Why 2014 Is the Year of the Administrative Assistant!

Did you know there’s an event going on right now celebrating you as an administrative assistant? Learn what one of the leaders of the International Year of the Secretary and Admin Assistant has to say about this important event – and how you can get involved.

Did you know that 2014 is the International Year of the Secretary and Admin Assistant (IYOTSA)? It's been 30 years since the last one and it couldn't have come at a better time for administrative professionals.

Associations from all over the world will be using 2014 as an opportunity to voice what we all already know: that the administrative role has changed totally in the last five years.

With the onset of the recession and the redundancies in middle management, admins suddenly found themselves taking on many roles previously carried out by middle managers for no more money and often with no training. Frequently, this work was in areas like public relations, marketing, accounting, event management, knowledge management and human resources.

It was only ever meant to be a temporary arrangement, but five years later, many administrative professionals are still juggling at least one additional role alongside their original jobs, and still haven't had a pay raise, proper training or a change of job description.

The Advantages of a Current Job Description

Why is a job description that recognizes what you do so essential? Because otherwise you are not being measured properly against what you actually do. In an annual appraisal situation, you will never get the pay raise or the recognition that you deserve. And equally, any skills gaps will never be brought to light, because it will not be clear exactly what it is that you do and, therefore, where you need help.

As global brand ambassador for the IYOTSA, I want you to know that as part of the IYOTSA charter, we are encouraging businesses to revisit their job descriptions, the training administrative professionals receive and the networking opportunities that are given to support staff. The truth is that administrative assistants are no longer in behind-the-scenes roles. More often than not, they are responsible for several key areas of the business and they’re strategic business partners to their managers -- admittedly with different skill sets than their executives, but those skill sets are no less valid.

How Admins Can Promote the IYOTSA

The IYOTSA is a great opportunity to shout about what you actually do as an administrative assistant and to change the perception of the role, not only in your own company but across the world. It is a very short window of time in which we can all do our bit to fight for a better understanding and recognition of administrative assistants as professional business people.

So how can you get involved?
• Look for related activities through associations, businesses organizations and trainers that are involved (they may display the logo on their websites).
• Could you organize an event or a series of events, or do you already organize events that would fall under the IYOTSA banner?
• Use social media and/or your personal blog to share information or news about the IYOTSA.
• Talk to the editors of any company newsletters/magazines/intranet content about opportunities to raise awareness about the admin role and its transformation within your business.
• Ask your employer to sign the charter and see if they might ask others to do the same.
• If you’re a trainer or speaker, could you offer free online or in-person sessions?
• Do you have a database of administrative professionals that you could contact to help us spread the word?  
• What contacts do you have that might help us? Do you know people in the media or politics who might get involved and help? Not only that, but what contacts do your contacts have? This is where networking comes into play.

Not sure yet how you might be involved, but still want to be kept up up-to to-date? You can still contact me at [email protected] and I’ll put you in our database to receive a newsletter with the latest.

I would love to hear any ideas that you might have to help spread the word, too. Share them below in the comments section.

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