Thursday, April 28, 2011

Don't you talk to me about work...

“…How many dollars, how many sales, how many liars, how many tales, how many insults must you take in this one life? I'm in prison most of the day. So please excuse me, if I get this way. But I have got obligations to keep. So be very careful when you speak. Don't talk to me about work. Please don't talk to me about work. I'm up to my eyeballs in dirt, with work, with work. Please don't talk to me about work. Don't you talk to me about work. I'm up to my eyeballs in dirt. With work, with work.” –Lou Reed (Don’t Talk To Me About Work)

Today is “Professional Administrative Professional’s Day. And I am an Administrative “professional”. Also known as a Professional Lackey. I had the best conversation with a coworker of mine today. Let’s call her…The Italian Spitfire. (She is really one of my favs) We instant message all day long. It’s amazing that we get any work done. I heart her. It started like this:

The Italian Spitfire (TIS): Happy Admin Professionals Day. (Smiley face not smiling but looking stern)
April: Oh geez. Well back at you.
TIS: Blah. Thanks.
A: Oh TIS. Really? This is US? This is what we do?
TIS: I don’t think it gets more boring than that.

And she starts with an imagined conversation. (We do a lot of that. It amuses us.)

Imagined person #1: Hi, what do you do?
Imagined person #2: I’m an administrative professional.
IP#1: Oh, what does that mean?
IP#2: It means I am a Lackey.
April: Ha! Professional lackey-ism
TIS: We are professional in what we lack, and we lack the following:
1. Good pay;
2. Good vacation;
3. Mental stimulus;
4. Proper recognition for basically wiping peoples asses for them.

She goes on, while lamenting our sad situation, to tell me about some people her husband has recently met. Actors, music teachers, store owners, writers. Nary an administrative professional in the bunch. I know very few people who started out as AA’s who really wanted to be an AA. Administrative work is the classic default job. Can’t find a job in the field that you want? Take an admin job. Every higher up needs someone to do their bidding for them. Long ago women had few choices. Teacher. Secretary. Nun. Wife/Mother. That’s it. However, those days are gone. Women have their choice of careers. We may still get 70 cents on the dollar for the privilege of doing the same job that a man does, but we can be whatever we want.

Random tid bit: The only industries where women make more money than men, is in Porn and Modeling. Yes it’s true. And both industries are run mostly, by men. So the lesson is that as a woman you are rewarded for being objectified. By men. Nice.

This is not a complaint about the people I work for. I’m actually extremely lucky to have decent bosses. And let me tell you now that I know it. I support two people; Charlie, a kind hearted curmudgeon, for whom technology is his nemesis (I have to talk him through printing documents. No. I’m not kidding). We are about to switch email platforms and I am scared about what this means for the quality of my life at the work place. My other boss is Laureen, an also kind hearted, yet neurotic woman with a flair for fashion and unfortunately a problem with flatulence. While they both can drive me crazy, neither one is mean spirited or nasty, and for that I am grateful. I’ve been in exactly the opposite situation and that is a breakdown waiting to happen. So Charlie, The Technophobe and Laureen, The Flatulent are not the problem. I am the problem.

It has nothing to do with the people that I work for, but more so WHAT, I do for living. There is NO fulfillment in it for me. None. Nada. Rien. I know that if I don’t like it I should change it. And I am doing my best.

But today on this, Administrative Professionals day, it is just a reminder of what I hate about my day to day. While I am certain that the change is coming, I wish it would just hurry up already.


  1. While my job description is not an admin, somehow I'm everyone's b*tch around here. It's because I'm good with Word and Excel, and my coworkers are too lazy to teach themselves. They want me to do it for them. When I was first hired, I really wanted to come across as a team player and all that. Now I'm stuck b/c the precedent has been set.

    So I don't even get a holiday, yet I get to do everyone's menial work just because they "can't figure out how" to do it.

  2. Poor Q! That's the problem isn't it? You want to be helpful, yet not be a patsy!