It takes a pro to keep an office running

Monday, April 25, 2005

One thing the old-time cub reporter on the beat learned early: It doesn't matter what kind of relationship you can cultivate with the "official" source; it's the secretary who runs the office who you really have to make your friend.

Today, they're more likely to be called administrative assistants, and more and more men are making a career of keeping the office running smoothly.

According to the International Association of Administrative Professionals, more than 4,104,000 administrative assistants and secretaries worked in the United States in 2002, and that number is expected to grow by 184,000 by 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That role has always been vital, but never more so than in today's office environment. Consider some of the the tasks administrative professionals are expected to perform:

* Project management.

* Integrated computer software application.

* Organization and scheduling.

* Internet/intranet communications and research.

* Document preparation, storage and retrieval, with emphasis on electronic recordkeeping.

* Customer service and public relations

According to the IAAP, that means today's administrative assistants often purchase office equipment and supplies, plan meetings and special events, work closely with vendors and suppliers, create presentations and give them as well, interview, orient and supervise other staff, write and edit documents, schedule events and facilities, coordinate direct mailings, maintain multiple schedules and calendars, handle messages and correspondence (with voice mail, e-mail and snail-mail), maintain computer files, directories, databases and more.


This year, Administrative Professionals Week's theme is "Innovation Advances Administrative Professionals." Both "Administrative Professionals Week" and "Administrative Professionals Day" are registered trademarks owned by the IAAP.

This week, and especially on Wednesday, Administrative Professionals Day, take time to thank the person or people who keep your place of work running smoothly.

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