This week on Wednesday the US took time to recognize the administrative assistants of the world. All too often it’s a position that’s seen as for average people or those who aren’t very important, and as a result they’re not always treated with the respect they deserve. It’s not easy being the gatekeeper and trying to keep things straight and efficiently running between the bosses and the customers, but for the most part they do. So my first encouragement today is for you to give the administrative assistants you deal with a little extra patience and the respect to treat them as humans who have brains and aren’t trying to make your life harder, they’re just doing their job.
The second thing I wanted to talk about today was the reason that people do look down on administrative assistants: sometimes they’re downright nasty. Yes, I said it, sometimes there’s nothing worse than dealing with one. They can make your life hell for no reason at all. They can hold up the process of getting things done and they can complicate matters that are really very simple. Just because you’re a gatekeeper doesn’t mean you have the right to be rude or pushy. Just because you have a lot on your plate doesn’t mean that you have the right to be short or impatient with people. No, you may not get the respect you think you deserve, but that doesn’t mean that you should treat potential customers as annoyances.
An administrative assistant’s job is to help, to be the bridge between the boss or other people in the office and the customers. It’s a whole lot more than just knowing computers or being able to file. You’re the first person that most people will interact with at the business, and you are responsible for the reputation, image and first impression they create and associate with the company. Are you living up to the huge responsibility it is to be a great administrative assistant, one that is worthy of all the praise given out this week? If not, you’ve got an opportunity to do better.
What have been your best experiences with administrative assistants? What advice do you have for them or for customers?