Wednesday, April 25, 2007

It’s National 'You Get Paid For Covering Up For An Idiot Day’

Well, that’s not the ‘official’ name for it. For you fans of The Office, I wished all of the various Administrative Professionals in our building a Happy Pam Beasley Day, but it didn’t really get the reception I was hoping for. The official name for today is Administrative Professionals Day, I think. My Administrative Professional usually helps me with stuff like that. She spends a lot of time covering up after me, so to speak. It’s not that I don’t do my job well; it’s just that I tend to do my job quickly with an emphasis on ‘volume of productivity with the utmost expediency without regard to actual competency,’ which by the way is the name of the self-help book I’ve been writing.

Seriously, our Administrative Professional is just that. No not administrative, she’s professional, very professional, in fact, unnervingly professional, it could border on non-human like professionalism. She is by far the most professional individual in our office or that I may have ever had the honor of working with. Not to take anything away from her but perhaps part of that is due to the fact that I worked for myself for 5 years and could not begin to even come close to characterizing that ‘era’ of my life as professional. Unless you consider naps, trips to McDonalds and Barney Miller reruns professional. How our AP is able to put her head down and work through everything we do (or don’t do) in any given day is beyond me. Truth be told, she keeps this place running smoothly practically single handedly.

When she’s not correcting our work, she’s busy reminding us that we are in an office environment where our clients can often hear us, especially when we are talking about them. I think one of her most challenging days to date was when all the men in the office ended up talking and laughing as men tend to do in the hallway outside of all our cubicles. Our topic of conversation? Why women of course, but not just any women, we were discussing as a forum (and then arguing over) our favorite leading women from 60s, 70s and 80s television. For the record, I still think Mary Tyler Moore in her Dick Van Dyke Show days was much hotter than Marcia Brady ever was. Our Administrative Professional let us have this heated discussion for about an hour and then she ever so politely came back and reminded us of where we were and what we should be doing. None of us complained, none of us got angry at her, we all just looked at each other, shrugged our shoulders and scurried back into our little work boxes.

Then there was the day we all decided that it was appropriate to yell out all of the song titles we could think of that contained the word ‘night’ in them. I have no idea how she got through that afternoon. This went on for at least three hours and we got very competitive. Completely undeterred, our AP managed to continue answering the phones and transferring all of the callers waiting for us into voice mail. Looking back, I still think it’s a miracle that she has never been injured during our rubberband-paperclip-slingshot games. When those start up, no one above the height of a cubicle wall is safe. You have to give us credit though; none of us has ever tried to use her as an administrative shield. That’s not to say that we haven’t thought about it, but it’s all about the baby steps.

Our Administrative Professional even takes the time in the morning to make coffee for the office, though she doesn’t always partake. To illustrate her level of professionalism, this would be the perfect time to exact her revenge and slip something into the coffee, but she never has. Although, a few people are out sick today…

Regardless of the fact that it isn’t in her job description, she makes it a habit to check our work for errors. Unfortunately, this seems to take up a majority of her day. Well, looking for the errors does not, but having to walk to each of us individually to advise us of our errors does. I am a little concerned that it seems like she spends a disproportionate amount of time going over my errors with me. Unfortunately, my coworkers have noticed this too. I just calmly explain that it is due to the fact that I work faster and therefore get more actual work completed than they do; thereby increasing the chances of me having more errors. Sadly, that is a chance that I apparently never fail to take advantage of.

Being the thoughtful group that we are, our boss presented our Administrative Professional with a nice potted plant and a card this morning. It was only when she opened it that half of us realized we forgot to sign it. To make up for this, I risked the wrath of HR and gave our Admin Professional a big thank you hug and explained from the bottom of my heart how grateful I have been to work with her for the last three years. She thanked me and then walked out of my office mumbling something that I couldn’t quite make out…

18 comments:

~*SilverNeurotic*~ said...

I do not possess even an ounce of patience that woman does. LOL! I would have probably had a nervous breakdown within six months...*twich*

I like your title though. It's something I'm VERY familiar with.

Odat said...

What a nice tribute....or was it??
lol...sounds like you have lots of fun in your office...and she must also possess a sense of humor to put up with it...unless she's just writing it all down for the law suit that's coming.... ;d

Peace

Michael C said...

Silver: She is VERY patient!

Odat: In my bad, half-assed way, it was most definitely a compliment ;-)
The law suit thing did cross my mind, but she is a real angel!

Lee said...

I thought this was very nice! Did you show it to her?

Michael C said...

Lee: Thanks. I thought about showing it to her but decided against it. I think she would have appreciated it though. If she didn't on the other hand, my job would get much, much harder!! ;-)

Patti said...

You have to show it to her. I bet she would appreciate it.

Her correcting papers sounds quite schoolteacher-like. Was she in education before joining the company you work for?

I can relate to working from home, since this week I started doing that, again.
I actually was considering a trip to one of our 9 local McDonald's to get that healthy fruit and walnut thing they have. Never tried one.
And the naps...they too have crossed my mind.

Michael C said...

Patti: She has worked for our company for a long time. I didn't realize that McDonalds made healthy food. I still like my occasional Big Mac. I figure that it fits neatly in my hand and provides me with enough calories for two entire days should I ever find myself lost off the highway and the CHP can't find me.

Terri said...

Definitely share with her; at least the very complimentary parts. I was an AP for 15 years and if I ever read something this nice about myself I'd have a smile as long and wide as the Mississippi for weeks! :o)

Terri said...

and what in the world are you doing up at 3:38 am?? I assume that's CA time right? Yikes!

jbwritergirl said...

Office politics have always facinated me. I once got caught grabbing a guys ass as we all left the conference room after a lecture on sexual harrassment.

My boss (at the newspaper) derives so much pleasure at pointing out mistakes she barely has time to do her job...oh...sorry that is her job. LOL

Reflecting Pool said...

How considerate of you to ensure she always has a job by giving her so much of your volume and productivity. The hug was just icing for her I'm sure. She sounds like a very big assest.

Michael C said...

Terri: I guess I probably should and about the 3:30 thing...let's just say at my house, the sandman never rings twice.

jbwritergirl: welcome back. Next time we have another sexual harassment course, I will have to butt-grab. That's brilliant!

reflecting pool: her job would sure be boring without us, that's for sure.

mist1 said...

My imaginary admin and I shut down our computers early and because money is no object, I took her to Applebee's where we split an appetizer. I wish that I could have expensed the bar tab to show her my appreciation, but that's not in the budget this fiscal year.

Natalie said...

My AP who I shared with this other guy and never used got fired last week. I could use one like yours.

Erica AP said...

She sounds like a splendid individual. I got a card and a 1/2 personal day that I can request off. Not bad considering I don't really have to correct anyones errors.

CS said...

I'm my own office manager, which means i have to cover up for myself. But your excuse about working fatser increasing your error rate reminds me of a guy who used to leave parties at my parents' house, which involved going through a pasture and a wooded area, by driving as fast as possible - he said it decreased his risk of hitting a tree because he spent less time driving. It wasn't you, was it?

Abigail S said...

Three cheers for all the Pam Beasley's in the world!

Your AP sounds incredible! Patient, too!

Violet said...

There just isn't enough pay in the world for a service so valuable as that of covering up idiots in the workplace.