What DO Administrative Assistants do?

Happy Administrative Professionals’ Week!

When I tell people that I am an administrative assistant, I’m often asked what that is.

Now, what I do will not be exactly what the administrative assistant in your office does because responsibilities differ depending on the industry you are in. When I worked in a small grain buyer’s office, I mostly did accounts receivable and invoicing, but when I worked for a large steel manufacturing company, my position dealt with a majority of the filing with a sprinkle of accounts payable work.

(Are you bored yet? I totally understand if you are. Sorry ’bout that.)

In my current position, I have three bosses, which has its ups and downs. These are a few of my job duties:

  • Typing memos, letters, meeting minutes, and company-wide bulletins
  • Scheduling meetings and booking meeting rooms
  • Arranging hotel accommodations and conference registrations
  • Supplying meetings with coffee and water, and ordering lunch if needed
  • Sorting and distributing mail

So, as you can see, administrative professionals take care of many different tasks that help keep the inner workings of an office running smoothly.

Administrative professionals are always learning new things. To help keep my skills fresh and up-to-date, I became a member of the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP), a professional association based in the United States that provides networking and education opportunities to administrative professionals. This year, I decided to jump ship and join the Canadian-equivalent, the Association of Administrative Assistants (AAA), so I could be exposed to content more relevant to Canadian administrative professionals. The one thing I would like to do with my membership in the AAA is help create a branch in Lethbridge to bring back the networking element that was lost when IAAP changed their organizational structure in 2015. I might just start with a Facebook group and go from there. If you are an administrative professional and live in Lethbridge or surrounding area and would be interested in a local networking/education group, send me an email and we’ll set something up.

On Administrative Professionals’ Day, which is April 26 this year, it is customary to show appreciation to the administrative professional in your office with cards, flowers, and lunches (Starbucks gift cards are nice too, just saying.) The thing I look forward to the most on this day is the Administrative Professionals Gala that 94.1 CJOC and 98.1 The Bridge put on at The Coast Hotel and Conference Centre. It’s a night of drinks, appetizers, and prizes, and the last two years I have attended the gala I have won prizes, so I’m hoping for a trifecta this year! (Aaaaand I’ve probably just jinxed myself.)

My husband and me at last year’s Administrative Professionals Gala

So, to all the administrative professionals out there…

More than just answering the telephone

Happy Administrative Professionals’ Day!

Are you an administrative professional? I have been one for four and a half years now, and I love it! Administrative professionals include receptionists, office assistants, administrative assistants, data entry specialists, executive assistants, and bookkeepers. They can be found in almost every industry, making office administration a versatile career choice.

I love being an administrative assistant because I enjoy keeping things organized and running smoothly. A few of my responsibilities include, but are not limited to, answering the telephone, providing front-end customer service, ordering materials, taking meeting minutes, and managing a Twitter account. The great thing about being an office admin is that your job is constantly in a state of evolution, and your job description changes year after year. Just when you are getting comfortable with your responsibilities, and maybe a little bored, something new comes along and you feel challenged and refreshed again.

I have a little extra incentive to go to work every day because I have a strange obsession with stationery. I get to be surrounded by highlighters, Sharpies, and Post-It Notes all day long! I used to work for the corporate office of a steel manufacturing company, and my cubicle was directly across from the stationery supply cabinet. Every time someone would open the doors, you would get a whiff of that distinct smell stationery has, and I loved it! I know, it’s incredibly weird, but I have worked with other people who have the same obsession, so I know that I am not alone. I’ve even told my husband that instead of buying me jewellery for special occasions he could buy me stationery instead and I would be ecstatic. One year, I received a red Swingline stapler, identical to the one from the movie Office Space, for my birthday. It’s awesome!

You are constantly learning as an office admin. I graduated from the two-year Office Administration diploma at Lethbridge College, and even though I left with a great foundation of knowledge, I continued learning new things once I started working. Further beyond that, I joined the Lethbridge chapter of the International Association of Administrative Professionals, or IAAP, so that I could learn even more by attending their monthly professional development dinner meetings. My membership has also led me to some great resources, networking opportunities, and new friendships.

So, on this Administrative Professionals’ Day, please thank those who help keep everything running smoothly in your office. There is a lot of behind-the-scenes work that we do that sometimes goes unnoticed, so it’s great to show your appreciation.

Oh, and if you are interested in joining the Lethbridge Chapter of IAAP, click here for more information.