update: my office includes me in Administrative Professionals Day just because I’m a woman

Remember the letter-writer who isn’t an admin but kept getting included in Administrative Professionals Day just because she’s a woman? (#2 at the link) Here’s the update.

I’m the letter writer from last year who was not an admin, yet kept getting included in Admin Professionals Day simply because I’m a woman. I thought you might enjoy a two-part update:

2020
I knew they were going to include me in Admin Day last year because I’d been asked to help choose a gift for attendees. At the time, I asked the HR manager not to invite me to the luncheon because I was not an administrative professional. She told me, “But you’re administrative support.” I disagreed.

Her: “Everyone who works in the office is administrative support for the teams in the field.”
Me: “That doesn’t make any sense. Does that include you? Does that include the executives? The company owners?”
Her: “Yes, an argument could be made for that.”

So Admin Professionals Day came and I received a congratulatory email and an e-gift card. Immediately I called my boss and asked, “Am I an admin?” He said definitely not. He explained that I was on the list the HR manager brought to company executives to be “scrubbed.” They scrubbed the list three times to make sure no one was forgotten. Each time, he pushed back and said “Should OP really be included on this list?” And each time, the HR manager (who already knew I didn’t want to be included) affirmed that I should be. The reason: “She’s always been on the list in the past.”

My boss apologized to me, encouraged me to make use of the gift card anyway, and promised I would never be included on the list again.

2021
This year, the same HR manager called me to tell me that Admin Professionals Day is coming up and to ask if I wanted to be included in this year’s festivities. Whaat???

I told her absolutely not. I told her that I’d already told my boss not to include me. Her response: “He did mention that, but I wanted to check with you anyway because the parameters have changed.”

Me: “What are the new parameters?”
Her: “Anyone who’s hourly and has no direct reports.”

They’re not even trying to honor Administrative Professionals! It’s ridiculous. I told her not to include me again, ever. Hopefully I won’t have to send you an update in 2022.

{ 296 comments… read them below }

  1. SpiderLadyCEO*

    I just want to know what is going on with OP’s HR. This is so bafflingly weird? Even if OP were an admin, after being sked to be removed from the list she should have been!

    1. Sled dog mama*

      Why are we as a culture so obsessed with celebrating people that we can’t take someone’s word for it?
      We’ve seen plenty of examples here of forced birthday, leaving, retirement, recognition and holiday celebrations that it’s kind of amazing.

      1. ThatOnePlease*

        YES. It’s very weird. Do people just love office parties that much? Or do they think the person who declines is dissembling and they’re doing them a favor by insisting on a celebration?

        1. EPLawyer*

          Partly the last. We are taught that if someone says “no don’t make a big deal” they really mean MAKE A BIG deal.

          And someone people get so stuck on the idea they get tunnel vision. They literally can’t see the red flags being waved at them that the party is NOT WELCOME.

          1. LunaLena*

            This. And, when in doubt, people tend to err on the side of “have a party anyways” in case the recipient really did mean MAKE A BIG DEAL and gets upset when no one does.

            Throw in our weird culture of “it has to be a SURPRISE” and “but it’s what we ALWAYS do,” and you exponentially increase the number of unwanted celebrations. I simply “forget” to tell people when my birthday and other significant dates are now just because I’ve had “are you sure? Are you SURE??? We got you a cake anyways just in case!” happen to me more than once.

            1. Batty Twerp*

              I have a coworker in another department who adamantly sticks to “only me and HR knows my birth date”. Since he actually misses out on a company benefit (extra time off on the closest working day to your birthday) by keeping it a secret from his boss, his boss arbitrarily assigned him a birthday so he didn’t miss out on the half-day’s leave – turns out this was with my coworker’s full and happy compliance, since his “birthday” now falls at the end of his team’s busy period (his team being just him and his boss). He’s now been 45 for the last six years too.

          2. Rebecca Stewart*

            There’s some subcultures where you MUST refuse the first time or you’re greedy.
            “There’s plenty of food, sit down and eat with us!”
            “Oh, no, don’t put yourself to any trouble…”
            “It’s no trouble, I have plenty, please, eat!”
            “Well, all right… It DOES look good.”

            If the person had said, “Oh, thank you, I’d love to!” right off, they would have fed her but there would have been grumbles later on of how greedy and impolite she was.

            Which, to each their own, but when it runs up against other subcultures where people’s yes means yes and no means no, it causes problems.

            I guarantee the person who keeps pushing parties has dealt with people who said “Oh, I don’t want you to go to any trouble,” because that way they show restraint and good breeding, and then got nothing because they were taken at their word, and complained and carped about it. (sigh)

            1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

              It’s like that in my partner’s home country, you have to refuse everything at least three times before you can accept. It’s to give the host a chance to change their mind after saying something impulsively.
              But please, it’s their culture, it is NOT a sub-culture.

            2. Queer Earthling*

              A subculture example: I’m a Minnesotan living with a Californian in the south. Turns out that if they offer cake, and I would like some cake, I should just say “Yes please” the first time. In Minnesota (especially rural Minnesota) you say “oh no I’m fine” a few times and then only agree “as long as it’s no trouble.”

              1. Cake, yes please*

                Ruh-roh. I’m a Coloradan who has been living in Minnesota for 15 years. I also come from a family of extremely direct communicators. I spent my first 10 years here utterly oblivious to these communication norms. Now I understand how vastly different my communication style is from the norms here, but I still don’t really get what the rules are exactly (because of course no one will TELL you when you mess up). I’m sure I have said an immediate yes to literally everything offered to me that I wanted since I moved here. I wonder how many people I’ve offended…

                1. Queer Earthling*

                  You’re probably fine. Minnesotans know we’re ridiculous and I think a lot of us don’t even realize we do the thing! (If you wish to be mildly amused and get slightly further insight, though, google “How To Talk Minnesotan.”)

            3. Sweet Christmas*

              I’ve lived in a couple different regions in the U.S. and I have trouble keeping this social norm straight – especially since two of the regions I’ve lived in have completely opposite norms. It always takes me a few hours or days to adjust when I travel back to see friends and family.

        2. Ace in the Hole*

          Yes. That’s exactly what they think. Some people are socialized to turn down things even when they want them, because accepting would be seen as impolite/arrogant/imposing/etc. In fact there can be a lot of tension when people have different cultural norms about the polite way to respond to invitations, gifts, and other offers.

          There are also people who just want a party and don’t really care if the guest of honor wants it. Or who are putting on a celebration for performative reasons and the reaction of the audience is more important than the person it’s supposedly celebrating. But I think those are less common reasons especially with otherwise kind people.

        3. Plebian Trash*

          We come up with a reason to have a mini party in my office every week. Really it’s just an excuse to get ice cream….

          But agreed. The pushback from HR is bizarre.

          1. Lily of the meadow*

            One needs no other excuse than one is breathing to get ice cream. No party is necessary.

        4. Richard Hershberger*

          My family celebrates kids’ birthdays only. My wife’s family makes a big deal out of birthdays, regardless of age. It took me years to convince that I really, truly prefer not to do anything for my birthday.

          1. Frieda*

            My workplace only celebrates some people’s birthdays. I’m not on the list. It doesn’t actually bother me, since I’m not 12, but I did feel warm toward the colleague who messaged me to say “I know it’s your birthday but am assuming that you do not want that to be public knowledge so I did not say anything during the meeting.” It made me feel like one of the cool, birthday-eschewing kids.

            1. Violet*

              My department celebrates birthdays with just a sheetcake and a cutesy “Happy Birthday, SoAndSo!” email to the person with the team cc’d (mostly so we know whose cube to stop by for the cake).

              Except, after being here for a little over a year, I’ve come to realize that we celebrate only the birthdays of the people whom our admin likes. She’s not particularly fond of me and one of our managers because we’re not “girly” enough for her (we don’t go on and on about makeup, children, recipes, and office/celebrity gossip). So I wasn’t surprised when our birthdays came and went without so much as a peep. And we have a team meeting on the 2nd business day of each month. The final slide is a list of birthdays, with the current month highlighted, so it’s not like she didn’t know when our ours are.

              I’m cool with not having my birthday celebrated but I do love cake. I may bring one in the day after my birthday this year. And not to be petty but just because then I can eat cake in the office. :-)

              1. Artemesia*

                I worked in a place like that and it eventually imploded when people said when Mike’s cake was presented, hey it is Artemesia’s birthday this week too. And when Bill’s was, someone said ‘hey it is Jane’s birthday this week too’ (see a pattern here)

                1. TeaCoziesRUs*

                  I like the way the Air Force units I’ve been in handle it… smaller crews or flights might take someone out to lunch on their birthday if it’s not busy and they want to. Otherwise, all birthdays, awards, etc. are celebrated once a month at the commander’s call, where you also congratulate the monthly or quarterly award winners and anyone who’s received a cool medal lately (not just the ones handed out like candy).

          2. goducks*

            After two decades of marriage, I still can’t convince my spouse that I truly don’t want to celebrate my birthday. They actually told me, “celebrating your birthday isn’t about you, it’s about the rest of us celebrating you”. Uh, ok.

            1. Richard Hershberger*

              We pretty much negotiated it down to the bare minimum that will satisfy her need to do something. In practice this means dinner out (or ordering out, nowadays) and her ordering the MLB TV package for the year, rather than me doing it.

          3. TeapotNinja*

            This has been my life for about two decades now. I can not convince my wife and her family that I truly don’t want birthday celebrations. I have so little free time these days I much more prefer to celebrate by doing absolutely nothing. I’ve been asking “peace and quiet” as my birthday gift for many, many years now. Never works. Instead there’s always a multi-hour lunch/dinner and cake eating thing that leaves me bloated, tired and not enough time to enjoy my day off. Maybe I’ll elope next year.

