Let’s Thank the ‘Admin Assists’ Who Run Our Offices

April 25, 2012 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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Great Idea … Except Most Downtown Employers Forgot the Holiday

By Zach Campbell
Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Administrative assistants are the backbone of any office.

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

They don't just answer phones, file paperwork, track appointments, update websites and order toner cartridges for a Clinton-era printer — they keep track of the details that fly past the rest of us. They make sure an entire business functions smoothly and on time.

Wednesday was Administrative Professionals' Day, created 60 years ago to celebrate their contributions. But in most Downtown Brooklyn offices, the day seems to have been forgotten.

Originally called Secretaries' Day, the occasion was created in 1952 by Mary Barrett, then-president of the National Secretaries Association, a group now known as the International Association for Administrative Professionals.

“It's a pretty widely observed holiday,” said Ray Weikal, of the international association, which claims that there are close to 9 million administrative professionals in the United States,

The day is an opportunity for managers to take their assistants out to lunch, or give them small gifts to thank them for their service.

Weir Florist on Montague Street was hopping — Eduardo, a Weir employee, said his shop had been inundated with orders starting around lunchtime. “We've had a lot of orders today. A lot,” he said.

“We're a small office — we didn't do a lunch or anything. But we got them flowers,” said a woman walking back to her small social services office on Court Street with a group of coworkers.

But many in Downtown Brooklyn's office district during Wednesday's lunch hour had never heard of the holiday.

Two sandwich-toting lawyers remarked that, although it sounded like a good idea, they had no idea the day had been set aside to thank their assistants for their hard work. A court clerk, heading back to the state Supreme Court building, said he too had never heard of Administrative Professionals' Day.

A group of five younger professionals standing outside the Garden of Eden market on Montague Street had also never heard of the day, but after being asked about it they quickly made plans to buy small gifts for their assistants.

One woman, who works as an administrative assistant on Remsen Street, said she had not received any recognition from her office, nor had she heard of the day. When asked if her boss had mentioned the day or thanked her for her work, she replied, “No, unfortunately.”

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