Celebrating Administrative Professionals Day (Secretaries Day)
Acknowledging the Contributions of Your Administrative Staff
“I like being appreciated for my work,” says Brenda, one of the almost half a million full time administrative professionals working in Canada today. “I like receiving cards and flowers during Administrative Professionals week. It makes me feel like my coworkers and my bosses recognize and value my contributions and accomplishments. It brightens my day.”
Brenda feels like many secretaries, administrative assistants, receptionists, executive assistants, and office managers who are acknowledged with the celebration of Administrative Professionals week, which is observed during the last full week in April and Administrative Professionals Day, the Wednesday of the last week in April.
The annual event was known as Secretaries Day/Week or Secretary’s Day/Week when it was inaugurated in 1952 by the National Secretaries Association (now the International Association of Administrative Professionals).
It was founded to honour and promote the secretarial profession which has a long and respectable history. Traditionally, secretaries were those who kept the secrets of those in charge—confidants employed to conduct correspondence and keep records.
Like most professionals, secretaries were almost always men until the early to mid-twentieth century when women joined the paid workforce. Secretarial work then became one of those labour spheres primarily filled by women.
Today, secretaries are joined by other professionals employed in related occupations in the observance of Administrative Professionals Week. The IAAP changed the name in 2000 to reflect the changing nature of the workplace.
In an online poll conducted by the IAAP on their website, almost 12% of the over 500 respondents reported that nothing was done in their offices to observe Administrative Professionals Week. One commented, “I actually purchased my own flowers and balloons last year (my executives forgot).”
This oversight is certainly unfortunate since there are many ways to acknowledge the contributions of your administrative staff. “My company plans to offer professional development seminars this year, and it would be great if they gave us bonuses or a comp day. Even so, flowers and a personal, sincere thank you note from the boss can go a long way,” says Marie.