        5. Stillgobsmackedoverit*

          The latter. And WOW, do people get bent when you don’t want this “favor”.

          I actually got written up — I kid you not — for declining a birthday party on my behalf. A birthday party that occurred during my day off. “This is going in your personnel file as a PERMANENT black mark on your record.”

          I refused to sign off on the write up. My boss did not talk to me for three weeks over a freaking birthday party.

            1. Feral Campsite Raccoon*

              For the boss, I mean, not you. Your behavior made complete sense.

            2. Stillgobsmackedoverit*

              Yes, that hill of hers became quite the obstacle for her because it led me to looking for a new job.

              What made it especially ridiculous:
              1. The “party” consisted of a store-bought cake that she just buys from the freezer section and doesn’t even have your name put on it. Also, no candles. The only drinks are water from the cooler.
              2. It was not only my day off, it was the day off for 90% of the people — so that meant 90% of the people would have to come in on their day off (or get written up). But it is a day SHE works, so that’s all that matters.
              3. I declined largely because of #2, but also because I have a medical condition making weight gain very easy (so no cake for me for 10 years). It really sucks to have a party on your behalf and not be able to eat the only food being served. She knows about this condition and that I do not eat sweets unless they are supercalifragilistic.
              4. Plus she herself doesn’t eat cake because she is obsessive about not eating sweets.

              1. Paulina*

                I’ve run into people like that in other settings — they make absolutely minimal effort yet want people to act like they’re doing a lot more, usually by those people making the rest of the effort themselves.

          1. Coder von Frankenstein*

            That is beyond insane. I sure hope you’ve been able to move on from that job, or at least that boss.

          2. goducks*

            That’s one of the craziest reasons for a write up I’ve ever heard! What the heck!

          3. allathian*

            That’s odd, to say the least. Did your boss exhibit other weird behavior or was this their particular hangup?

            1. Stillgobsmackedoverit*

              This birthday fetish was by far the weirdest. But she was replete with quirks — so many quirks — she insisted were common/the norm even when evidence to the contrary was obvious. It almost felt like you were dealing with a 12 year old girl who had been spoiled by her parents and allowed to feel as though every desire — however minute or deleterious to others — she had was a demand to impose on others.

          4. Zelda*

            What would they do with someone whose religion forbids the observance of personal birthdays?!?

      2. dogmom*

        Except for the LW who was weirdly combative about the employee with the Leap Day birthday not being celebrated!

          1. Working Hypothesis*

            I think that one falls under the header of “We WILL play By The Rules, and it doesn’t matter a damn whether any of it makes sense or not.” There’s a lot of companies like this in general, but very few are quite as absurdly strict as that one.

        1. Jack Straw*

          I’m somehow I missed the Leap Day Birthday letters. Oof. That was a creepy reading journey. Lance is right, the update made it even worse.

          1. dogmom*

            Um, hey, Jack Straw. Got any insider information into what’s going to happen in the elections today? And have you talked to Tony lately and told him that mullet isn’t a good look? ;)

      3. Absurda*

        I think situations like this are more about the person doing the planning (they enjoy planning stuff, it makes them feel important/influential, etc) than it is about the person/people being “honored”.

        Personally, I HATE planning stuff like this but, as a woman, have more than once been asked to do it earlier in my career (why is it never a man?).

      4. Cedarthea*

        I work in child care and we are a charity founded in the 198s and for some reason our founding ED was obsessed with corporate culture and for different anniversaries you get a ring. Like a gold band with sapphires at 5 years and then at 10 years one diamond and the remainder sapphires. So not cheap.

        For male staff members (of which there are very few less than 1% of the org) they also get rings but a more “masculine” style.

        I am not a fancy jewelry wearer and especially my rings because I work on our farm (I am a camp director/outdoor educator) and I hate it. It’s so funny, its all about the organization wants to give and not what individuals want to receive. I can’t wear it in my daily life so it sits in my jewelry box when my program could have used that funding to pay my staff more, or give me more time off (something that would do more for me rather than a ring).

        It makes it all about the organization showing off, and not about the people who are working their asses off.

        1. Richard Hershberger*

          On the plus side, any number of pawn shops would be happy to buy those rings off you for the gold value. Probably not the stones, unless they are impressive indeed. Small diamonds in particular are essentially worthless in the secondary market.

          1. Cedarthea*

            Once I leave the org for sure, but my boss expects to see it on people at any special event and I’m a terrible liar. Also, everyone knows I didn’t want it so if I don’t have it they will know what I did. The stones aren’t impressive until you get to 25 or 30 years.

            But it’s all so performative that’s what makes me bonkers. But I am one of those ungrateful millenials, who still doesn’t have a house but now has a 10th anniversary wedding band ring.

            1. Alice Ulf*

              Wow, that just brings a whole new creepy factor to the phrase “married to your job,” doesn’t it? o-O

              1. Cedarthea*

                Well because I live on company property because I run an overnight summer camp there is already so much emotional entanglement it is tough.

                But its an organization that 99% women in a caring profession, there are all sorts of messy emotions that go on and some seriously strange dynamics that go down.

        2. Elizabeth the Ginger*

          Is it branded or engraved or anything? If it’s something you could sell, and you will never wear it, you should feel zero qualms if you want to turn it into cash that you can use to buy something you actually would enjoy.

          1. Cedarthea*

            Nope, nothing identifiable, but as I mentioned to the above poster, my boss expects to see them on people at special events, so no selling till I leave the org.

            But I am keeping it in decent shape by not wearing it so it will have some sort of resale value, but I still want to hulk smash the whole system.

            1. Richard Hershberger*

              You could run this by a jeweler, but I strongly suspect that its resale value is as gold sent to the smelter, not as an item of jewelry that someone else might want to buy. When the time comes, you could wrap it up in a cloth and take a hammer to it.

            2. Seeking Second Childhood*

              There’s ways to wear them that don’t make you have the dreaded thing on your hand–it doesn’t help that you think the expense was a waste, but at least it could make the big party less aggravating.
              I sometimes thread my engagement ring and wedding ring through tiny hoop earrings and wear them that way. Sometimes they go on a chain. Just a thought.

              1. KoiFeeder*

                Yeah, I wear a ring on a chain because the only finger it fits anymore is my ring finger.

                (It’s a very nice ring, and I want to wear it but don’t want to deal with people being weird about it)

              2. Freya*

                My husband wears his ring on a chain. Wearing rings on his fingers is a safety hazard at his work, and he feels weird wearing it in places that change, so I bought him a chain to go with his wedding ring, and he always wears it there.

                1. allathian*

                  My friend’s husband wears his wedding band like that as well, it’s a plain gold band. He’s a funny guy and can take a joke, once when we hosted a party my husband asked him “But didn’t you throw that into Mount Doom already?” and he laughed himself silly because he’s a huge LotR fan.

                  I do think that giving rings as gifts for long-term service and actually expecting people to wear them afterwards is a bit odd.

        3. Kimber*

          The previous owner of my father’s company loved fancy watches so he would buy people fancy watches for their big work anniversaries. After several several hundred dollar watches, my father managed to convince him to give a different gift than the watch, even if it wasn’t a 1:1 value, just because he didn’t want another watch so much.

          They gave him $3500 to spend on a vacation and it was implied that this was a “bad” value vs the watch because it was not the full value.

          It was BONKERS to realize they had been giving $4-5,000 watches to people who didn’t care about watches instead of cash which everyone actually appreciates!

          1. Richard Hershberger*

            Classic failure to understand that not everyone shares your hobby interests. This is a more benign version of those “teambuilding” retreats that just happen to turn out to be match the owner’s hobby.

          2. Cedarthea*

            My mother always told me that sometime is only worth it if someone is willing to pay that amount for it. The lesson was about the “value” of a Beanie Baby (I did have the special santa teddy bear one but nothing of “value”.

            I would so much rather have a $3,500 vacation than a $5,000 watch. Or a new bathtub, or a new serger and money to spare. I am so terrible with smashing stuff, I am terrified wearing my apple watch most of the time, never mind a 5,000 watch.

            I hope your dad enjoyed the vacation.

              1. Cedarthea*

                I want a coversticher, my serger is an entry level one and is a workhorse but I want one that does fancier things now that I sew more than half my clothing.

                1. Media Monkey*

                  me too. sewing gym gear really makes me want a coverstitch. wouldn’t be without my serger (overlocker to me, potayto potato)

            1. New Jack Karyn*

              I sometimes argue the difference between ‘value’ and ‘cost’ but usually only when I’m being a pedantic ass.

              1. Cedarthea*

                Ooooh that’s great, I will remember that. Because they are two different things.

        4. Sleeping Late Every Day*

          So glad my not-for-profit was cheap! We got windbreaker jackets for our 5th year (I still wear mine more than 20 years later!), and they used to give ho-hum gifts for 10-15-20, but switched to gift cards before I got to my 10th, so yay!

      5. Phony Genius*

        Sounds like this is getting close to “Be honored, or else!” territory.

      6. Former Young Lady*

        This, this, a thousand times this.

        And I think the gender stereotyping builds an extra layer onto it — “You’re a lady, so of COURSE you want to be CELEBRATED with the other LAYDEEEEZ!”

        I’ve had flowers on my desk for Administrative Professionals Day when I was a staff accountant, because FEMALE. My in-laws have given me houseplants on Mother’s Day, despite being (prematurely) motherless and (reluctantly) childless, because FEMALE.

