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The Admin Movement Needs Improvement

I want to discuss something and I’m still forming my thoughts on how to express myself clearly and eloquently. But I just don’t want to wait any longer, so I ask you to bear with me, and let me break it down.

I’ll start with a little personal background. Before I started my business, for 25 or so years I worked in the administrative field, mostly as a C-suite executive assistant. At one point I was pretty much in charge of a 400+ facility and was earning that sought-after six figure salary. I left to pursue other things and returned over a year later to another company in a lower position, but one that allowed me time to go back to school and build my current business.

I started as a receptionist and worked my way up. I’ve worked in many industries - one of the benefits of that set of skills is the transferability - and they included agriculture, publishing, construction, automotive and healthcare. At that level in that position, the work is generally the same as are the struggles.

I am a Certified Administrative Professional through the International Association of Administrative Professionals, and it’s a NCCA-accredited certification. I also hold the Organizational Management specialty designation, so suffice it to say, I know what I’m doing when it comes to running an office and supporting an executive - or an entire team of them.

What I’m struggling with is how much the administrative professional is still searching for the recognition it deserves. There are movements within administrative communities to drive change for title standardizations, recognition of valuable contributions by these professionals, demand for higher salaries, and demand for training and advancement. To be seen as Strategic Business Partners. And maybe promoted into Chief of Staff and executive positions. And yes, I know it does happen, but why has the general conversation not changed in two decades?

There are multiple professional organizations and top consultants and trainers around the globe that focus on providing training for admins. They all hold their own conventions and summits or training sessions in their own effort to provide training to advance careers.

But the part I struggle with is that I’m not convinced that any of this is going to make a difference.

I know that I’m going to get dragged through the mud for what I’m going to say. And I recognize that it’s a broad generalization and does necessarily apply to everyone, but here it goes:

First…why is a lot of the training taken by and provided for admins titled, “(fill in the blank) for admins,” or just hour-long segments at conventions?

Why not just take a financial accounting or marketing course? Maybe, just maybe, part of the reason admins aren’t taken as seriously as they should be, is because their training appears superficial (I know it’s not, but appearances matter!), particularly at the C-Suite level. Everyone else in the C-suite usually has a formal education - finance, legal, marketing, sales, operations. If you want to be seen and accepted as an equal, but don't have what is considered a formal business education, do you really think it strange that you're perceived differently? I understand first-hand that, in that position, most training happens on-the-job as you work your way up, working with different departments, learning directly from the most talented people in your organization, but it’s a perception. And perception is reality.

Next, I think the fight - for lack of a better term - needs to be taken directly to the boardroom and the HR department, not just within the confines of admin organization surveys and on-line training. To keep lamenting how much of a talented bad-ass you are kinda seems like its falling on deaf ears and ineffective to me.

I read every day, on different social media accounts and platforms, how these talented professionals, who are highly skilled problem solvers, negotiators, coordinators, trainers, mentors, communicators, are ofte