There is one person that is very special in your life. She brings you coffee every morning, reminds you of your appointments, and without her you would be lost.

I am not talking about your wife, or your girlfriend, I'm talking about your executive assistant-your right hand. She is the one person that makes your office run smoothly every day.

Her special day is coming next week. Administrative Professionals Day. "Ambassadors of Excellence" is the theme for this year's observance of Administrative Professionals Week, April 18-24, with Administrative Professionals Day on Wednesday, April 21.

Administrative Professionals Week calls attention to the important workplace role of assistants and secretaries. This event was originally organized in 1952 as National Secretaries Week by the National Secretaries Association (now known as the International Association of Administrative Professionals) in conjunction with public relations executive Harry Klemfuss

This is the week that you can show your appreciation to your secretary, executive secretary, or administrative assistant. Whatever title she may have, it is her week. Executives all over the country will be making plans for special events, such as lunch with the boss, flowers, and perhaps a small token of appreciation.

There are more than 4.1 million administrative assistants throughout the United States, according to U.S. Department of Labor statistics and 8.9 million people working in various administrative support roles. The median annual earnings of U.S. administrative assistants and executive secretaries were $33,410 in 2002 and rising.

They handle daily responsibilities such as: project management, preparation of correspondence, documents and report, meeting planning and scheduling, Internet research and purchasing, customer service and interpersonal communications, plus, financial reports and bookkeeping, desktop publishing and Web site maintenance, preparing presentations, and computer troubleshooting. They keep the office running smoothly and make the boss look good.

The greeting card industry got on board with a variety of greeting cards to say how much the administrative assistant means.

The colorful cover of one card had these words next to the picture: Wanted: Administrative professional with great computer skills who can put up with eccentric co-workers, empathize, counsel, keep schedules, maintain a sense of humor, create order amid chaos, and work other miracles as needed.

Inside it said: Couldn't have asked for anyone more wonderful than you!

Any professional assistant would be pleased to receive such a card. I read so many cards from humorous to sentimental, all of which hit the spot.

I worked with a highly professional assistant when I was at Inland Empire Bank, Lori Bledsoe. She and I worked as a team to get things accomplished. We worked so well together that we could actually finish each others sentences and pick up a job where the other left off without missing a step.

She was a beautiful young woman with an unforgettable, million dollar smile, and I miss her very much. She moved to Boise, Idaho, right before I retired, and took a job in the financial investments. I still keep her picture on my home office desk. I may have the opportunity to visit with her this summer when I drive to Boise on my way to Salt Lake City.

Betty Kuhn, of Boardman, can be contacted at bkuhn_1@ or the East Oregonian, P.O. Box 1089, Pendleton, OR 97801.

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