        I want to be clear that I have tremendous respect for the work of administrative assistants, and of moms, but I’m neither. Being treated like one sends the message, “Yes, we know you have failed in performing traditional gender roles to our satisfaction, but we don’t want you to feel left out. Here’s a token of our pity.”

        1. PT*

          Meanwhile my cat is a damned ingrate and never gets me anything for Mother’s Day.

          1. kittymommy*

            Damn cats. Mine haven’t ever gotten me anything either. It’s like they think it’s all about them!!

            1. Tisiphone*

              My cats have informed me that my Mother’s Day gift is the honor of providing a lap for them.

          2. Esmeralda*

            No hairballs? No poop juuuuust on the edge of the litter box? No dead vole in your shoe?

            You, my friend, have a slacker cat.

        2. Phony Genius*

          I’ve had relatives include me on Father’s Day, despite not being one. So yes, it mostly happens to women, but there are a few exceptions.

          1. Cafe au Lait*

            Oooof, this is so tricky! I have a friend whose Dad and brothers did something together for Father’s Day and didn’t invite him. He was quite hurt while also recognizing their intention of not wanting to hurt him. (He wants to be a Dad but it hasn’t worked out).

            1. Cascadia*

              Well, yikes – that’s extra tough because he could be there to celebrate his dad, with his dad. I mean, you don’t have to be a dad to celebrate your own father. It’s super weird to plan a father’s day celebration and only invite some of your children that have procreated, but not others.

            2. Violet*

              That’s so… weird. The “Father” in the Father’s Day Outing was already present. Just make it about celebrating their own dad instead of if they are dads themselves.

            3. Seeking Second Childhood*

              Like one of the people there wasn’t HIS dad! ? That’s bonkers.

            4. Environmental Compliance*

              Well, that I get – they celebrated his dad without him. That’s…not great.

        3. JustaTech*

          When my parents worked at an engineering consulting firm one year the senior engineers got my mom a plant for Secretaries’ Day.
          My mom was not a secretary, or an admin of any kind, but she was the only woman who worked there. The senior engineers did not get a plant for the guy who *was* the admin.

          I was young at the time so I didn’t really understand why my mom was so mad about a nice potted flower, but now I’m amazed she didn’t hurl that thing into the parking lot.

      7. The Rules are Made Up*

        Soooo weird! You would think that they’d say to themselves “Hmm is it really doing a nice thing for them if I’m basically forcing them into it?” but apparently not.

      8. Nonbinary Newbie*

        Workplaces these days care much more about performative celebrations of their workers, rather than actually creating meaningful changes in these workplaces or appreciating people in the ways they like to be! That’s definitely the vibe I get from all of this.

        1. Coder von Frankenstein*

          And performative celebrations in general.

          Asking “How come we have next to no black people in the entire department, and exactly zero in leadership?” is painful, and cannot be solved without upsetting a number of apple carts and changing some deeply-ingrained behaviors. It’s so much easier to make a big to-do about celebrating Black History Month.

    2. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

      Oh wow that HR person needs to be nuked from space. My hot take is there is a certain type that want to keep others at their same level…

      As a female that is not an admin and never has been, I have met female admins that push really hard to keep other females in an admin role — “we are all in this together!” sort of mentality. If I were the OP I would specifically call out the sexism of keeping her on the “admin” list against her will.

      1. Employee of the Bearimy*

        This is my take on it, as well. I made an enemy of one of our front desk staff once because she asked me (a VP) to help her with an administrative task and I told her politely I wouldn’t have time. There’s no way she would have gotten upset with one of the male VPs for answering her that way, and in fact she never would’ve asked them in the first place. I think this HR person is upset that the LW isn’t interested in being grouped with admin staff and is trying to teach her a lesson.

    3. JSPA*

      They know they’re not paying the hourly people enough, and want to make sure that everyone who’s getting shafted, gets a gift card?

    4. Snow globe*

      I think that the HR rep realized at some point that the reason the OP was on the list was because she was a woman—but was unwilling to admit that was the reason. So they kept coming up with additional reasons OP should be on the list, just to avoid admitting it. Sometimes when people find themselves in the wrong position, they just dig in deeper.

      1. The Rules are Made Up*

        Lolll bingo! Seems like she’s doing a wholleeee lot to keep making the threshold for “admins support” more and more vague to the point where it’ll eventually just mean “Anyone who works in the office” instead of just taking LW off the list like she asked. Isn’t adding all these people getting expensive? I’m surprised nobody has stopped her by now.

      2. Archaeopteryx*

        100% on team HR Doesn’t Want To Admit She Messed Up. She probably thinks she can avoid getting in trouble after being called out for her sexism by coming up with increasingly tenuous justifications for doing things the same way. Taking OP off the list, in her mind, “officially” makes it a mistake.

        OP if none of the male whatever-whatevers-without-direct-reports got gift cards, call this out loudly and explicitly as sexism.

    5. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

      Yeah, it seems like the HR lady is bizarrely fixated on this. If she weren’t the HR manager, I would report her to … the HR manager!

    6. Reidfast*

      Seriously, this feels like an HR manager that is threatened by there being a woman in the office that is not an admin. HR power trips in small companies are absolutely terrifying, especially when it involves a female to female dynamic.

      1. Tilly*

        ^ this. there is the possibility that HR thought she might get in trouble and was trying to justify. But I’m thinking it was more that HR was just on a power trip and couldn’t stand that OP was daring to tell her what to do, so she was going to prove she didn’t have to listen.

    1. Ally McBeal*

      The only advice I have is unhelpfully snarky: Buy the HR person a token (inexpensive) gift for Administrative Professionals Day. Make it clear that you view them as “administrative support” too, and ask them to do something admin-y.

  2. IEanon*

    WTF is wrong with your HR manager? Did you accidentally run over her cat? This feels so weirdly personal that I just cannot get past it.

    Congratulations, it’s Hourly Employees with No Direct Reports Day!

    1. East Coast Girl*

      “Hourly Employees with No Direct Reports Day” – this is a prime example of how weird company-specific traditions for which people can no longer recall the origin story are born.

      1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        That was baffling to me. Wouldn’t that include most of the people working in the field at OP’s company?

        1. Snailing*

          They’ll have to make it even more specific next year – “Hourly Office Employees Who Don’t Work in the Field and Who Also Have No Direct Reports but Aren’t Necessarily Admins but Also Not the CEOs and Not HR”

          1. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

            Me: “That doesn’t make any sense. Does that include you? Does that include the executives? The company owners?”
            Her: “Yes, an argument could be made for that.”

            Except that the HR rep apparently DOES include executives and herself… the mental gymnastics this person is going through to keep the OP on the list against her will is astounding.

            1. Calliope*

              Maybe it’s because the HR person wants to make sure she can give HERSELF a gift card without being questioned.

              1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

                I got a feeling that she does NOT want a gift card, at least not for that occasion.

                She wrote herself out of the definition this year (as I assume she’s not hourly and has reports).

            2. Sparrow*

              “There is an argument for that” does not mean she actually buys into said argument, and I would be reallllly surprised if she includes herself/execs in that group. I bet that was just a technicality to prevent OP from shooting holes in her justification for including OP in the first place!

              1. Snailing*

                Yeah I guess I read the HR person’s “There is an argument for that” to be a weak way of saying, “Well sure, I guess you could argue that but…[we have direct reports so it’s not us] or [the CEOs are obviously not admins] or [I do administrative work as an HR employee but not as SUPPORTING a specific person] etc other weak reasons by OP is included but HR and C-Suite aren’t.”

      2. NotRealAnonForThis*

        So…all of my journeyman and apprentice level tradesmen? (They have no supervisory role, they have no direct reports, they’re definitely hourly….)

        1. Clorinda*

          Only the women. Females need parties more than males do, obviously, for REASONS that need not be enumerated here.

          1. NotRealAnonForThis*

            The few who fit that description that I know personally? I know them well enough that it would be worth the price of admission to see their reaction to this utter bull tripe. Pass the popcorn!

        2. Seeking Second Childhood*

          At my company it would also include most of the mechanical engineers who do CAD/CAM designs, the electric test labs, the QA inspectors, tech support, and more. And yes that includes women.
          HR is doubling down in an indefensible direction.

      3. Cedarthea*

        I saw a thing about this (I work in camps) a parable, where a military leader came into command and saw two soldiers guarding an empty bench, and asked why. There was no answer, and going back through the chain everyone did it because their predecessor did it. Finally the commander got ahold of someone who was nearing 100 and was the oldest living former commander and he asked the question, the old guy said “what, is the paint still wet on that bench?”

        It’s amazing how a simple choice (or error in the case of OP) can take on a life of its own.

        1. Elenna*

          Reminds me of the story of the daughter who asked her mother “Mom, why do you always cut the ham in half before baking it?” The mom said “Hmmm, I don’t know, my mother always did it that way.” The daughter went to her grandmother who said “Hmmm, I don’t know, my mother always did it that way.” Finally the daughter went to her great-grandmother, who said “How silly! I cut them in half because my pans were too small to fit the whole ham.”

          1. 'Tis Me*

            I heard a variant of that one but about snapping spaghetti in half before cooking it instead :-)

            1. Bryce*

              I do that both for pan sice and because I prefer the length of noodles that ends up with.

          2. Queer Earthling*

            There’s a variation about putting a dish drainer over the turkey defrosting in the sink. No one knows why until they get to great-grandma, who says, “Honey, we did it that way because we always had cats!”

    2. SheLooksFamiliar*

      I think some people want to be ‘celebrated’ for their work, and they think everyone else does, too. They dismiss a ‘NO!’ as a polite protest or show of modesty or something. That’s all my fertile imagination can come up with right now…that isn’t an insult to the party planner, anyway.

