Escaping the Female Ghetto that is Administrative Work

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bigsun in Boise, Washington

30 months ago

I just discovered the 'Escaping the Female Ghetto that is Administrative Work" while researching an article I want to write on my blog, something along the lines of "If This Place Will Fall Apart Without Me, Why Am I the Lowest Paid and Least Respected Employee in the Office?"

I have worked administrative jobs for about 20 years, have a bachelor's degree in Journalism, and thought I'd finally worked my way out of it, or was going to, at my previous position when I was 'promoted' three years ago, in recognition for the fact that not only did I manage the office, pay the bills, monitor the budget, etc etc.. I also created brochures, organized events and served on community partnerships with professionals of dozens of other agencies and organizations (as a peer, not their 'helper'). So I got a new title, and a pay raise, but was asked to continue to do the office work, as they didn't have the money to hire a new office manager.

About 8 months ago, the organization hired a consultant to evaluate job titles, duties and salaries, and as a result of that, my position was put back to Administrative Assistant II, requiring no more than two years' post high school experience. Though my boss protested and tried to get my additional work recognized, the management said no. But, I was told my pay would stay the same, and I should keep doing the same work. It's just an internal title.

However, it put me clearing in the Support Track and not in the "Professional" Category of employees, and was told it would be very difficult to jump tracks.

In December 2012 I was laid off along with about 29 other employees across the country.

I am now searching for a new job, marketing myself as a marketing coordinator for the outreach, event planning and design work I've done, but it's slow going, and I fear I'll cave to the fear of not finding work and go back to the low pay of admin work.

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Quitting in Janesville, Wisconsin

29 months ago

I am quitting my job of 13+ years next week. I actually love being an AA, however, in the the last year I have been given the job responsibilities of another full-time job in addition to my own full-time job duties. I have been struggling for last year because I cannot get everything done, get in trouble when I don't, my boss won't let me work OT, and my boss is not a very nice person anyway.

My mother passed away recently from a brief illness and it has been very traumatic for me and my family. But it has opened my eyes and I have decided to take a leap of faith and quit. I am looking for the same type of work but think I have found a job to get me through the interim. I'm lucky in the sense that I'm not up to my eyeballs in debt although like anyone, I do have bills.

I don't believe, like someone else who posted, that it's the job - it's the company we work for and the people. I am 52 years old but that's okay.

Wish me luck!!

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Renee Webb in Waxahachie, Texas

29 months ago

I wish I had your strength. I do wish you luck and I'm confident that you will come out on top.

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Quitting in Janesville, Wisconsin

29 months ago

Thank you. It is scary and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't scared. I think I'm more scared to continue on the way I have been.

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greener in Dublin, Ireland

29 months ago

I empathise and sympathise with each poster on this discussion. I work too work in admin and feel that it is slowly eroding my soul. Currently I am doing my full time position as well as the responsibilities of my senior who is on maternity leave and my supervisor who was asked to leave. So not only do I feel underpaid and undervalued, but now I am expected to do the work of 2 other full time staff members for the same pay (€29.5k). I have a degree and a postgrad. I am fluent in Italian and I have professional level Spanish and French. English is my Marie language. Yet I am treated as if I have only half a brain! I see little in the way of progression in my current position; it truly is a ghetto!

I struggle to motivate myself out of bed each morning and spend Sundays dreading the week ahead. I get non of the credit for the work I must produce for others. Work is dumped on me when I am already up to my proverbial eyes. The fact that the effects of my job is leaking into my personal life is more than irritating me! I am almost always too tired for hobbies when I get home from work. I have worked in healthcare before but I had to leave after almost 10yrs due to a back injury. Nothing will ever prepare your mind for the mind numbing effect of admin. I can feel my brain cells deadening.

Rant over, but I feel relieved to have vented. I have a goal to save and leave to train as a teacher by the end of this year.

BTW in Europe a degree is now seen as a minimum requirement for admin positions....something that makes no sense, a team of trained monkeys could do my job - but at least they'd be praised for it!

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greener in Dublin, Ireland

29 months ago

I empathise and sympathise with each poster on this discussion. I work too work in admin and feel that it is slowly eroding my soul. Currently I am doing my full time position as well as the responsibilities of my senior who is on maternity leave and my supervisor who was asked to leave. So not only do I feel underpaid and undervalued, but now I am expected to do the work of 2 other full time staff members for the same pay (€29.5k). I have a degree and a postgrad. I am fluent in Italian and I have professional level Spanish and French. English is my Marie language. Yet I am treated as if I have only half a brain! I see little in the way of progression in my current position; it truly is a ghetto!

