Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Administrative Professional's (Secretary's) Day

PHOTO: Maggie Gyllenhall in “Secretary”, courtesy of

Happy Administrative Professional's (Secretary's) Day. Found this description online at holiday

National Professional Secretaries Week and National Secretary's Day was created in 1952 through the work of Harry F. Klemfuss of Young and Rubicam. Klemfuss recognized the importance and value of the position to a company or business. His goal was to encourage more women to become secretaries. Using his skill and experience in public relations, Klemfuss, promoted the values and importance of the job of secretaries. In doing so, he also created the holiday in recognition of the importance of secretaries.
Today, the title is changing and evolving. But, the recognition is equally important. There are two new terms in use today. They are "Administrative Professionals" and "Executive Admins". The two names sometimes mean different roles and responsibilities to different companies. Both are broader terms that encompass more positions than the original "Secretary" role.
The name change recognizes and acknowledges that the role has changed significantly since 1952, and for the better. And in Harry Klemfuss' day, these postions were the realm of women. Today, you find some males in these positions.

I've been a secretary (Administrative Assistant) since I started working part-time during high school when I was 15 years old. I've seen so many technological changes over the years. From mimeograph machines to Xerox and Canon copiers; from carbon paper and Liquid Paper to computers; from rotary phones and old PBX switchboards to complex telephone communication systems. In a way, I'm glad that I learned all about office machines in my Secretarial Science classes in college. In a pinch, I actually know how to type on an old typewriter, cut and paste a document, take shorthand and find a phone number without a computer! Hey! I even have an old style rollodex on my desk, just in case there's an electrical failure!

The job of secretary seemed so glamorous to me as a kid, after watching re-runs of "Private Secretary" starring Ann Sothern on TV. What fun Sothern had as "Susie McNamara" on that show. I thought it would be a perfect world in which to experience all kinds of professions, from the law to medicine to real estate to my eventual chosen field, entertainment. I've never been sorry for taking this path and not choosing to stay in school and further my education. Life has been my education.
Nowadays, with all the modern office technology, my job as an Administration Assistant at an entertainment company is relatively uncomplicated. Of course, I do have an excellent boss who started out as an assistant too, so he's extremely self-sufficient (thank you). I work with wonderful people who constantly challenge and amuse me. Considering I've been in the same field for over 30 years, I can almost do my job blind-folded. This affords me the time to think about my family, my art, my crafts and the rest of my life. Happy Secretary's Day Everyone!

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At 12:27 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm there with you :)
I remember the old punch card machines (before computers), and microfisch, and I learned to type on an old Brother manual, then we upgraded (in typing II) to IBM Selectric II. I didn't realize today was "our" day!! I need to remind the big-cheese about that. :)

At 12:54 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember pre-computers when ONLY secretaries knew how to type.

According to an old supervisor of mine, if you knew how to type, and curiously, if you had a tape dispenser on your desk, then sorry, you weren't a "real" executive.

Christine G.

At 1:18 PM PDT, Blogger Laurie Ann said...

Thanks, Ellen. As of 1:15pm, my boss has not acknowledged it. But last year, we were moving and they surprised me with a cookie bouquet. I'm ever hopeful.

At 2:09 PM PDT, Blogger Madge said...

Happy Secretary's Day, sweetie! You could rule the world imho.

P.S. That first photo is a crack up.

At 3:31 PM PDT, Blogger MonkeyGurrrrrl said...

We got gym bags (is that a hint?!) and a crappy italian "luncheon". Of course, I was out knitting, so I missed the excitement.

However, you, Ellen, could bring out the best in waste disposal, if that was your chosen field. I want whatever gene it is you have that makes you always see the glass half full.

At 4:57 PM PDT, Blogger DarcyArtsy said...

Love this post more than the Italian lunch my boss took us to and fingers crossed that tomorrow I will tell him I am leaving...stay tuned. ;)

At 5:06 PM PDT, Blogger Viva Scrapper! said...

I was a secretary for like forever...I ran that office, seriously my boss was so disorganized I used to make triple copies of all the invoices for when he lost his copy, took my copy and lost that, so I'd have a back up I could "find" behind the coffee maker and he yell at me for misplacing it and life went on. I also had a huge stash of candy and gossip mags in my drawer...I loved that job more than alot of jobs I've had.

At 5:38 PM PDT, Blogger Allison said...

MonkeyGurrrrrl said it best: I adore your half full view of everything, Ellen.

At 1:14 AM PDT, Blogger justclaire said...

Happy Secretary's Day, Ellen!

My mum told me when I still at school, "if you do nothing else, learn to type and take shorthand, and you'll never be out of a job". She was so right!

I learned to type on an Imperial 66 manual typewriter (it was 1980's New Zealand but our school equipment was more like something from the 1950s). We wore cloth bibs that covered our hands and the keyboard, and that was how we learned to "touch type". If we were caught trying to sneak a peek at the keyboard, we were in so much trouble! I look back and laugh now but, one of these typewriters is one of the main reasons that I've also had a successful and happy secretarial career for the last 24 and a bit years! Viva la Secretary!!!

At 11:07 AM PDT, Blogger Patricia Robb said...

Gotta love that first photo :)
I've been an admin assistant for almost 30 years and love it.
Happy AP day to everyone.



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