      1. Sled dog mama*

        This is on of my favorite things about my profession there is no [Sled’s profession] Day, everyone I work with has a day that recognizes their profession, some even get a week.
        This suits me perfectly.

    3. B*tch in the corner of the poster*

      I’m a fed government scientist, and I fall under this. I’d kill anyone who included me in admins day.

      1. I'm just here for the cats!*

        side track here but I read “I’m a fed government scientist” and read it that you were fed (like food, not federal.)

        1. B*tch in the corner of the poster*

          I am well fed, thanks to covid (i’m up 25 lbs :(

        2. BubbleTea*

          Fed at all the many, many compulsory parties to celebrate the job she isn’t doing, ignoring the one she is.

        3. Phony Genius*

          That would make me want to take their hyperbolic use of “kill” a little more seriously.

    4. Evan Þ.*

      An Hourly Individual Contributors Day would be a nice thing, I think.

      If the company was actually sincere about that and called it by its right name.

    5. Chilipepper*

      Glad I was not eating when I read,
      “Congratulations, it’s Hourly Employees with No Direct Reports Day!”

      I’m going to use that line at work!

      1. jb*

        Hourly Employees, Non-supervisory.
        That way they could still be low-key sexist by calling it a HEN Party.

          1. NotRealAnonForThis*

            Is it just a somewhat local use of “Hen Party” to mean “Bachelorette Party”? Its used enough that that is where my brain went, and that puts a whole new spin on this!!!!

    6. mairona*

      I worked at one company that had a *staff* appreciation day – basically a big celebration for everyone below director-level. Maybe that’s what OP’s company should do – we included lower-level management because it was a bigger company with lots of smaller teams, but they could do it for just non-management. That way no one is being singled out for their gender or pay structure (lol wtf).

      1. NotAnotherManager!*

        This is what mine does – anyone who’s not a principal/consultant or c-suite is included, and it’s typically a week-long affair with a different event every day. When we’re in the office, it includes a drop-by breakfast, nice lunch one day, some sort of company swag (nicer things like umbrellas, beach towels, picnic cooler), some sort of dessert/ice cream event, a $25-$50 gift card, and a prize raffle for bigger items. My management team does hand-written, personal thank you notes with a consumable gift of some sort for just our department as well.

    7. Moo*

      If all their Hourly Employees with No Direct Reports are women, and all others (presumably better paid with supervisory roles) are men, aren’t they drawing a big red pointy arrow about sexism in their company

    8. MiddleGenerationMillennial*

      I honestly think it could have been a ruse to single out OP for some reason. There’s literally no other explanation that makes sense.

    9. Chickaletta*

      Hourly Employees with No Direct Reports Day?!? As an actual Admin, that would mean I would be excluded from Administrative Professionals Day, LOL!!!

      What a weird and demoralizing way to look at admins. I work hard and efficiently, do excellent work, and bring a lot of value to my company. The way the OP’s company defines “admin”, which is basically by gender and pay, is complete crap. The more I think about it, the more upsetting it is.

    1. EPLawyer*

      HR wants this woman included … for reasons. And by gum and by golly, she is going to be included. Because HR cares this much about making sure this woman is honored for her contributions. No matter what the actual person says. It is happening.

      1. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

        Actually, honoring her for contributions she does not make (since she is not an admin) instead of for the contributions she does make. I wonder if HR lady would try to exclude a male admin if he joined the company. Also, if, as she argued, everyone can be seen as an admin, then why aren’t all the men included? This woman is digging in her heels on a very odd display of obvious sexism.

        1. Spotted Kitty*

          “I know women get shat on in the workplace, so here’s a $25 gift card to make it all better.”

      2. Mockingjay*

        My company likes to make a thing about birthdays. I don’t celebrate my birthday except quietly at home with my immediate family because I don’t like fuss. PreCOVID, my grandboss would run out and get me a cake and/or take me to lunch, no matter how many times I politely but firmly explained: I don’t celebrate. “But the Team wants to celebrate with Yooooou!”

        Forced Festivities are Not Festive.

        1. Bryce*

          “But we want to show we care!”
          By ignoring what I actually want you have shown EXACTLY how much you care. My favorite is when it includes some chocolate treat, which I’m allergic to.

    2. MishenNikara*

      I feel like it’s a mix of someone who really wants to make themselves look good to others for attention and also being too damn stubborn to accept when they are wrong. By those powers combined you get….someone entirely missing the point

    3. hbc*

      I think it ties into the mindset of the guy from this morning’s post who wanted better participation in his diversity/inclusion initiatives. It’s like their brains go from:
      1) I would like to make X people happy.
      2) One way that might make X people happy is to do Y.
      3) I have implemented Y and have indications that it is not generating happiness to the extent that I hoped/planned.

      Then they have the option of 4a) Go back and reflect on the original goal 1 and see if I can get closer to it by applying what I have learned, or 4b) Blame X people for not being happy because there is no doubt that my logic and execution were perfect.

      So many people choose the second option.

      1. irene adler*

        A long time ago, my manager explained to me that “no one can ever make another person happy”. Simply not possible.
        Sure, I can hand someone a fistful of $100 bills; but that’s just short-term joy at an unexpected windfall.
        If this manager would stop trying to “make X people happy” the whole thing would be avoided.

        (that is not to say a manager must make things miserable for their reports. Not at all!)

        1. Sara without an H*

          You’re right. It’s odd but, while you can easily make another person miserable, you can’t make anyone happy.

    1. Beth*

      The “hourly employees with no direct reports” thing feels very much to me like this HR admin has been refusing to acknowledge the obvious definition of ‘admin’ for ages (see: trying to include all the women, no matter what their role is), and finally someone put their foot down and said, “You can’t do that, in fact you clearly can’t have any decision making ability at all, here’s our new definition that’s completely based on factual info with no nuance at all.” Does it mean that the company will stop problematically insisting that woman=admin? Probably! Does it miss the point of Admin Appreciation Day? 100%.

  3. Calliope*

    At some point (before I started) our office changed it to Staff Appreciation Day and I think it the gift card does go to every non-lawyer employee who isn’t a department manager. It does seem pointless but then so does administrative professionals day at this point. That said, I continue to separately get my assistant something.

    1. Observer*

      This is kind of weird, but it seems ok to me. At least it doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not.

    2. Lucy P*

      The “company” stopped doing anything several years ago. As someone who falls under the admin category, I didn’t want to remind senior management to celebrate a day that honors me or have to run out and buy myself and the other admins gifts on behalf of the company. Instead, I would buy gifts on my own for the admins who were junior to me.
      After reading all of the comments here against celebrating admin day, I decided this would be the year I stopped recognizing the day. No one, other than me, ever remembered what day it was. Then, the other admin in our office happened to see an advertisement and brought me a gift this year, which I really appreciate.

    3. lizw*

      I wish ours would do this since they include everyone who is not a manager or supervisor and not a line worker!

    4. Pam Adams*

      That’s essentially what my Dean did- all staff members got an Amazon card.

    5. mom of two*

      My law firm does this as well
      I’m personally fine with it, as it includes me :)

    6. Hiding from my Boss*

      I hate administrative professionals day. At my firm, “the admin” are balkanized enough as separate from “the team,” the good little helpers with the nebulous job descriptions that make it possible for “the team” to do well and get ahead. It’s hard to feel like a professional when people get pissed at being mistaken for “admin.”

      1. That'sMyStapler*

        Yep. Sure is. This comment is spot-on. The comments section here clearly illustrates some examples of what you’re expressing as well.

      2. Wondercootie*

        Exactly. Nothing like a week of patting the lowly admin on the head and telling her (and yes, it’s expected that it will be a “her”) what a good job she does to make her forget that she’s not a part of the team and doesn’t deserve to be treated (and paid) professionally. So here, little girl, have a branded coffee mug and donut (that you probably had to order and process the reimbursement for) and don’t think about the fact that you’re barely paid a living wage after 25 years of career. /Snark

    7. CocoB*

      I hate seeing Administrative Professionals day on the calendar. Hated it when I was one and hate it now as a boss. It is filled with so many landmines or who does or doesn’t fit the definition, who may get their feelings hurt if left out (is the janitor an administrative professional?), and why does it seem that it is primarily (or only) females that many offices lump into this category?

  4. beans*

    this is baffling

    thank you for the update!!

    please come back in 2022 and let us know what happens?

    it is so weird that they are so devoted to including you in a thing you explicitly don’t want to be a part of AND your boss has instructed them to leave you out of! so weird!!

    (at least you got a free gift card out of it? and it sounds like your boss has your back? whatever these HR loons are doing??)

  5. NeutralJanet*

    In the original letter, OP mentioned that women made up only 20% of the office staff; given that, I find it hard to believe that there are no men who are hourly and have no direct reports, but are not administrative support based on any reasonable definition. Do they get included in Admin Professionals Day? If not, I feel like OP can make a pretty good argument for it being sexism (and/or encourage your male colleagues to ask for gift cards and lunch). I’m not sure if that would actually do anything to change the situation, given that OP was straight up told that she was included because she was a woman the first year, but like…worth a shot?

    1. Elenna*

      Seriously. If I weere OP, I’d be very tempted to forward this whole mess to all the male employees OP knows who fit that definition and encourage them to ask for a gift card if they haven’t gotten one already.

      1. Tisiphone*

        “Hey, Bob, did you get your gift card yet?”

        “Gift card? What gift card?”

        “The one you’re supposed to get for Hourly Employees Who Have No Direct Reports Day.”