I struggle to motivate myself out of bed each morning and spend Sundays dreading the week ahead. I get non of the credit for the work I must produce for others. Work is dumped on me when I am already up to my proverbial eyes. The fact that the effects of my job is leaking into my personal life is more than irritating me! I am almost always too tired for hobbies when I get home from work. I have worked in healthcare before but I had to leave after almost 10yrs due to a back injury. Nothing will ever prepare your mind for the mind numbing effect of admin. I can feel my brain cells deadening.

Rant over, but I feel relieved to have vented. I have a goal to save and leave to train as a teacher by the end of this year.

BTW in Europe a degree is now seen as a minimum requirement for admin positions....something that makes no sense, a team of trained monkeys could do my job - but at least they'd be praised for it!

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greener in Dublin, Ireland

29 months ago

Sorry for posting twice - the joys of an intermittent iPhone connection!

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Monique Thompson in Livingston, Alabama

28 months ago

I am glad to find this thread..I have been going to therapy trying to deal with this job i hate..(can't even say the job title..makes me sick) I wish i was never born mostly because of this job i hate
(can't even say the job title makes me sick)

BUT PLEASE TO SOMEONE YOUNGER GET OUT OF THESE TYPE OF JOBS..THEY WILL SLOWLY CAUSE YOU CLINICAL DEPRESSION, ANXIETY..WILL TO NOT WANT TO LIVE

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priscler in Yuma, Arizona

28 months ago

I come from a different field. I was once hired as a secretary positon, and i was treated like crap as well. I was fired 2 days later for no reason. I am glad they did so! i refuse to be anyones maid!

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Boo hoo! in Edmonds, Washington

28 months ago

I have held positions from flunky to Corporate Executive Assistant, and I have found that people treat you as you teach them to treat you--unreasonable supervisor or not. Where is your spine? I definitely have sympathy and empathy for administrative staff who are treated badly, believe me, I've been there! However, after the venting is over, get on with solving the problem. We all need jobs, but taking a stand for yourself and your self-respect will get you further in your career than any time spent complaining about it. Almost every office has one of "those" people, but I have always thought of them as insecure bullies and have treated them as such by standing up for myself. Bullies don't like that and in time, they usually back away because you're no fun. If your job it that bad, go somewhere else--yes, even in today's market. The jobs are out there. I know. I've had a few and found one that gave me respect, a challenging career, and a great salary. We're all better than that kind of treatment, so the sooner we stand up for ourselves, the fewer blogs we'll get that complain about it. Before you say I don't understand, I was a single mother with two young children, in debt, and desperate for a job. But over the years I found that recognizing my value and maintaining my dignity served me well until I found a company that agreed with me.

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Monique Thompson in Livingston, Alabama

28 months ago

I really do not recommend these jobs..but if you must have one..YOU MUST STAND UP FOR YOURSELF ALMOST ON A DAILY BASIS ONE WAY OR THE OTHER...Do so, and then get out of them as fast as you can...

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Monique Thompson in Livingston, Alabama

28 months ago

At first when I realized how much i detested these jobs, I just assumed i was imagining something that wasn't there

I come to realize today's woman or man minds are just too advanced for such demeaning jobs..to continue in them will cause your soul to slowly deplete..

As i sit here thinking, just what type of person would really be happy in these type of jobs?

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tooeducate in Arlington, Virginia

27 months ago

I am 31 years old and have been working as an AA for the past 10 years. At first I was ok with the position b/c it help pay my way through college. But after college I just knew I would find somthing in my field of Biology. But I find that entry-level research assistants doesn't pay that much, so I stayed as an AA. then I land a job in a hospital working under individuals that help run the hospital. So I decided to get a master's in healthcare administration. I graduated and just knew that the organization will see the potential in me and my willing to stay that I would move away from the slave desk. WRONG!!! In my pursuit to get another job I am now faced with the "you have the education requirements but no experience, get experience first." I can't get out the "female ghetto" b/c no one will give me a chance to gain leadership expereience. I'm so glad I found ths forum to vent.

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Monique in Livingston, Alabama

27 months ago

I you cannot find a better position, please move on...

