National WTF Day

Showing the kind of grasp of current affairs that prompted The Guardian to describe A Brit Out Of Water as “all the news that’s fit to print, about a fortnight after it should be printed”, Wednesday 23rd April was Administrative Professionals Day here in the United States. A day to celebrate all the work that assistants, PAs and secretaries do for their bosses, and to show that you really do appreciate it when you ask them to pick up your dry cleaning or phone your wife to say that you’re stuck in a meeting (when in reality you’re stuck in a bar with that girl from accounts).

Needless to say, I didn’t even realise there was such a thing as Administrative Professionals Day until about three days after it happened, and my assistant went unrewarded for all her hard work. Next year the “Sorry, I’m British” excuse might not be as effective, but for the moment it’s holding me in good stead.

I’ve actually always been useless at having an assistant. Having seen too many bosses abuse their power by getting their assistant to go out to buy them stamps, or book dinner reservations, I always go above and beyond to make sure that any assistant feels like I’m not taking advantage of their position. Sadly such a policy tends to backfire when I over compensate, and spend my day picking up their dry cleaning and phoning their partner to let them know that they’re stuck in a barmeeting and won’t be back until late.

Personally I’m still struggling to come to terms with the fact that I live in a country that has something called Administrative Professionals Day. The Political Correctness Council must have worked overtime to come up with that moniker (“you can’t call them assistants, for crying out loud!”). I’m guessing that American Greetings or Hallmark had their hand in it somewhere, and I know it doesn’t exactly have the popularity of Mother’s Day, but it still seems a bit over the top to remind us to be pleasant to the people we work with.

Before you know it, we’ll be celebrating Be Nice To Your Bug Exterminator Week or Hug A Plumber Day.

Having said that, if the event I witnessed last week in Miami is anything to go by, maybe Administrative Professionals Day is an absolute must. As I waited for my taxi to the airport, I watched a few guys practicing their putting on the adjacent golf course’s practice green. Between every single shot that one of the men took, his assistant would hand him his Blackberry so that he could check his emails or make a phone call, before slinking back to the edge of the green.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, when the blokes made their way off the practice green to start their round, they all jumped into a convoy of golf buggies to make their way around the course.

Except the assistant, that is. They made her walk behind them.

10 thoughts on “National WTF Day

  1. Erin

    Would you email my bosses too and let them know because they didn’t get my anything and I’m still annoyed.

    PS: Just be prepared when you don’t get anything from your assistant on “Bosses Day (October 16th).” 😛

  2. Lillie

    I discovered your Blog last week. Brilliant!

    I’m enjoying it immensely, and spent a good part of Saturday going through the archives.

    Don’t feel bad about forgetting “Administrative’s Day”. I just happen to mention it to a client today …and my boss asked “Ohhhhhh, when is that???”..

    My response from across the room: “You mean, when WAS it”?

    Then I heard a little voice..”uh oh”…

    As Erin said — “wait and see what happens on Boss’ Day”

    Incidentally, it’s not too late– if you’re that guilt ridden – you can still get her a box of chocolates, or take her to lunch

  3. fishwithoutbicycle

    Maybe it’s a British thing, but I always feel a bit guilty when I ask our lovely departmental assistant to do something. My emails/phone calls to her always start “Would you mind…” or “If you have the time…” she seems to appreciate my politeness.

    Although saying that I have a British co-worker who is very rude to her. I hope she salts his coffee 😉

  4. Jonathan Jones

    It pays to be polite to the admin. You never know when you’re going to need a favor. But I guess that applies to everyone, right?

  5. Expatmum

    Just remember, for the most part, all publicity is good publicity. Look where it got Paris Hilton. And I hate to tell you that there is also Sweetest Day here, as well as Valentine’s Day. Couldn’t tell you when it is though as I usually ignore it completely.

  6. Lillie

    At the risk of Dylan jumping out the nearest window — this year Sweetest Day is two days after National Boss Day — the third Saturday in October.

    I happen to know this because as an efficient administrative assistant I am (ha ha)it’s my job to order flowers for “the wife”. Which I whole heartedly encourage, and remind him off, because I earn frequent flyer miles when I do.

  7. Dylan

    Clearly the feedback I’m getting is that I need to rectify this error, and the sooner the better! Message received and understood…

    Lillie – glad that you found the blog and that you’re enjoying it (feel free to spread the word!). And thanks for the tip on Sweetest Day, although The Special One claims that Valentines Day is wholly a Hallmark invention, so how she’ll react to Sweetest Day I have no idea!

    But come on, Sweetest Day?! Will be celebrating ‘Best Friends Day’ soon, or even ‘Only Day Of The Year Without A Special Day Day’?!

  8. Lillie

    I guess this would be a good a time as any to tell you Best Friend’s Day is June 8th.

    Perhaps I shouldn’t mention, however, Nurse’s Day is May 12th, Grandparents Day the 1st Sunday after Labor Day, and Teacher’s Day on October 15th.

  9. Melanie Seasons

    It used to be called Secretary’s Day, but I think The Political Correctness Council made a motion to rename it about 10 years ago. In the same meeting they did away with “Take Your Daughter to Work Day” and replaced it with “Take Your Child to Work Day.”

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