16 May 2008

We are what we think...let’s start thinking “Important!”

Assistants who have come from the days of being a secretary seem to have brought along with them the mindset that “I am just a secretary”. At one time being a secretary was a low paying and underappreciated profession. The secretary however was often the glue that held the office together and many times that idea was shown in movies or television shows that portrayed the office.

Today’s administrative assistant is much more than a secretary, but we seem to have the same idea as in the past. I read our professional magazines and notice that the majority of the articles are written by office consultants or HR professionals. Yes, we can learn from these professionals and they can motivate us and give us insight and tips, but they can’t tell us how to do our job. Some of us have been in this profession for many, many years. We are the experts in what we do so what better person to pass on valuable information about our profession than the admin assistants themselves?

I wrote an article called Thinking Outside the Job Description Box where I talked about the different areas we can go as assistants. I personally know people who have done just that and have found their niche as a result of our “Jack (or Jill) of all trades” job. We each have our expertise, let’s share the wealth of information with our fellow admins...

I am a member of the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) and each time I meet with this group of professionals I come away appreciating more and more how much each of us knows and how qualified we are in our careers. One of us may be great at organizing a conference. Another person may be expert at scheduling dates and organizing meetings. Someone else may be very up to date on computer software programs and have found tips and tricks to make their job easier. These are the people who should be writing the articles and passing on this knowledge to help other assistants.

I have had e-mails from readers of this blog and they have commended me on the content. Here is a quote from one of them, but the sentiment in other comments has been similar:

"I am an Administrative Assistant ...[and] have been in the corporate world for the past 10 years. I stumbled across your blog, and would like to commend you on the excellent content! Your blog has articles that are relevant to the corporate workplace, which is not often found on sites about PA's."
Shana from South Africa
(used with permission)
Paper Berry Blog

Admins want content and we are the ones who can give them the practical help.

I speak to assistants every day and there are far more qualified people out there than I am. I don’t think I am the leading expert on admin professionals, but I do feel I have a message to tell and that is how I use my blog.

Another purpose for my blog is to showcase the admin assistant as important professionals in the office to those who visit my blog who are not admins. I want them to see it and see how professional it is and get the message out that assistants are important too. I comment online on other sites such as Penelope Trunk’s Brazen Careerist and other career counselling and workplace sites and link back to mine and have had a few visitors as a result. Do I belong? Sure I do. Admins are as business professional as anyone else and our opinion counts too.

Is this the proverbial we are our own worst enemy? My battle cry will be for the assistant to recognize the role we play in the office, the importance of our job “Whether our bosses say so or not” and the professional nature of our work. We are business professionals.

The Department of Labor reports that our occupation is expected to be one of the areas with the most growth in the coming years and I believe our role will be changed once again. Let’s help define where we are going by putting ourselves out there and showcasing our abilities.

If you are interested in guest posting an article on this site, please e-mail me at pattyannrobb@rogers.com. The only thing I would ask is that you only post articles that are your own work as I don't want to infringe on any copyright laws and that there are no references to employer or co-worker names. I try to blog smart and keep my articles very general.

If you want to know how to get ideas for articles, read my post on “What am I going to blog about? How to get new ideas when you are a blogger”. Some people have the expertise, but don't feel confident enough to write. I interviewed a friend of mine for her expertise in minute taking and it has been one of my most popular posts. I would love to interview others who feel they have a message, but do not want to be the writer.

Now how did I get on this subject? I started out wanting to write an article on mentoring. And I will get to it another day, but...this is what I needed to say today.

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