly make an effort to quantify our contribution to the workforce contribution to the United States of America. As for me.. I think I’ll place myself in this category: 43-9190 Miscellaneous Office and Administrative Support Workers. I just cover too many task areas to fit neatly into any single description.