an “administrative professionals day” story, starring jimmy stewart

Soundtrack in my Head: Chemical Brothers, “Let Me In”
Call Centre Help Desk Communication adminstrative professionals day
TheDigitalArtist / Pixabay

Today is Administrative Professionals Day, a day in which secretaries, clerical workers and other office support staff are recognized and given special appreciation. The very title of this day makes it sound about as exciting as fanfold computer paper or office ceiling tile. But believe it or not, I have an Administrative Professionals’ Day story that is as heartwarming as any Christmas story or Jimmy Stewart movie.

I spent almost all of 2003 either unemployed or surviving on temp jobs, and that month of April in 2003 was probably the worst month of all of them. Earlier that month, I’d been turned down for a job I’d had my heart set on, and I was beginning to really feel frustrated with my job search. I was working between eight and twelve hours a day at two different phone banks. One of them had me calling New England all day trying to persuade busy, irritable businessmen to take a phone survey. (I really had my Boston accent down pat—one of my questions had me asking if something was “very impoahtent, somewhat impoahtent, not very impoahtent or not at all impoahtent”) That job was about to end and I did not know what would come next. And the other job had me being an annoying phone solicitor for non-profits, the type of person I even hang up on.  That organization was about to shut its doors—I had to make sure I deposited each paycheck quickly to make sure it didn’t bounce. My faith in God was being tested like it had never been tested before.

Then, one Monday in late April, as if things couldn’t get worse, I got into a car accident. A woman driving the other direction on Fish Hatchery Road didn’t look hard enough before making a left turn and cut right in front of me. I hit the brake, but couldn’t stop in time, and ended up smashing into her right rear side. Both of us were unhurt, but the front end of my little Geo Metro was smashed up good. However, I was able to drive the car to the repair place with little difficulty, so I thought that maybe the car would be salvageable.

But I found out during lunchtime two days later that my car had been declared totaled. The settlement I would get would pay off the rest of my car payments, but little more than that, and nowhere close to enough money for a new car. My insurance allowed me to have a rental car for one week. I was staring at a blank slate for the following week, unsure if I would work or where, or how I would be able to get a car to get me to work.

All these thoughts were going through my head as I staffed the phones for the afternoon. Then, at the end of one of the phone calls, my supervisor told me that I had a visitor in the reception area.

Arrangement Attractive Beautiful
rawpixel / Pixabay

I walked up front to find an attractive woman with blonde hair waiting for me and holding a yellow rose. She seemed to have a lot of warmth in her heart as she smiled and gave the rose to me.

No, I wasn’t dating anyone. Nor was it the woman who had caused the car accident. It was one of the staff members I knew from Manpower Temporaries, the agency that had placed me with this temp job. I didn’t realize it, but it was Administrative Professionals Day, and they wanted to express their appreciation for all of their administrative temps.

It’s funny—I hadn’t thought of myself as an “administrative professional” up until that point. Actually, I had been a director of a small not-for-profit up until three months before. Nevertheless, the gesture made my day.

In my faith, I believe there are no coincidences and that God has a hand in all arrangements. It actually felt like this flower came directly from God, to offer me condolences and encouragement.

A couple of weeks later, I would find myself in another temp job. My parents would give me my grandmother’s 1985 Plymouth Caravelle, a big church lady/pimpmobile car that would meet my transportation needs for another two years.

Most “administrative professionals” aren’t exactly well-to-do people. Many struggle financially, sometimes as a single parent, sometimes balancing more than one job. So, all you supervisors out there, if you haven’t offered some kind of token of appreciation for your administrative professionals today, I think you need to get on your knees tomorrow and humbly apologize. Don’t do it unless you mean it. But then, why wouldn’t you mean it?…

* * *

The House Energy and Commerce Committee voted down the Markey Amendment that would have preserved Net Neutrality, but the 34-22 margin was a closer vote than expected. Our Rep. Tammy Baldwin voted in favor of the Markey Amendment—thanks Tammy! I think the special interests wanted to sneak this one through, and it’s now clear that this action is seeing the light of day. Keep clicking the orange box in the navigation bar of this website for updates—the fight is not over, and we have some momentum in our favor!

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