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Archive for Wednesday, April 25, 2001

Secretary’ column degrades career professionals

April 25, 2001

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Dear Ann: Several times over the years, you have printed a story called "Why I Fired My Secretary." As an administrative professional and someone who has fought her entire career to obtain professional recognition, it disturbs me that you insist on running that lame joke in your column. Not only is it degrading to secretaries and administrative professionals, but it also demeans the managers whom these professionals support.

Today is no longer called "Secretary's Day." It is now known as Administrative Professionals Day and has been observed since 1952 as a way for businesses to promote professional excellence and recognize office staff for their workplace contributions. Administrative professionals today have become the information managers of the office, handling responsibilities ranging from integrating software applications and desktop publishing to project management and meeting facilitation.

The International Association of Administrative Professionals and many of its 700 chapters hold various educational and networking events during this week. Administrative professionals comprise a wide range of office staff and hold titles such as administrative assistant, information coordinator, executive secretary, office manager, communications coordinator, and so on.

Please, Ann, tell your readers about the importance of Administrative Professionals Week. Today's office staff demonstrates expanded skills and knowledge, and they deserve to be recognized for their talent and hard work. Linda Hall, CPS, President, IAAP, San Jose, Calif., Chapter

Dear Linda Hall: Thank you for your gentle comeuppance. "Why I Fired My Secretary" is one of the more popular pieces I have printed, and my readers frequently ask me to repeat it. I doubt that anyone believes it reflects an authentic boss-secretary situation.

However, you are right to point out that today's office staff is tremendously important. Few employers could manage without the dedication and expertise of the administrative professionals who support and maintain their offices. On behalf of all of them, I applaud your efforts to recognize their hard work.

Dear Ann: Six months ago, my husband, "Darryl," had open-heart surgery, followed by severe complications. As his sole caregiver, his recovery was extremely stressful. He is home now and finally gaining back his strength. Today, Darryl's daughter called to let us know she is taking a vacation in the Caribbean and has the use of a friend's home for three weeks. She has offered to purchase a plane ticket for Darryl so he can spend some time by the ocean with her and her mother.

I am furious that she would think it is OK for Darryl to go off and enjoy a vacation with his ex-wife, who, in the 15 years we've been married, will not allow my name to be mentioned in her presence. Incidentally, Darryl and I have not had a vacation together in seven years.

I adore Darryl's daughter. She is a wonderful young woman, but I'm not happy about her offer. Darryl says, "Write Ann Landers. I'll abide by her decision." Tell me, Ann, am I selfish to object to his going? No Saint in New York

Dear N.Y.: You describe Darryl's daughter as a "wonderful young woman." Sorry, but I don't see anything wonderful about a woman who would encourage her father to take a trip to the Caribbean with his ex-wife while you stay home. The decision should be Darryl's, and if he is halfway decent, he will decline the offer.

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