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Monique in Livingston, Alabama

27 months ago

I you cannot get a better position, PLEASE move on

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Monique in Livingston, Alabama

27 months ago

Monique in Livingston, Alabama said: I you cannot get a better position, PLEASE move on

I meant If you cannot find a better position, please move on

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Me too in Van Nuys, California

26 months ago

trappedadmin in Milwaukee, Wisconsin said: I feel the same way. I am drastically underpaid for this hellish admin to exec job and don't see any way out. I am overeducated with a masters, and here it comes, in the Fine Arts, which haunts me now for over 10 years. I started out teaching college art , part time, and needed benefits so "fell into admin work temporarily". Now with this depressing economy, I have no idea what to do to get out, I hate this work, it's the complete opposite of where my talents lie, and I still do it well. I get zero respect, stupid snobs snub me every day, and this job will kill me. It's caused anxiety attacks and my high blood pressure. No one will hire me for anything other than more admin clerical crap, I've been trying for years, growing more unhappy, old, (I'm 41) and disgruntled and JADED.

I have 2/3 of a Masters in Communication. I took an EA job in 2007 because I was at a dead end in that field and had to do something else. Now I've been out of work for a year probably because I can't fake enthusiasm for another EA job.

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Alice105 in New York, New York

26 months ago

If I were to do this job for a little while, what career path will this set me up for?

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Monique in Livingston, Alabama

26 months ago

depression, anxiety, low self esteem,just to name a few.... If you can avoid please do..if not, proceed with caution

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Frieddumpling in Brooklyn, New York

25 months ago

trappedadmin in Milwaukee, Wisconsin said: I feel the same way. I am drastically underpaid for this hellish admin to exec job and don't see any way out. I am overeducated with a masters, and here it comes, in the Fine Arts, which haunts me now for over 10 years. I started out teaching college art , part time, and needed benefits so "fell into admin work temporarily". Now with this depressing economy, I have no idea what to do to get out, I hate this work, it's the complete opposite of where my talents lie, and I still do it well. I get zero respect, stupid snobs snub me every day, and this job will kill me. It's caused anxiety attacks and my high blood pressure. No one will hire me for anything other than more admin clerical crap, I've been trying for years, growing more unhappy, old, (I'm 41) and disgruntled and JADED.

Every single post here resonates with me. I am 27 and have been doing this crap for five years in an effort to repay student loan debt. As a result I have tripped and fallen into supporting two of the most demanding monsters in the world. I am so over it. I have begun searching for another job but I keep getting calls for, thats right more Admin rubbish. I would absolutely love to talk to any ladies who are interested in building a group just for those ready to transition out of the role of Admin/slave/personal assistant.
Let me know.

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monique in Livingston, Alabama

25 months ago

Great idea...I am now getting ready to retire out of this mess..but if you can help someone younger by all means do so... these jobs should disappear...they were created by men for women back in the 50s or longer...but today, they will slowly destroy your soul...

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monique in Livingston, Alabama

24 months ago

Frieddumpling in Brooklyn, New York said: Every single post here resonates with me. I am 27 and have been doing this crap for five years in an effort to repay student loan debt. As a result I have tripped and fallen into supporting two of the most demanding monsters in the world. I am so over it. I have begun searching for another job but I keep getting calls for, thats right more Admin rubbish. I would absolutely love to talk to any ladies who are interested in building a group just for those ready to transition out of the role of Admin/slave/personal assistant .
Let me know.

how can i contact you?

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Frieddumpling in New York, New York

24 months ago

monique in Livingston, Alabama said: how can i contact you?

Please feel free to e-mail me at lawshaker85@yahoo.com.

We can then exchange numbers for a quick chat.

Thanks for following up.

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Michelle in Charlotte, North Carolina

24 months ago

I have been doing admin work since 1983 and I am also looking to transition out of this line of work. I would like to sign up for the transition group.

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ThereMustBeMore in Spring Valley, California

23 months ago

This is an old post however I too must vent of working in this job that is a cover for nothing more than a Female Ghetto. That term perfectly describes the administrative environment I am currently in.

There are women here who will scratch the others' eyes out for nothing more then to gain a compliment from the Guy in charge or to "Look Good". It can't be for a raise as the office support for this company rarely gets raises. One woman got a raise, she is also by her own admission, a master in ass-kissing.

This company is run by the "good ol fashioned men" of the corporate world. They do not care how much us minions work or how little we are paid. The environment at times can be a hostile one. There are women who do things to sabotage other coworkers to simply show what a rhymes with witch they are and how they are not going to put up with anybody's attitude. When all the attitude is coming from them.

The Human Resources director walks around cursing constantly and doing what she can to make the employees lives here an unhappy one. There is no work/life balance. Any request for a raise due to good job performance or because the cost of living has risen is met with a "you should just be lucky you have a job".

