Today is Administrative Professionals Day. Even after all these years, not to mention a significant name change from “Secretary’s Day,” this particular day still feels like MINE.
I began my secretarial career at the age of 15 when my English teacher chose me as her office assistant. Soon, the entire English Department was remarking favorably about my secretarial skills, and I landed my first part-time typing job the summer I turned 16. My skills increased and my career continued into corporate positions with up to 11 bosses simultaneously. At 29, with the help of an SBA loan, I opened my own Secretarial Services company, Happy Fingers. In 1984, mine was the first of its kind in Charleston to offer “computerized typing” aka word processing. Happy Fingers has continued for 29 years, and I still love it.
I acknowledge there’s a huge difference between being someone’s secretary and owning a secretarial service company. It became crystal clear my first year in business as I observed a huge increase in the level of respect I received from my clients versus what I had received from my bosses. I was still the same person, doing basically the same things, but I was no longer a mere secretary; I had become a business owner. It was a paradigm shift that changed forever the way I saw myself.
Over the decades I have grown in both ability and confidence. I expanded into bookkeeping and payroll and received certification as a Professional Résumé Writer. Assisting people with their job searches is actually what led me to become certified as a Life Coach, and that’s why I started writing a blog. My English teacher would be proud!
In 2013, I am not only grateful for my skills but for my 1984 self who was willing to take a big risk. My husband treated me to lunch yesterday, a tradition that started when I was his secretary in the late ‘70s. We reminisced about those early days, talked about the many technological changes, and celebrated the myriad of good choices that led us to an outdoor lunch in a beautiful setting.
This is my day to LOVE the Secretary part of me: the organizer, the detail person, the one who can do four things at once and do them all with amazing efficiency. Happy Secretary’s Day!