    2. No Name Today*

      I’m with you on this. I want an update to see how this pans out. HR fed OP a line about how it’s for Staff with No Direct Reports, but dollars to donuts, she is the only one recognized. Or she is (finally) not recognized for this and surprise, surprise, no men at her level are either.

  6. Rbeezy*

    Why is the HR manager so invested in this? Does she want to keep OP in her “place” or something? So bizarre.
    Props to OP for navigating this situation so well.

    1. CouldntPickAUsername*

      ‘Does she want to keep OP in her “place”’

      pretty much, I think they didn’t like being challenged in their own little kingdom and went ahead doing it ‘how it should be’ according to them.

    2. Forrest*

      My guess is they see it as Something Nice but in a very gendered way— it’s like a baby shower or a Sweet a sixteen or something— and they’ve got a total blind spot on “but wouldn’t ALL women appreciate this??” and a total inability to grasp that all women are not the same and don’t necessarily appreciate the same things.

      1. Lily Rowan*

        Yes, my aunt was giving people a gift for mother’s day, realized I was the only woman not included (due to not being a mother!) and gave me the gift, too! Dumb, but I took it.

        1. WellRed*

          Even if you were, I’ve never understood why people go around giving gifts to all the mothers they know.

    3. Bernice Clifton*

      Based on my experience, I’d guess it’s one of the following:

      – at this company or somewhere else the HR Manager worked they had no Admin Professional’s Day or accidentally left someone out and feelings were legit hurt.

      – the HR Manager sees this day and celebration the way some narrow-minded are when they find out someone doesn’t want to have kids. *She* considers this an honor, would appreciate it if she was in the LW’s shoes, and doesn’t get that someone might feel differently.

      – if the LW doesn’t participate, the HR Manager is afraid people won’t understand that the LW actually declined vs just wasn’t included.

  7. meyer lemon*

    If this HR manager and the no leap year birthdays boss were fused together, they would form one person with an appropriate sense of how to handle celebrations in the office.

    1. OhNo*

      Maybe we ought to start coming up with Alison’s Workplace Laws. “For every nonsensically weird person, there is a person with an equal and opposite type of nonsensical weirdness. If these two opposites are put in the same office they somehow do not manage to cancel each other out.”

      1. Campfire Raccoon*

        Maybe Allison can make us a list and we can write (in)appropriate fanfiction.

    2. radfordblue*

      You’re assuming that the best instincts of both would combine together. More likely, you’d end up with one even worse manager that would still refuse to reward the non-leap-year birthdays with paid time off or gifts, but would insist that the whole office come to that employee’s “1/4 birthday party” on Feb 28th to celebrate them becoming 1/4 year older. Even after said employee refused and said they just wanted the day off like everyone else.

      1. Distracted Librarian*

        Thunderdome! Thunderdome! Thunderdome!

        Er, excuse me. Perhaps I should go home now.

  8. Aggretsuko*

    “They scrubbed the list three times to make sure no one was forgotten.”

    I do not think that word means what you think it means, or at least that sentence does not make any kind of sense.

    I guess just take the free gift and roll your eyes on this one.

    1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      My eyes popped out of my head when I got to this line, too. Isn’t it the opposite of scrubbing?

      1. The Rural Juror*

        The people on the list are the soap…the more soap you add, the better the suds get, right?

        Until you’re up to your eyeballs in bubbles…and you can’t find the thing you were scrubbing in the first place…

    2. Observer*

      Oh, I don’t think that the OP misunderstood, although I think she may have left out the quotation marks. The people who don’t understand how scrubbing works are the HR people who kept on sending the list back to the OP’s boss to “make suuuuure” they REALLY mean to delete the OP from the list.

      1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        Yes, that was the way I read it too – that they’d told OP’s boss and OP “we scrubbed it and we scrubbed it again, until we were sure no one had been left out”. Their HR is not making much sense overall, so I’m guessing she’s the one that came up with the term.

  9. No Mas Pantalones*

    I hate Admin day and I’m an admin. It’s patronizing and condescending. Just let me know when you appreciate my work at the time that you’re appreciating said work. I don’t need a mug or flowers. There isn’t a Lawyers Are Doing Their Job, Let’s Celebrate Day. There isn’t a CEO day. (everyday is a CEO day, really).

    Just because I live at the base of shit mountain and you constantly roll your shit my way doesn’t mean I forget it all because you decided to “celebrate” me for one day a year. I know what my job is and I’m still doing it so it’s fine. Leave it at that.

    And to include someone who IS NOT an admin??? I’m offended for OP. HR needs to get some knowledge.

    1. Wine Not Whine*

      +10,000 (says the former admin. Don’t try to make up 363 days of crap with one day of patronizing. It doesn’t work.)

    2. TimeTravlR*

      Yes! Yes! Yes! As a former admin assistant (and now still in support but not sure if I qualify for a mug anymore… depends on the company apparently! LOL) I would love to upvote the heck out of this if only there were an upvote button. I have said for years and years to appreciate your support staff all year long. It is particularly helpful to pay them a decent wage. Because I guarantee you they are getting shit done that you have no idea about but if it weren’t, a lot of stuff would fall apart!

    3. meyer lemon*

      As the original letter shows, I think there is some sexism bound up in the whole idea of it too. If this were a male-coded profession, I don’t think anyone would have decided they could be easily pacified with flowers or chocolates once a year.

      1. Former Young Lady*

        Yup. “Happy Mechanic’s Day! Please enjoy this hibiscus bubble bath.”

        1. Gumby*

          I have, on occasion, brought donuts to my mechanic. But that is mostly because the donut shop is on the way and if I bought a dozen for them then I could take one… right?

      2. Distracted Librarian*

        Exactly. My first librarian gig after grad school was at a 2-year college in the South. The president gave us all flowers on what was then known as Secretary’s Day. Not coincidentally, librarianship is female-coded, and we were all women except for our computer network dude.

    4. Dark Macadamia*

      Yep, it’s Teacher Appreciation Week and I’ve seen a meme going around along the lines that we only do “appreciation” events for job positions that tend to be underpaid, overworked, and disrespected the rest of the year.

      1. Sara without an H*

        Thank you, Dark Macadamia. I now see my institution’s annual “Staff Appreciation Day” in a whole new light.

      2. CircleBack*

        Somehow Teacher Appreciation Week falls at the same time as Nurses Week/Nurses Day, only supporting this viewpoint further.

    5. The Prettiest Curse*

      As a former admin – if you want to make your admin and support staff feel appreciated, be nice to them ALL YEAR ROUND! There’s nothing worse than being treated like crap all year then getting a useless gift on People We Treat Like Crap The Rest Of The Year Day.

    6. ambivalent*

      For admin day somebody sent out a group message about how we should send a note to our school admin. I just wasn’t sure if this kind of thing is really a nice thing to do? There was social pressure to chime in. It did occur to me it might come across as condescending. I’m a woman working in a field dominated by men, and don’t have an appreciation day – and that’s just fine by me. I can’t help but feel these appreciation days – like ‘teacher appreciation’ or ‘nurse appreciation’ – are ‘celebrated’ because of the gendered aspect (and we all know we are underpaying them?!). I’m guessing fire-fighter appreciation or law enforcement appreciation days exist, but nobody has asked me to contribute.

      1. ambivalent*

        Oh, I noticed somebody already said the same thing above, sorry for repeating. But I’d like to ask – does anybody here LIKE these appreciation days? I really don’t want to be the mean person who doesn’t contribute on these days, but I’ve felt strange about it for a long time.

        1. Raine*

          Speaking as a professional admin for over three decades – if you were nice to me, said you appreciated me more often than not on a day not Admin Pros Day, and didn’t ask me to do stupid favors for you because you thought they fell into “my job description”, I probably wouldn’t think less of you for not contributing. I’d side-eye you more if I happened to be the temp admin for the day and you gave me the box of chocolates you obviously intended to give the regular admin, because that says everything about your opinion on admin staff.

        2. Marillenbaum*

          The admins at my old office seemed to like it, but that was because they got a free day off without having to use any of their PTO–the junior non-admin staff would rotate through covering the front desk that day, plus the usual “gift card to the campus Starbucks” stuff.

  10. Momma Bear*

    So OP mentioned it, her boss mentioned it and the HR rep asked her AGAIN because they didn’t take her answer seriously? How many times does OP need to say no?

  11. cubone*

    this is a wonderful example of the Kafka-esque nightmare that is so many businesses. I wonder how much time collectively these folks are spending coordinating, planning, and discussing the parameters for admin professionals day (which has pretty clear parameters in the, you know, name!)

    1. Mimmy*

      That’s the second time I’ve seen “Kafka” mentioned here in this context. A super-quick search tells me this is a software. I don’t get the context.

      1. cubone*

        try searching “Kafka-esque” instead of just Kafka :)

        From Dictionary.com: “characteristic or reminiscent of the oppressive or nightmarish qualities of [author] Franz Kafka’s fictional world. eg. “a Kafkaesque bureaucratic office””

        I may be broadening it’s usage a bit. A great Kafka-esque example would be like needing government form A to receive form B, and submitting form B will get you form C, but you can’t submit government form A without information from form C. You know? Just like bizarre circular reason that makes no sense, but “making sense” doesn’t really seem to matter.

        I used it here because it feels like this HR person is just creating more and more illogical definitions of “Administrative Professionals Day”, and constantly redefining who is included and why, rather than just NOT INCLUDE OP IN ADMIN PROFESSIONALS DAY, oh my god. She could stop being hourly and the HR person would say, “oh we now include all employees who were ever born in Admin Professionals Day”. There is no end to the cyclical chaos of what Admin day is to this person; it is everything all at once, always, and there is no escaping. A Kafka-esque nightmare.

