8 February 2009

Sticks and stones will break my bones...but names will never hurt me

Depending on where you work and the work culture, it can determine what you are called at the office.

The one I like the least is staff. Doesn't it give you the feeling that you are really low on the important ladder and are lumped all together beneath the executives? I have found in some work environments there is a real distinction between executives and staff. It is almost palpable. Often, I have heard co-workers ask, "Are staff included?"when there is some function or event at the office, because it is not always assumed.

The term employee has a better sound to it, but it also tends to lump us all together into one big bundle and gives a no-name kind of feeling.

The term Assistant begins to describe what we do and if you add the word My, it shows how closely we work with our professionals. I don't mind being referred to as someone's assistant.

My all-time favourite however is colleague. My current boss always refers to me as his colleague, both to those within our company and to external contacts when referring them to me. This term denotes a close working relationship. It also shows respect for our position and for the assistant as a person.

The boss-assistant relationship is one of the closest working relationships you will have and if you have a good relationship, there will be a true team spirit. The assistant has an inner knowledge of what is going on with their boss from our daily one-on-one meetings, reading their e-mails and letter mail, screening and receiving telephone calls, as well as scheduling their day. Assistants really are the pulse in an office and our bosses depend on us to do our job well and get them where they need to be.

On that note, It is hard to believe we are getting close to Administrative Professionals' Day which is on April 22nd. That is a good time to recognize assistants for all that they do.

I hope all of your professionals appreciate what a privilege it is to have someone look after them. Imagine, if we had assistants at home to pay the bills, do the budget, organize dinners, answer our calls and follow up with reminders -- it is starting to sound pretty good.

Thank your assistant and show your appreciation for all they do every day, but especially on Administrative Professionals' Day.


Flip side...

I tend to use the term boss when I refer to my employer. My boss doesn't like it however and I can see why, as the name tends to put them at a distance. The term employer has a nicer sound to it, but is still pretty generic. Many times I refer to them as: management, professionals or executives, which is getting closer to what they do, but again, I would have to say the term colleague probably describes it the best no matter what side of the fence you are on.

This year I forgot National Bosses' Day on October 16th, but I am probably in good company as how many of us remembered it? I only found out it existed last year, so perhaps I can be excused, but are we as easy on our bosses if they forget our special day?

Happy belated bosses day to all my colleagues that I have worked with over the years...you know who you are, and I'm sure looking forward to Administrative Professionals Day!

P.S. Last year in the two-week period prior to Administrative Professional's week, I had 600 or more hits on my blog every day and each time they were querying something like, What to do for Admin Assistant's Day? or Gifts or Ideas for Administrative Professionals Week. Just in case you think your boss doesn't think about it -- many obviously do...


Anonymous said...

Another great article Patricia. My former "boss", who has since left our company, referred to me as his partner. He told everyone I was the best "partner" he ever had. He even shared that with my husband when we were golfing with him and his wife one day. He was the most appreciative person I ever worked for; I mean, with!

Patricia Robb said...

I like that!