Admin Pros….the ‘one’ and only

Published 6:46 am Monday, April 29, 2013

AHOSKIE – In charge….that’s how local administrative professionals should feel after a pep talk given by Hertford County’s top local government official here Wednesday.

April 24 marked the annual observance of Administrative Professionals Day and a local celebration of this nationwide event was held during a luncheon held at the Ahoskie Inn. There, 100-plus administrative professionals representing a large number of local businesses heard an inspiring message from Hertford County Manager Loria Williams.

Williams, who has spent the last eight years of her career in Hertford County, informed the audience that she started in 1985 as an administrative assistant to the Warren County Manager at a salary of $9,000 a year.

Williams spoke from her heart. She said the word secretary is derived from a Latin word meaning to distinguish or set apart. It later was defined as “private” or “confidential.”

“You are the holders of so many secrets…what your bosses like, what they don’t like; perhaps one day you can write your memoirs and make a lot of money,” Williams said. “You are the holders and the keepers of a lot of things. Secretaries take care of confidential matters. While the word secretary has now been replaced by administrative professional, that job remains a noble profession. You remain an important part of your organization.”

Williams asked how did the title of secretary evolve to that of an administrative professional? She explained that in the 1980’s when the bottom dropped out of corporate America, middle management was the first on the chopping block.

“And who do you think filled that void…..secretaries,” Williams noted. “That’s when their role broadened into a lot of different areas, basically all professional job titles.”

She continued, “In this current economic downturn, you are being asked to do even more with less. I know your work load has changed. It has not only increased, it has broadened to areas you never dreamed you’d be responsible for.

“There are so many expectations of you, of your time, of your effort,” Williams added. “You are being asked to be detail oriented; have a sound understanding of business; asked to dress professionally, which can so often can put a burden on your pocketbook. And certainly there’s not a lot of money going around to compensate you for that added work load, so it can be difficult to feel that you are in control of anything.

“And let’s not forget you often are asked to fill the role of a peacemaker,” Williams noted. “For good measure let’s throw in that you, with all these duties, have progressed to the point where you may feel you can leap a tall building with a single bound.”

She added there’s one item asked of administrative professionals that may increase their stress level.

“Of all the things that we expect of you, bosses tend to expect you all to know what their intent is as well,” Williams said. “A lot of times they don’t know what they really want, but they expect you to figure out their intent. Of all the tangible portions of your job, there’s the intangibles that are the hardest to deal with. As so often is the case, the boss will tell you what they want and how they want it done, but when you complete the project as requested they want to make changes.”

However, people still answer ads for jobs as administrative professionals.

“I believe that individuals that gravitate towards a job as an administrative professional already possess the skill set to handle such a job. They are detailed by nature; they know how to multi-task,” she said.

“To be the one you must command, not demand,” Williams continued. “To command is to know you have a charge and you have authority in that charge. Don’t give away that power. Believe in yourself, and have faith in your abilities, without a humbled but reasonable amount of confidence in your powers. Know you have that power.”

In closing, Williams called administrative professionals “the lifeblood of your agency.”

“Know that bosses come and bosses go; know that you report to a boss, but be ever mindful that you work for yourself and your profession,” she noted. “How can you be the one, you are the one; believe that you are the one and that belief comes from your heart and mind. You are the constant. We are so grateful for the individuals that created this day, but most of all we are grateful for you.”

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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