Everyone wants in. We all want to be part of an inner circle. And whatever their actual title, many who work as administrative professionals hold a key.
They are the gatekeepers, the caretakers of the corporate world, the trusted right hands, the prized organizers.
As we mark Administrative Professional Day on April 27, all of us at The Bagg Group are delighted to honour those who work in our offices, and the many, many hundreds we have placed in the best companies throughout the GTA.
We agree with Victoria Rabin, founder of US networking group Executive Assistants Organization, when she told the Wall Street Journal recently that being an administrative professional is an “incredible career” which only a “certain breed” can do.
And what a breed!
The admin professionals which Bagg Pro places are famous for being resourceful, agile problem-solvers, top-notch organizers, adaptable, whether they are working full-time, on contract or in temporary placements.
They are the trustworthy go-tos who can plan, put out fires, herd cats, and have a knack for listening, clarifying and communicating.
9 surprising facts worth sharing in the corridor:
Daylight savings time — brought to you by administrative assistants: Managers say administrative assistants save them 35% of their time, according to a survey of 172 managers in Canada and the US. That’s about three hours of time saved every work day!
They have what it takes to climb ladders: In a Best Business Jobs ranking by US News and World Report, the job of administrative assistant came in at number 18, with opportunities for promotion rating well above average. (By the way, the job of statistician ranked as number one. ) Among the many famous who have climbed the ladder are Barbara Walters and Joan Rivers, both who were former secretaries.
Hoodies aren’t just for CEOs: Anikka Fragodt, who was the EA for Mark Zuckerberg for seven years, is renowned for doing everything from putting on a toga party for 350 people with only 48 hours notice to helping the founder of Facebook prepare for meetings and debriefing staff members to ensure they understand his is directives. Zuckerberg said of his EA who, like him, sported a hoodie in the office, “Anikka helped me become a better CEO.”
And Prada isn’t just for bosses either: The assistant to Vogue editor Anna Wintour, Lauren Weisberger wrote The Devil Wears Prada, inspired by her experiences at Vogue magazine. In the movie version, Weisberger (pictured on the chair) is played by Anne Hathaway, and Meryl Streep plays Anna Wintour.
Julia Roberts won an Oscar for playing an assistant: Erin Brockovich was a file clerk / researcher at a law firm who happened across medical records while organizing papers. Her initiative to investigate further led her to become an impassioned crusader against an industrial polluter and resulted in the largest direct action lawsuit in US history. Julia Roberts earned an Academy Award for her performance in the movie entitled Erin Brockovich.
They never forget to remember: Elvis Presley’s very first hit was I Forget to Remember to Forget in 1955, and it may well be owed to Marion Keisker. A secretary at Sun Records, Keisker was alone in the studio the day Elvis strutted in. In a show of typical EA initiative, Keisker ran Elvis’ recording session herself and it would launch his career.
Dive in, it’s a big and exciting pool: There are 475,000 administrative professionals in Canada, and 4.1 million in the US, according to the last count of the International Association of Administration Professionals (IAAP), about seven years ago.
The US projects more than 5.6 million office and administrative support job openings between 2014 and 2024 and Canada will experience proportionately similar opportunities.
EAs say the funniest things: In the popular book Home to Harmony by Philip Gulley, a 70-year-old office assistant named Frank explains to jostling, demanding staff, “I can only make one person happy each day. Today is not your day. Tomorrow doesn’t look good, either.” That line now graces mugs, cards, magnets, and more. It’s a fun line, but more accurate is, “Keep calm and call the administrative assistant.”
Being an assistant to the stars can pay, but prepare to check your own life at the door: Rachel Zaslansky Sheer, who works in LA placing assistants with Hollywood stars, warns it’s a 24/7 job, but the pay can be as high as US $200,000 a year. On the other end of the scale, some celebrities pay their assistants little in exchange for the chance to be part of their entourage.
The most coveted bosses to work for are George Clooney, Jessica Sarah Parker and Angelina Jolie, says Zaslansky Sheer. It’s rare, but on occasion, some celebs will share the spotlight. Creator of the hit show Desperate Housewives Mark Cherry was assistant to Dixie Carter of Designing Women fame. Carter got him his first writing job on The Golden Girls. When the time came, Cherry returned the favour, writing Carter a part on Desperate Housewives.
At Bagg Pro, Bagg Technology Resources (BTR), Bagg @ Your Service, Bagg Managed Resources, and Turn Key Staffing Solutions we consider high-acheiving administrative professionals to be real stars. We urge all to appreciate their talents as much as we do, for a lot of reasons, including it’s just never a good idea to get on the wrong side of the administrative professional so that they have to use their special voice on us. (We all know what that sounds like!)