Words of wisdom about administrative staff

April 19 to April 25 was Administrative Professionals Week 2015. According to Hallmark, the annual event began as National Secretaries Week more than 60 years ago.

The International Association of Administrative Professionals says the occasion was created to recognize “the secretary, upon whose skills, loyalty, and efficiency the functions of business and government offices depend.”

While some support staff are still known as secretaries, most administrative professionals are now known by other titles such as administrative assistant, executive assistant, administrative manager, or office manager.

Most employers realize the importance of these professionals. A recent OfficeTeam survey of almost 1,000 senior managers found nearly all (94 percent) said their administrative professional is important to their success at work.

The vast majority of bosses (91 percent) also felt support staff should be recognized on Administrative Professionals Day (held on the Wednesday of Administrative Professionals Week), a 25-point jump from a similar survey conducted in 2005.

I found two websites, Someecards.com and iDigitalTimes.com, offering some entertaining Administrative Professionals’ Day quotes, many by unknown authors, that the sites deem “worthy of sharing on social media, cards and thank you notes.”

Some of the quotes are heartfelt, such as “No one is more cherished in this world than someone who lightens the burden of another.”

The sites also include some funny, sometimes inappropriate, quotes about Administrative Professionals Day:

  • “My sincerest apologies that you have to work on a holiday that honors your work.”
  • “We’d have gotten you a card signed by everyone but you’re the one who organizes those things.”
  • “Administrative Professionals Day is the best way to find out who doesn’t know they’re an administrative professional.”

The sites also offer some quotes about the challenges faced by people working in administrative roles:

  • “Responsibility without power, the fate of the secretary through the ages.” — Ariel Dorfman
  • “As soon as you sit down to a cup of hot coffee, your boss will ask you to do something which will last until the coffee is cold.” — Author Unknown
  • “Accomplishing the impossible means only that the boss will add it to your regular duties.” — Doug Larson


Employees who accomplish “the impossible” deserve recognition year round.

“Although it’s important to recognize the efforts of all employees throughout the year, Administrative Professionals Day provides a unique opportunity to give thanks to a group whose daily contributions often occur behind the scenes,” said OfficeTeam executive director Robert Hosking.

Hosking offers five ideas for recognizing employees during Administrative Professionals Week and beyond:

  1. Acknowledge outstanding team members at a staff meeting so the feedback is public.
  2. Handwrite a thank-you note acknowledging someone’s great work.
  3. Offer gift cards for coffee or the movies to employees who go above and beyond on a project.
  4. Feature stand-out staff in the company newsletter.
  5. Encourage employees to become active in professional associations and reimburse them for membership dues.

For additional ways to show appreciation to administrative professionals and other employees, the Robert Half company offers a list of 30 Creative Ideas for Boosting Morale and Retention at www.roberthalf.co.uk/boosting-morale-and-retention.

OfficeTeam also offers a light-hearted “Recognition Gone Wrong” video series showcases examples of what not to do when acknowledging the achievements of colleagues. The videos can be viewed at www.officeteam.com/recognition.

Advice for Employers

  • “A pat on the back is only a few vertebrae removed from a kick in the pants, but is miles ahead in results.” — Ella Wheeler Wilcox
  • “There are two things people want more than sex and money – recognition and praise.” — Mary Kay Ash
  • “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” — William Arthur Ward
  • “There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.” — Mother Teresa
  • “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” — John F. Kennedy
  • “I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” — G.K. Chesterton
  • “Recognition is the greatest motivator.” — Gerard C. Eakedale
  • “I can no other answer make, but, thanks, and thanks.” — William Shakespeare
  • “The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness.” — Dalai Lama
  • “When someone comes along who genuinely thanks us, we will follow that person a very long way.” — Alan Loy McGinnis
  • “The smallest thanks is always worth more than the effort it takes to give it.”– Unknown

Tag Goulet is co-founder of FabJob.com and Academic Director of the International Association of Professions Career College which offers certificates for dream careers online at www.iapcollege.com.