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  • Writer's pictureKristen Herring-Asleson

Behind the scenes is where the "magic" happens!

The day-to-day life of an administrative assistant ain’t easy. And anyone who thinks it’s a “fluff” job really should try it for a day, week and month. Your tune may change in a really short amount of time.

This week, more specifically, the last Wednesday of April, is dedicated to recognizing, acknowledging and thanking the administrative assistants across the United States. Having been one for most of my life at multiple businesses, I know firsthand, that sometimes it’s a thankless job.

Taking you back to 1997, my first day on the job as an administrative assistant made me question whether or not this was the right line of work for me. Why? On that first day, rather sit down at my desk and get right to work, I was handed a wad of cash and told to get breakfast from Taco Bell for everyone. Yes, you read that right. Those types of “job duties” continued for quite some time, and the real work never materialized. Needless to say, I didn’t last long there.

Wondering why being an administrative assistant is more difficult than you think? Let’s start with the demanding managers and coworkers who live in some type of dreamworld where they think admins are magical and can perform miracles in minutes.

Although, come to think of it, we are magical and can perform miracles when it comes to organizing, planning and completing projects at the last minute.

Often, those demanding managers and business owners have high expectations. Among those expectations are making time-sensitive requests, which result in frequent interruptions and other projects being shoved to the back burner.

A fellow administrative assistant shared, “There is not much that I don’t love about my job, but if I had to pick, it would be attending meetings or being micromanaged.”

When it comes to dealing with customers, vendors, or anyone who comes through the door, being an administrative assistant who is also a gatekeeper is a whole other ballgame. Everyone has their bad days, which is understandable, but taking it out on the person at the front desk is simply not okay.

On the flip side, as a virtual assistant and administrative assistant, this career is incredibly rewarding, and there are many things to love about it. Although “we” do a lot of tasks that others simply do not want to do, don’t have time to do, or simply are lacking in knowledge to do, deep down, we love our jobs, the duties, and even the ones we serve who “drive us nuts.”

Our jobs come with a bit of humor too. At one point in time, I was a medical secretary for a neurosurgeon. He walked in one day and asked the most remedial question about Microsoft Word that I had to fully compose myself to answer without a smirk, while the whole time my inner voice was screaming, “And you do brain surgery?”

The services provided by an admin are invaluable, and their strengths are many. No longer are the days where we sit as depicted in old-time magazines filing our nails, answering the phones, and type correspondence. Duties go far beyond typing letters and include fixing printers, serving as an entire technical department, unclogging the office bathrooms, making coffee and cleaning up messy breakrooms. It’s a wonder that the “important stuff” ever gets completed.

Once, I wanted to put up signs around office, but was vetoed with the reason being it was too rude. It was as if no one else knew how to put dirty dishes in a dishwasher or knew where the coffee grounds and filters were kept.

In reality, administrative assistants have pretty big jobs with just as big of responsibilities. Our tasks, completed projects, and organizational skills are what keeps many offices running smoothly.

Lastly, while it may feel grueling sometimes, it is very satisfying knowing we are “magical” to so many.

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