        1. Marni*

          This is where I’m obligated to mention my friend’s boss who pronounced it “Calf-kee-skew.”

    2. pcake*

      It’s not clear in the parameters anymore. Remember, it’s now “Anyone who’s hourly and has no direct reports” appreciation day :-/

  12. Harvey JobGetter*

    Where I work, they replaced Administrative Professionals Week with Staff Appreciation Week. Ther messaging is awful, but that’s clearly what OP’s employer has done. I get the bad history, but it’s weird to be soooooo upset by this.

    1. SarahKay*

      OP is upset by the ongoing sexism displayed by HR when insisting on in including her in this celebration. It’s not weird at all. The only reason people might think it weird is because our society has a bad habit off minimising sexism and telling women to stop making a fuss about experiencing it.

    2. Crazy Cat Lady*

      Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. It’s annoying to not have your wishes respected but in the grand scheme of things this is a minor thing to get upset about. Just quietly if not graciously accept the gift card and move on. It’s one day a year and if there aren’t other issues related to sexism or classism or whatever this is, I would just get over it.

      1. Carol*

        It’s not “her wishes.” She’s being labeled as an admin when she is not, solely due to her gender. Having been an admin, people absolutely don’t take you as seriously as they would someone in a different role. This has a lot of really icky professional implications and the fact that they doubled down on it is messed up.

        1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

          Hear you! I was an admin once in my life too. (No other jobs were available in our small town and my family needed to eat.) My job quickly evolved into a weird combo of “office housekeeper” (because admin) and “computer tech support” (because I was after all a programmer with several years’ experience, and it was 1994, when hardly anyone in our small town knew their way around a computer); but with the “office housekeeper” level of respect, pay, and career prospects. To be repeatedly labeled as admin when she’s not, could indeed have bad implications for her whole career at her workplace. Thankfully her boss has her back, but holy hell the energy with which the HR head keeps pushing back on OP and her boss, frankly terrifies me. This is a serious issue, and like you I am disappointed by the comments that make OP out to be some kind of a grown-up Veruca Salt that is “soooooo upset” because the gift card is not the color she wanted or whatever.

    3. Empress Matilda*

      Well, no – they replaced it with “Hourly Employees With No Direct Reports” day. Presumably that’s not all the staff at the organization. And it’s not weird for OP to be upset. She is being included in an event that she feels is patronizing and insulting not only to her, but to the actual people it’s intended to honour. And she has *specifically asked* to be removed, several times, and even her boss has tried to intervene on her behalf, and the HR person is still somehow not getting the message.

      OP has been very clear, and the HR person is deliberately ignoring her stated requests. For something that is entirely optional, by the way – it’s not like she’s being forced to participate in a specific technical training that is relevant to her job. There’s literally no reason she should be included, other than the HR person is insisting on it. I’d be upset too, if I said “this optional social ritual is demeaning to me and I want no part of it,” and the response was “nope, too bad – we’re including you whether you like it or not!”

      1. Raine*

        Yeah, I’d be beyond annoyed. I’d be asking my boss if there’s any reason to keep this HR person on, because clearly the HR person does not understand clear directions of “do not include me on this list”.

    4. Forrest*

      When people claim they are doing Something Nice for you, but you say you don’t think it’s Nice, and they tell you to be quiet and accept it, their priority is their own perception of themselves doing Something Nice and you’re just a convenient prop for their own self-perception. It’s insulting and objectifying to be treated that way.

      1. Olives*

        Yes! They are not actually being Nice with this thing, and you do not need to feel bad for not accepting it as such.

      2. Environmental Compliance*

        +1000

        This isn’t someone trying to do something “nice”, this is someone bullying someone into accepting an unwelcome Something because it makes them feel good about themselves, not the recipient.

        (This is an argument I get into on craft boards rather often. Giving someone something should be based on that someone, not shoehorned in what the giver perceives as nice/good/great/beneficial/wanted.)

    5. meyer lemon*

      I don’t think the LW is “sooooo upset” by this. (And by the way, that kind of overly emotional framing is an age-old sexist tactic.) I think she’s annoyed and possibly a little amused by how far afield her company has landed from its ostensible aim of recognizing her work, even after she’s told them multiple times that she doesn’t appreciate it. And I’m willing to bet that this is not the only way in which women are treated differently at her company.

    6. Generic Name*

      I see what you’re saying, but even framing it as “hourly workers with no direct reports” feels icky to me. Like that category of staff is somehow “beneath” management/salaried professionals and therefore requires celebration (because honoring them with fair pay and good working conditions isn’t an option)? No!

    7. Harvey JobGetter*

      The company addressed the overt sexism by massively broadening the group it applies to. They are just awful at explaining themselves.

      OP seems to think the status quo is worse than what they had before. That’s just not true. They’ve moved away from “just including he because she’s a woman.” She’s entitled to not want to be included, and certainly to be upset about what happened before, but it is getting better not worse. OP seems to be saying this is worse.

      Look: it’s fine to be mad at this company because of how sexist it is. It makes no sense to pretend like this mild improvement is not a material change.

      1. LutherstadtWittenberg*

        Mild improvement doesn’t equal material change. Now settle down, Beavis, and get off my foot.

    8. Nanani*

      Are you LW’s HR? Cause you smell of the same kind of sexism. One tick away from telling her not to get her panties in a twist.

      Pro tip: read and listen to discussion about sexism and NEVER open your mouth on it ever again.

      1. That'sMyStapler*

        Yep. At this point, she’s irritated because of the initial sexism AND because the HR person won’t back the hell off of it after years of being told NO. Agree with your PRO tip!

  13. GLynda*

    Ugh. Our company has a related issue. On Admin Professional’s day, the thank you list this year (and in previous years) included our accounts payable person and our bookkeeper/HR administrator. Our bookkeeper/HR administrator used to be an admin but stepped into this role when that person left. That was over 3 years ago. Our bookkeeper has a higher degree than some of our managers.

    I believe we all have to keep chipping away in order for people to learn that they are doing everyone a disservice with this “holiday”. For many, being an admin is a way in the door. Once they move up it’s insulting to keep referring to them in the perceived lower position.

    Furthermore, this promotes a stigma of “only an admin”, as though it is a lesser person who is in that role. Admins are the lifeblood of every organizations I have worked for. They keep all the pieces moving and often are the ones that have the solution. Let’s stop taking them for granted and thank them for what they do on an on-going basis. They deserve it like every other hard working individual.

    1. doreen*

      I think your post actually points out some of the problem -“administrative/administrator” can refer to wildly different things. For example, my job description includes ” functions as the top administrative officer ” – but that “administrative” is not the same as the one in “administrative assistant” or “administrative specialist” ( which are the new titles at my employer for what used to be “secretary” and “administrative assistant” ). I can see why someone would think that the HR administrator should be included in Administrative Professional’s day – it most likely wasn’t an issue when it was called Secretary’s Day and probably wouldn’t be an issue for a person with a title of HR specialist.

      1. Elsajeni*

        Yeah, I think sometimes it’s legitimately unclear what jobs should count as “administrative professionals,” in part because some people are defining it as “the people who do the administrative work in the office” — which does seem like it should include the bookkeeper, tbh? — and some people are defining it as “look, we all know this used to be called Secretaries Day and it is still intended to celebrate people who, in a previous era, would have had ‘secretary’ in their job title.” (Someone at my office “solved” this problem by sending the “we appreciate you on this Administrative Professionals Day” email to the entire staff mailing list. Most of us could be described as professionals whose work is administrative in nature, but… I don’t think that’s what it means, boss.) I don’t think this is the issue at the OP’s workplace, where it seems pretty clear that the HR person is not just awkwardly including a swath of job titles that don’t quite fit, but rather specifically making a Big Weird Thing about including the OP! But I think it’s one of the problems with the concept of Administrative Professionals Day in general.

  14. jenny*

    Ignoring the overt sexism for a minute, the point of Admin Professionals day is to make admin professionals feel appreciated. Even if OP WERE one — clearly not — if celebrating her on this day does not make her feel appreciated, you still shouldn’t do it! What is UP with this?

    1. Observer*

      Well, your question only makes sense if the point were actually to make people feel appreciated. But that is clearly NOT the point AT THIS COMPANY.

  15. DrSalty*

    I wonder if HR thinks you must really want the gift card and just can’t fathom why anyone wouldn’t want one for free. Bizarre.

  16. Ann O'Nemity*

    Are any men included? Because it sure seems like the HR Manager thinks something like, “most of our admins are women, so let’s include all the women.” And then the message ends up being admin = women, which is sexist and could simultaneously piss off both the real admins and the non-admins.

    1. Neil*

      I am male and work short term contracts as a temporary help worker doing data entry and records management in the Canadian federal government. If you look up the category that my work would fall under, technically I work in administration (if you want to know more, search Google for “definition of Clerical and Regulatory Canadian civil service). That said, I would agree that having a special day for administrative professionals (whether male or female) is a bad idea as it unfairly singles out a group of people.

      I prefer to do my work without recognition from the “uberbosses”!

  17. Female-type person*

    As a young-looking female attorney working for a non-profit, I was also included as an administrative professional due to my gender for several years. Reader, I graciously ate the lunch and made grateful noises. The other admins knew it was gendered and silly, I knew it was gendered and silly, but we all also knew the boss, in his 60s, was honestly but mistakenly convinced he was being kind and generous to include me. So we all let him feel good about it. Fussing about free lunch would have burned bridges, and the organization was very small. I’m glad OP was in a position to push back.

