Sure we had lunches, cards and recognition from others, but I think this is also the perfect moment to stop and pat ourselves on the back for our multitude of talents.
We are the backbone of the business. Without us phones would go unanswered, emails unopened, customers lost. We can help keep a client, or push one away in an instant.
We are accomplished actresses – convincingly telling fibs to customer/boss/spouse when the boss is running late/at the gym/on the golf course.
We buy time when the report isn’t complete.
We are writers and professional communicators – turning poorly written, unfocused scraps of paper into crisp, professional PowerPoint presentations – and often even crafting the words that form the awe-inspiring message.
We take the blame for the bosses’ spelling and grammatical errors, missed appointments, forgotten promises with not much more than a whispered thank you.
We listen to people complain about their peers/boss/spouse and never breathe a word. We know every detail of the new competitive strategy and never mention it to another soul. We complete health care reimbursement forms for the bosses’ Viagra prescription without a raised eyebrow.
We are confidantes. Long before the boss knows, we could tell you who is disgruntled and sending out resumes. Like psychics, we can also point out who will be a lousy hire by the way they bark at us when they arrive for an interview.
We know where the bodies are buried, and if someone thinks we can’t hear or we don’t understand –they’re a fool. We have memories like steel traps. And unlike Elaine Benes, the vault can’t be opened. We may not tell – but we never forget.
We are educated. We have bachelor’s degrees in specialties like mathematics and communications. We have post-graduate certificates and degrees. We studied programming, psychology and economic theory. We could probably provide better analysis and make more sound decisions than a lot of managers.
We can fix the computer/printer/copier faster than the IT Help Desk and with a lot less drama. Just give us the damned administrator password and let us do what needs to be done.
At any given moment we may be making snap decisions about what is important, who is a priority, and how a crisis can be averted. We’re task-oriented and know how to get things done now. And if we can’t do it, we have the mobile number for someone who can.
We are the original change agents. We mollify, cajole and negotiate in the background so whatever needs to be done is done.
We know the best restaurant because we ate there last Saturday night.
We read the trade papers and follow financial news. We know when there are problems with the company’s finances.
We have drive, ambition, talent and skill. Maybe we don’t want a door with an office (although I do!) but we want to be trusted and respected, and allowed to grow in a career that may or may not involve typing someone else’s words.
Some of us (like me) are fortunate enough to work for people who recognize the value we add every single day. Others are stuck in companies where management and human resources belittle our skills.
We like helping others to be successful, but we’d like the chance to succeed ourselves. Give us a challenge, we’ll take it and the results will surprise you.