An ode to those who make an office run smoothly

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Once upon a time, an executive relied on his secretary to handle his correspondence and filing, that tedious work that, while necessary, took away from the "big picture" work bosses traditionally accomplished.

Today, that same executive is more likely to handle her own correspondence via e-mail or Web conference, and the filing? Well, that's automated as well.

And her assistant is not longer a "secretary," he's an Administrative Professional who more than likely takes on plenty of those "big picture" tasks of his own.

It's all part of the changing workplace, not only a scrambling of the traditional male-female roles, but an open recognition and acknowledgement of the team that provides for the esmooth operation of an office and the enterprise it serves.

Far from "taking a letter" via shorthand or transcribing from a Dictaphone loop, today's administrative professional is more likely to take on tasks that one time belonged strictly to the person in charge.

They include assignments like managing a project, troublshooting software or system problems, scheduling and plannning a company meeting, doing Internet communications and research, preparing a spreadsheet or PowerPoint presentation, public relations, negotiating for the best deals on office equipment and supplies, supervising and training staff, serving as an office communications traffic controller and, yes, maintaining computer files, directors and databases.

When things go well, the person in charge is most likely to receive the credit. A wise manager lets the people who make things run smoothly know they are appreciated.

Administrative Professionals Week, April 23-27, and Administrative Professionals Day, April 15, is a good chance to do just that.

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