    1. ArtsyGirl*

      While I see your point, the OP has requested to be removed from the list multiple times, has brought in her manger to reiterate, and still the HR manager refuses to listen to her. This should have been settled after her first sit down with HR when she pointed out that she is not an admin and wants to be removed from the list. The manger’s obstinate refusal and moving the goal posts regarding who is being celebrated is just strange.

  18. Bernice Clifton*

    Career admin here and I can take it or leave it as a concept. I love free food, though. My admin colleagues who have liked it over the years and expect something usually end up being SOL because coordinating this kind of thing for anyone else in the org falls on the admin so it’s not uncommon for it not to occur to anyone to do something for the day.

    I’m lucky that I feel valued at my current company, but that hasn’t been the case in some places I have worked. So it feels very performative to get a Starbuck’s gift card one day in April and the other 364 days of the year I was “just a secretary”, or worse.

    1. CircleBack*

      Oh man I’m getting flashbacks to the small company where I did admin work for my boss, even though it wasn’t exactly in my job description, and when my mom passed away there was no one to step in and get the card/flowers… I never mind free food, but if you’re only appreciating one day a year, you won’t hold onto people.

  19. Ele4phant*

    There is some sort of weird control thing going on here but I’m not even sure what this is about.

    At least you got money out of it, along with…whatever the unsaid message was supposed to be.

  20. KuklaRed*

    In re-reading the OP’s original letter, I was taken aback a bit by her statement that she has a degree – as in don’t lump her in with the secretaries because she is so highly educated. She should know that a great many people who work as secretaries/admin assistants/etc. have degrees too. I am a director in a tech company now, but I got my start working as a legal secretary and I have 2 BAs to my name. We all have to start somewhere and there is no shame in being an admin assistant.

    1. Unkempt Flatware*

      OP acknowledged this in the original comments and was a bit unfairly taken to task over her semantics. It’s hard to articulate why this is offensive to be on the receiving end of without insulting anyone. I definitely don’t have the skills to be an admin assistant but I also cannot be asked to help set up meeting and parties and printers unless I’m willing to always do it (because of how it will be perceived by others). I recently participated in a meeting where the female organizer waited until everyone (all male) left the room and then asked me to help push in chairs and set up the room the way it was. No. Why didn’t she ask anyone else?

    2. Ele4phant*

      Oh I saw that not as a dig at admin workers or as an assumption that they can’t also be well educated – but rather they have a specific degree and wealth of technical expertise that should make it very clear they’re not an admin, not that there is anything wrong with being an admin.

    3. Charlotte*

      Yeah, I was a bit struck by that too. I am an “administrative professional” by whatever definition you care to use, and I don’t think there’s a single member of support staff at my office without at least a bachelor’s (and several with master’s degrees). It’s of course very fair for the OP not to want to be lumped in with us as it’s inaccurate (and even if she were the adminniest admin who ever adminned, she has said no very clearly), but I def think of being an admin as the stereotypical “Whoops, I Majored In Liberal Arts And Now I Have No Marketable Skills” job.

    4. Student*

      It’s an inherently entry-level or low-on-the-org-chart job at most places.

      It is genuinely insulting to be treated like you must be entry-level or in the bottom-rung job at an org merely because of your gender. It’s not a good thing – not for the admins, nor the former admins, nor the women who haven’t ever been admins. She’s right to be offended that people lump her in with the lower-rank employees based on her gender.

      There’s nothing inherently wrong with being in an entry level job. I had my share of those, too. But there is something inherently wrong with a well-educated person staying in an entry level job for a prolonged period of time. You don’t need a degree to do a lot of admin work – you need the degree to do the next thing up the chain that you are aiming at. Nobody on Earth goes to college because they aspire to be an admin – they get a degree and then decide being an admin is a reasonable step to get towards whatever they’re doing next. They may stay as an admin for longer than a normal entry-level job for a variety of practical reasons. There’s nothing wrong with any of that, either.

      It does come off patronizing to treat it as though it’s somehow a more noble, wonderful profession than it is.It’s the kind of job everyone should want to move out of eventually. It comes off like one is trying to make women feel more comfortable staying as admins by portraying them as making some kind of noble sacrifice for the rest of us, so that they continue to take low pay and do grunt work and make the rest of us comfortable at their own personal expense. It’s something that happens specifically with women’s crap work more often than with men’s crap work.

      We don’t do that to janitors. We don’t do that to garbage collectors, or mail delivery people, or warehouse workers, or lawn-care providers. Nobody gets “taken aback” when someone states that those are inherently difficult, unpleasant, crap jobs people are eager to move on from, and jobs that most people don’t want others to assume they have based solely on their appearance. We do it to jobs that are more “pink collar”, like admins and nurses and childcare staff – we get “taken aback” when someone suggests that women shouldn’t be content to stay exactly where they start.

      1. serenity*

        It does come off patronizing to treat it as though it’s somehow a more noble, wonderful profession than it is.It’s the kind of job everyone should want to move out of eventually.

        No. Please don’t do this. There are career administrative and executive assistants out there who are in and have chosen to be in this line of work. It’s hurtful, misguided, and frankly naive to make the kind of assertion you did.

        Also, lumping women together and assuming they are secretaries or assistants is indisputably sexist, and OP also used some unfortunate language in her original letter. Both things are true, and both things can be (and have been) pointed out. We can walk and chew gum at the same time.

        1. pancakes*

          Yes. It’s not an inherently entry-level job, either. Admins to high-powered people tend to have years of experience and an intimidating arsenal of skills.

        2. That'sMyStapler*

          WOW. Attitudes like this are the reason Admins of ALL levels don’t get the respect they deserve. Just…wow.

      2. Asenath*

        Well, as someone who spent most of my working life as and admin and do have post-secondary education, I have to say my experience is completely different from yours. No, I did not plan to work as an admin most of my life, but when I got a job doing the work, I liked it and the pay and benefits enough to stay. I didn’t need anyone to tell me I should want to move out and up, or that I should stay where I was because I’m a female (my mind boggles at that last thought!!). I didn’t and don’t mind in the least identifying myself as an admin, or being called an admin (or sometimes a secretary, although I used to point out I had no secretarial training until I got bored with that). Now, I also dislike most celebrations, and most especially “invented” days like Admin Professional Days. I was quite glad that my employer didn’t do anything except maybe an email on that day, although a few managers did something for the admins they worked closely with. Being an admin is often a decent job that some people (especially those with a strong need for organizational skills) enjoy doing. Like many jobs these days, it doesn’t require the skills learned at a university, although some employers do like admins to have degrees (another example of irrelevant qualifications, in my opinion). MY co-worker’s educational backgrounds ranged from high school plus a short secretarial course to master’s degrees. What was important was how quickly you could pick up the office procedures and how well you could do them. I think you’re really overthinking the whole issue.

      3. Astor*

        It’s an inherently entry-level or low-on-the-org-chart job at most places.

        Yes, and the reason is because women are doing it. The way we ended up with titles like “Secretary of State”, is because there was a different perception of administrative work when it was mostly men performing the role.

  21. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

    I think it’s time to make explicit “STOP. This is gender-based harassment, you’re insisting on mis-classifying me because I’m a woman.”

    If I thought it would get through, I’d suggest asking whether they’re including the cleaning staff as “administrative professionals, or saying something like”so, are you seriously telling me that janitors, truck drivers, nurses, and auto mechanics are administrative professionals?”

    1. Madtown Maven*

      Exactly this. Time to go Captain Obvious + Legal Issue HR-speak on this HR person, and include your boss and the HR Manager’s manager on the messaging.

  22. Cat Tree*

    Yeah, I’d be super annoyed too. I’m also a woman in a male-dominated field (engineering), and while I’m at a good company now I’ve had plenty of these little reminders in the past that I don’t readily fit in. At one company, we had a holiday lunch and the (male) manager got thoughtful and individualized gifts for the 6 male engineers in the department. There were three women in the department: me (the only female engineer), an admin, and a technician. We each got…a candle. I tried to be thankful for receiving a gift but honestly I would have rather had nothing. I just threw it away when I got home. I complained to my mom but she was just amazed that a man managed to pick out any gift at all (she has really convoluted views about gender).

    Trying to be generous, I thought maybe I got a random token gift because I had only been there a month and he didn’t know me (although that wouldn’t explain it for the other women). But the next year it was the same deal, except he got us each…a throw pillow. I saved and reused the fancy gift bag it came in and donated the pillow.

    1. Freya*

      I have a plastic tub for pre-bought gifts, things I buy because I *know* someone I know will like it but don’t know when I’ll give it. I accumulate Christmas presents for people in there… And I also use it for things I’ll regift. Too nice to ditch but I can’t use for whatever reason and I *know* someone I know will appreciate it, so it’s like the original gifted gave me the money I would otherwise spend.

    2. Owler*

      I would have regifted it to him. “I knew this was your style, Male Manager.”

  23. Stormy Weather*

    Gah, flashbacks. I went from a clerical position to being a computer technician/systems administrator for the office and I was forced into being a celebrant for administrative professionals. When I pushed back, I was accused of looking down on them. We really only had one person who had that kind of title in the office, but the boss insisted on including me and a scheduler.

    1. Lana Kane*

      This is the mindset that a lot of people who push back are faced with. It’s super insidious and a no-win situation.It also shows the level of gender bias we still live with – because I doubt that would have happened to a man who was promoted from clerical to individual contributor.

  24. lizw*

    Well I just got included in our “Mother’s Day” handout. There’s that. BHOD.

