NOT, “Just An Admin”

Author: Peggy Vasquez – International Speaker/Author/Chief Executive Assistant 

Have you ever said, or heard an admin say “I’m just an admin?” I have. And I’ll admit it – I’ve said it too. Then one day I discovered that every admin is valued and the true value of the profession of the administrative assistant! 

I’d like to share my journey of discovery with you. It began several years ago when I started working for Mr. H as a temp. What started out as a two week assignment ended up lasting for seven years! During the first week, he asked me to take care of the account payable and receivable. 

I told him, “I’ve never done this before. I’m happy to help but I’m not a bookkeeper, I’m JUST an admin”. He said, “look through our records and see if you can figure it out”. 

So I did!

Later he asked me to figure out our DOS Computer Programming. 

I said, “Mr. H. I’m not a computer software expert, I’m JUST an admin”. He said, “I think you can do it and handed me the programmer’s binder”. 

It took time, effort, mistakes and a lot of painful focus to learn and ultimately, I was successful. Much later he told me we were going to relocate the office to a town 60 miles away. He asked me to find a location, negotiate a lease, remodel the space if needed and take care of all interior decorating and procurement. 

I said, “Mr H. I’ve never done this before. I’m not a contractor or an interior designer, I’m JUST an admin”. He said “I think you can do it, let me know if you have any questions”. 

I got started, one small piece of the project at a time, one step at a time. Three months later I selected the location, negotiated the lease, remodelled the space and purchased new furniture, office equipment and supplies. The project was successfully accomplished. 

Later I was recruited by Mr. W – he made it clear that my first priority was to create a highly functioning admin team and to assist him with his management team. 

I told him, “I’m honoured to work for you. I’ve been an executive assistant for several years and I’ve received a lot of training but I’m not a facilitator or a trainer. I’m JUST an admin”. He said “I know you are capable of this assignment and we need you to do a great job. I’ve got your back and I support your judgement 100%. If you run into any road blocks let me know”. 

It wasn’t easy, there was trial and error, lots of candid conversations and over time we were not only surviving, we were thriving. Mr. W’s confidence in me propelled my performance to a new level. I rose to his level of expectations. We became a united front and trusted and believed in each other. 

Years later, I was working for Mr K, by this time I had much more experience and was confident in my capabilities. I knew I my job was to make him be more successful with me than he could be without me. We went through a huge reorganisation and routinely asked me for my feedback. I told him what he needed to hear, not what he wanted to hear. He valued and respected my feedback, even if the messages at times were difficult to hear. We developed a strong partnership and trusted one another completely. 

As I reflect upon my career, I can easily see how I was valued: 

  • When Mr. W’s wife told her husband he needed me for his business partner, I knew I was more than JUST an admin. I was a trusted colleague. 
  • When I was able to create a highly functioning admin team, I knew I was more than JUST an admin! I was a highly respected professional. 
  • When Mr. K and I talked about what he wanted his lasting legacy to be and for seven years I helped make that legacy a reality, I knew I was more than JUST an admin! I was a trusted advocate and business partner. 
  • When I helped Mr. K through his transition to retirement, and assisted his replacement, Mr. A into his new role as a leader of the company, I knew I was more than JUST an admin! I was a change agent, confidant and adviser. 

I know my story is all too familiar for other administrative assistant. We are all more than “JUST” an admin. Administrative assistants go above and beyond and take on new assignments with little to no background, training or experience. Our role is no longer confined to typing letters, answering the phone, scheduling meetings and travel. The role of the administrative assistant requires a diverse skill set, high emotional intelligence and strong business acumen to get through the day to day environment of today’s demanding environment. At any given moment we are asked and expected to be:

  • Calendar Managers
  • Project Coordinators 
  • Correspondence Experts 
  • Facility Managers 
  • Compliance officers 
  • Office managers 
  • bookkeepers 
  • Computer Software Experts 
  • Key influencers’
  • Negotiators 
  • Change agents 
  • Communication Specialists 
  • Vendor Relationship Managers 
  • Public Relation Managers 
  • Trainers 
  • Facilitators 
  • Creative Event Planners 
  • Expert Travel Agents 
  • Leaders

We are also the trusted confidant, the informed adviser, the compassionate counsellor and the ambassador!

Administrative Assistants are the ultimate business partner and that is why YOU are valued!

Join me in making the commitment to never, ever, ever, ever, saying “I’m JUST an Admin” again. Instead hold you head up high and say, “I’m an Administrative Professional”.

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