Here we are kicking off Administrative Professionals Week. This is the week when the work-life balance challenged realize that someone kindly invented a holiday so that they would not forget the people who help their workplaces run smoothly. This, of course, makes perfect sense. You don’t want to forget someone you pay, after all. They might turn on you during a full moon. This means that for the powers that be to invent a holiday that insures we honor our own families, it will make much more sense to them if the spouse and kids are drawing a decent salary, perhaps with bennies and a 401K to boot. Even mothers and fathers only get a day. Professionals get a week. And there is no children’s day. Never mind that my wife just chimed in from the other room that no money would be worth what I put her through anyway, the point is work has once again trumped life. Interestingly, a Google search on this topic yields not a bunch of links to why we should revere our employees, but a preponderance of links to floral and greeting card companies, as well as the tidbit that the commemoration itself was the brainchild of an executive at Young & Rubicam in 1952. Sounds to me like someone realized the notion of honoring the American worker could be good for business. Sure, there had to have been some honest appreciation for professional secretaries mixed in, but if capitalism can thrive during the love-fest, it’s a win-win!
Let’s subvert the system this year. Much like those e-mail chains that encourage you to stop buying one brand of gas for a week, let’s not buy flowers or a card for those hard-working administrative professionals. These are empty gestures that allow upper management an easy out (“here, by the time these flowers die I will be released of all responsibility for remembering how valuable you are”). Instead, each of us whose lives are made easier by professional secretaries will make a ritual out of stopping at their desk each day, all year, and reminding them how valuable they are. Those who are so inclined can light a candle for them every day, or burn sage in their honor or something. By the end of a year of this, the true importance of honoring administrative professionals will be much more effectively illustrated. Okay, so the ripple effect on the flower and greeting-card economy will send the nation into the next great depression, but by then we’ll all be out of work, and one day we might be coming to our former professional secretaries for a job. And who’s going to get hired first, the person who made them feel worthwhile each and every day, or the sap that thought a floral arrangement during the last week in April would suffice? Well, I gotta go. I just can’t see paying a rush fee on that bouquet I’m getting for my secretary.