  25. NerdyPrettyThings*

    Ugh, this is gross. I wish I’d remembered the original letter when Admin Professionals day came around earlier this year. Alison’s answer would have helped me push back a little more gracefully on my office’s policy. I work in an office where half of us are licensed to practice llama grooming, and half are not because their jobs are more general and found in most offices. The powers that be decided to honor all the non-licensed personnel, except the one who happens to be male (the IT director). One of the honorees is a CPA. Another is the personnel director. Two of them have admin assistants and were honored right alongside them on their day. I happened to be out of the office for the party, but I hear it was awkward.

  26. Barb Jahelka*

    I thought I had a reason for being angry for receiving a thank you card and a gift card for this when I’m not an admin. I’m an academic advisor, director, and coordinator, not an admin.

  27. Phony Genius*

    My office once went months without filling an admin vacancy. We basically did our own admin work as needed, including the head of the unit. When Admin Professionals Day came around, we joked that we should all be included.

    Meanwhile, we have some admins who actually have direct reports. So where do they fall?

  28. PT*

    This is gross and offensive, but your boss also agrees that it’s gross and offensive and you don’t report to this HR nutball, so just consider gift card compensation for the annoyance of having to deal with the HR Nutball every year and call it a wash.

  29. Former Employee*

    At least a couple of people mentioned the idea that it’s often assumed that when people say “no” to some sort of celebration on their behalf, they are being polite and really want others to make a fuss over them.

    When I was still working, I always made it a point to take off the day of my birthday and at least the days surrounding it, if not the entire week. I wanted to avoid this issue.

    I was really annoyed at a co-worker friend who supposedly didn’t want anyone to make a big deal about a milestone birthday but when another co-worker decorated their cubicle with streamers and balloons they were so happy and thanked the planner/decorator profusely.

    It’s this type of situation that leads people to think that when you say “no” it’s to avoid looking like you want everyone to make a big deal about your birthday or other life event while secretly hoping they do.

  30. Chelsea*

    It almost sounds like HR is trying to put you in your place. It’s so baffling.

    FWIW, I have insecure HR at my work who likes to put down my job (compliance) as “just like HR” in that everyone in the office thinks our jobs are “lame”. Maybe that’s what’s going on here, they can’t stand that you have a more prestigious position than them. So frustrating.

  31. Bookworm*

    I gotta say OP, this was a weird update and have to agree that it must be some weird power play going on? Sorry that happened to you!

  32. GreenDoor*

    My office forgot both Administrative Professionals Day and Bosses Day in 2020. Don’t know if that was accidentally or on purpose but I was relieved either way. We have a wonderful culture here were we thank each other all the time, recognize each other’s contributions during meetings, and support each other. You’ll often see lots of spontaneous greeting cards or little treats left for people who are having a bad time or need a special boost and we often have silly celebrations just for fun. I much prefer those types of recognition and thanks, where it’s genuine and organic and without pressure on anyone.

  33. HailRobonia*

    I’m a man who works in an administrative role at a university. Several years ago, when I was an administrative assistant, I went with a female colleague to a mini event for administrative professionals day… a drop-in where you get a flower and a rose. They gave her the rose and chocolate, and then to me they said to me “you can give these to your secretary.”
    *pause*
    I said “I AM the secretary.”

      1. OyHiOh*

        And also, at one time not very long in the past, a secretary’s work was considered too complicated for a mere female to perform. Industrialization over the course of the early 20th century led to the opposite situation we have now.

        1. allathian*

          I don’t know about too complicated, but it does give me an odd feeling whenever I read Agatha Christie and there’s a male secretary who’s called a secretary rather than a clerk.

          But even in the most progressive nations, higher education hasn’t been widely available to women for more than about 150 years, so there’s that. I’m discounting royalty and the wealthy classes who could afford to educate their women much earlier thanks to private tutors.

  34. Camellia*

    So many comments about thinking that, when you say NO, you secretly really mean YES and will be disappointed if it doesn’t happen. I think the commentors have nailed this exactly. No wonder we still have so many issues around “consent” when it comes to other situations like, hmm, let me think…sex.

    WHEN WILL WE GET THIS RIGHT?????

    1. Lana Kane*

      That’s a really good parallel. Women still aren’t seen as able to give consent because they don’t know their own mind. And this has seeped into many women’s consciousness as well. Who understands women, amirite? /s

    2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      In addition to this parallel being spot-on, this is such a ridiculous catch-22. If no means yes, and yes also means yes, then how the hell do you say no?

  35. LCH*

    so HR is a woman… this is so infuriating. ask her why she isn’t able to handle the idea of a woman being in a position that is not administrative assistant.

  36. Mrs. Hawiggins*

    I’m an admin and I do get celebrated on Admin’s day, but let me tell you it kind of went the other way around at my company. Because I and those in my same positions were being recognized with gorgeous flowers and cards, staff started bitterly complaining, “WELL I’M IN ADMINISTRATION TOOO!” So, now we have a very weak attempt at thanking people who sometimes even I have to actually provide admin support to, because they resented the flowers and lillies on my desk one day. No joke. Fortunately my boss recognizes me independently with a sweet gift card.

    I completely get where OP is coming from do not get me wrong. I understand it fully. If you are being recognized because you are a woman, and thus the stereotype hat gets put on you, that’s just crap. Come on. And especially if you have said please remove me from the list, do people not write things down (don’t answer that).

    Honestly it makes those of us feel completely diluted when somebody pulls a “she got more than me!” on a day that really a Happy Admin Professional’s Day email would completely take care of.

    And if you’re wondering who Mrs. Wiggins is, Google Carol Burnett, “Mrs. Wiggins.” skit. Me thinks she did not get an Admin Professionals day greeting, ever.

    1. Hiding from my Boss*

      Also go on YouTube and look for the clips of Bob Mackie and Carol Burnett each telling the story of Mrs. Wiggins’ costume and how it helped make the character. Sorry I don’t have the links, but it’s searchable.

  37. MulledMind*

    This makes my skin crawl. Is she inviting men? No? then stop it. So patronising that it is assumed that women deserve a pat on the head for doing their job. Death to Librarian Day, Secretaries Day, Teacher’s Day, etc and all the other days for giving women flowers for doing jobs we have chosen to otherwise (in terms of pay etc) undervalue. As soon as Doctor’s day, Engineer’s day, or Mechanic’s day exist we can talk.

  38. MiddleGenerationMillennial*

    Honestly this feels like borderline harassment from HR. If they are that insistent on OP being “celebrated” (singled out) for a job that she doesn’t have, there’s really no excuse beyond that.

  39. Chickaletta*

    Also, can we stop acting like being an admin is some sort of demoralizing, low-man-on-the-totem pole type of job that nobody wants to be associated with? The fact the OP (and most people, let’s be real) don’t want to be associated with the job title says a lot. Comments here referring to “HR wanting to keep them in their place” and hell, the one right above calling it “harassment” implies that this is a title that nobody wants.

    As an admin myself, it’s really hard to uphold my self-confidence reading all this.

    1. Pibble*

      It’s not that OP doesn’t want to be associated with the job title, it’s that she doesn’t want to be treated differently because of her gender – male people in similar roles to her aren’t being added to this “celebration” repeatedly against their and their bosses’ wishes. It’s demeaning to the admins who are supposed to be being celebrated to shoehorn in someone else doing a totally different job because she happens to be the gender the HR person associates with “admin.” It’s not harassment because OP is being associated with admin, it’s gender-based harassment because OP’s gender is the sole reason she’s being associated with with a role that isn’t hers.

      The only person here devaluing admin work is the HR person who thinks the only job requirement is presenting as female (okay, and like maybe two out of all the commenters here – a very small percentage). The rest of us know that’s crap.

  40. Asahi Pepsi*

    This woman reminds me of a coworker I once had who went to insane lengths to treat me as a lesbian, even though I’m a trans man who’s only interested in men. She was CONVINCED she was right and that every single thing I said or did was a sign I was a woman dating another woman. She repeatedly misgendered my cis husband to his face at the holiday party, under the guise of “respecting lesbian culture”.

    Some people are so convinced they’re being right that they’ll make up evidence to make themselves right.

  41. Xarcady*

    I am old enough to remember the first Admin Professionals Day, although I think it was Secretaries Day back then.

    A friend working at an MIT lab reported that the two women scientists who worked at the lab, you know, scientists with multiple PhDs, were upset when they got the same floral arrangement as the admins.

    Of course, the men ordering the flowers did this because they didn’t want those two women to feel left out. And could not understand why the two scientists were upset.

    I had hoped that in the intervening decades, we had moved beyond this.

    I guess not.

  42. ErinWV*

    Some thoughts on Admin Professional’s Day, from a current admin professional:

    – Though I get why the OP is upset, I wish people would take a little time to think about how vehemently they disassociate themselves from positions that are beneath them. It doesn’t feel great. And for the record, a lot of us admin professionals also have 20 years or more of experience. For whatever reason, we did not or could not advance, but we are not all 22 years old and fresh out of school.
    – My boss and my institution are, in many ways, great, and they treat me well. But sometimes I want some damn flowers, or a card. I arrange flowers and cakes and cards for every other person here, and the fact is no one does it for me. I also want us to have good salaries and benefits and environments where we get respect. I know that institutions love to throw celebratory ephemera at people in place of more substantial rewards. I would like both. I don’t think that makes me selfish or stupid.
    – Working at an institution where 90% of your colleagues outrank you, outearn you, are more highly skilled and educated, and have privileges that you cannot achieve is HARD. It doesn’t matter how friendly or inclusive they are, it is hard. We deserve recognition for that.
    – This all goes double and triple for the blue-collar staff who pour your coffee and scrub your bathrooms.

Comments are closed.