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Administrative Professionals Day: Is It Still Relevant?

Tomorrow we observe “Administrative Professionals Day.” While the name has been updated – it was originally called Secretary’s Day when it started in 1952 – I wonder if the concept is out of sync in today’s workplace.

Back in the day before technology transformed the workplace, the secretarial position was critical to supporting management – this is the person who did all the typing/word processing (rarely, if ever, did you see a typewriter on a manager’s desk), placed calls, scheduled meetings and whatever else was necessary to keep the office running smoothly. True, most of these support type positions were held by women … in a paternalistic, sometimes chauvinistic organizational culture.

I know this from experience. In one of my early jobs in banking I held the position of Administrative Assistant in Corporate Planning, and my job description included making coffee for the weekly Senior Managers’ Meeting.

Now technology allows most managers do their own “typing” on their laptop or desk computers … schedule meetings on their hand held PDA’s … and connect directly to others with e-mail and cel phones. Today there are many people employed in a range of “support” positions in organizations, so do we need a special holiday to recognize Administrative Professionals?

I’ve heard a number of companies no longer observe this “holiday” (to the chagrin of restaurants and the greeting card industry).

What about your company?