I found a certain amount of irony this week when we celebrated both Administrative Professionals’ Day and Earth Day on consecutive days. I know what you are thinking – that I’m going to say that I think both of these are “Hallmark holidays” created by greeting card companies to encourage sales. If that’s what you thought, you really are a cynic. That’s not it, but I do think that these days are just reminding us of what we should be doing year-round. In fact, I think it’s a little sad that we need a day to remember how important the people who help us through our work days are and the amazingly complicated planet we live on it. Maybe because they are so familiar, we just take them for granted.
For those of you who are interested, here’s a little history. Although when you search “administrative professionals day” on the internet, the first result is for a florist, it was in fact created to encourage more people to consider becoming secretaries. In 1952, a publicist for the International Association of Administrative Professionals came up with the idea of “secretaries day” to draw attention to the enormous potential offered by an adminstrative career. Today, the IAAP stresses that it is the sole sponsor of the day, which it believes serves to highlight the “increasing value and contributions of administrative professionals in today’s workplace.”
Earth Day, on the other hand, was the idea of a politician, Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin. According to his telling, Nelson first thought of bringing environmental conservation to the political fore in 1962 and he soon asked then-President Kennedy to conduct a national conservation tour. Kennedy led the tour through 11 states in 5 days, but it did little to catalyze public or political concern for the environment. Nelson had to wait 8 years until the spring of 1970 to celebrate the first Earth Day, which was an overwhelming success with 20 million people participating in local activities focused on the environment. Who can imagine how many school children, corporate workers and families are participating in today’s fortieth anniversary activities around the globe?
So you see, there’s a huge appetite among us to pause to think about what we enjoy every day, whether it’s the blessings of a beautiful spring day after a long cold winter or the fact that you got your project done and out by the deadline because of the help of an administrative assistant. It’s just that we forget sometimes in the bustle of the day to give thanks for the good things we have. This week, while I’m recognizing the contributions of the assistants in our office and the many wonders of nature, I also want to thank the IAAP and Senator Nelson for reminding us to appreciate what we’ve got – while we’ve still got them.