I just KNEW that was going to grab your attention!
In this case, I’m referring to working in a profession that is 98% female – Administrative Professional. There are all sorts of dynamics being a male in this line of work. The most obvious is the use of feminine nouns and pronouns in communications. For instance, one admin may send a note to a distribution list of admins and begin the message with “Hello ladies.” I know some male admins who take that personally and speak up – loudly. I’ve always gotten a kick out of it. When I first joined IAAP, chapter leaders got into the habit of starting emails with, “Ladies and James.” Again, very amusing to me.
Oh, yes, IAAP – the International Association of Administrative Professionals. I first heard of this organization in 2001, when I was taking a training class at Duke Energy. The instructor had a brief commercial in her presentation, and I went back and looked it up online. It took me a while to join but I did in 2002. As a member, I learned to take pride in the work I do. There’s no such thing as “just an admin.” Some executives grasp this very well. At an international conference one year, an exec for a company that won an award said he realized no one was covering for him while he was there, but there were several people covering for his Executive Assistant while she was there. That told him all he needed to know about how critical her role was. The “P” is the key – professional. We are just as much professional as anyone else in the office. And admins can get professional certification too. IAAP provides a path to a Certified Administrative Professional designation, with additional specialties in organizational management and technical assistant. I have the first one, so I am a CAP-OM.
If you work in an office, you already know that your office runs smoothly in large part to the admin. If you aren’t sure, wait until the next time (s)he goes on vacation, and watch people flail around like fish out of water. And since 98% of them are women, the office is, in many ways, a woman’s world. With the help of a select few guys that are admin professionals too.