There are some women who act as hall monitors of sorts and constantly complain about how much time others spend not working, how much time they take off, how inappropriate they dress, and actually has the audacity to check others' time cards and walks around monitoring computer screens. So on and so forth. Of course how this person gets any work done while keeping tabs on everyone else is anyone's guess. And then when there are no supervisors around this person is up running around gossiping, flirting with the few men that will pay her attention and you guessed it...not working. Pot. Kettle. Black. Idk how to get out of this ghetto but I have started to plot an escape route.

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ThereMustBeMore in Spring Valley, California

23 months ago

Also, the amount of make up worn by some of these women is on par with a clown in the Ringling Bros circus. Maybe it is a back-up career? These are the same women who call others "so weird" and criticize they way others dress, how much they weigh and I even heard them putting another woman down for being a single mother. Cliques are not just for High School, apparently. There are some who feel everyone else is so jealous of them and create Dynasty like drama out of nothing. This place is like a boring soap opera, only with ugly, broke people who don't dress as nice. It is the epitome of a a Female Ghetto.

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EAequalsBS in Portland, Oregon

23 months ago

No offense, ThereMustBeMore, but you sound just like the women you're describing - judgmental and gossipy.

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Silently Screaming in Seattle in Seattle, Washington

21 months ago

Me too in Van Nuys, California said: I have 2/3 of a Masters in Communication . I took an EA job in 2007 because I was at a dead end in that field and had to do something else. Now I've been out of work for a year probably because I can't fake enthusiasm for another EA job.

I can relate to you and to Trapped Admin in Milwaukee. Believe it or not, I passed the bar in two states and I still find myself working as an admin. It is a little known fact that many, many law school grads are facing long term unemployment. Many face having to make a living doing something completely unrelated to legal work in order to pay student loans. You can practice on your own but you will starve unless someone is willing to bankroll you during the lean years. (I wasn't that lucky).

I was looking for stability, health insurance and work that carried some meaning for me personally, so I entered the nonprofit human services arena and eventually became operations manager for a small emergency shelter. But then I had to make a coast to coast move, and when I did I lost my network and had to start over. I found a job as a Program Assistant for my current agency thinking that I could get a foot in the door and work up. However, I have been there nearly 7 years and have been passed over in favor of candidates chosen from outside the organization. It is clear that I have no future here and don't fit the culture. As a single woman in my 50s I do have to support myself, and I have been trying to think of ways to start a business while I still have a paycheck. I am seriously interested in talking with anyone here who wants to brainstorm around that.

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Admin in Raynham, Massachusetts

21 months ago

I don't blame you for being tired of administrative work. If you are considering a college degree, my advice would be to pursue a pharmacy degree (or another degree in the healthcare field) rather than an engineering degree. The poor economy has not hurt the demand for pharmacists and other healthcare workers, and the rapidly aging population will help sustain it as a robust field. I know engineers who have not found jobs in their fields and are working as administrative assistants. But in my opinion, (and I can't stress it enough) choosing the right college major, not just receiving a degree, is the most important thing to consider if you don't wish to return to the administrative field. And this can happen even after receiving your degree!

My degree is in computer science (BSCS) with a minor in math. I have worked as a software development engineer, but decided to abandon the field because I was tired of working for high tech companies that became insolvent, the resulting layoffs, and the fact that these jobs are all too often outsourced to overseas companies. Thus, I have been an administrative for the last 10 years, but I don't enjoy it, and I find that there are few advancement opportunities.

Oddly enough, my college degree has never been an obstacle in landing an administrative job. I live in a state that boasts more colleges and universities than does any other area in the country. Here college degrees are a "dime a dozen". It has been my experience that employers generally ignore the college education portion of a resume (regardless of major), especially if the job seeker is female and has had a hint of administrative experience which they can put to use. In fact, if you search popular job sites such as Monster, Indeed, CareerBuilder, etc., you will find many job postings that state, "a Bachelors degree is preferred", and in some postings, it is a requirement. Please choose your major wisely; it is a big investment. Good Luck!

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Still seeking passion in Silver Spring, Maryland

21 months ago

I am a 50 year old male, still doing Admin work! I have no other skills, and have no money, nor can go into any more debt, for school. I don't see any way out. It's so humiliating being in this "field" at my age, as a male. I never tell people what I do, and actually avoid social situations where I think people will ask. I see no way out.

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hoping for a better future in London, United Kingdom

20 months ago

It has really helped me to read these posts and see I am not alone. I detest working in admin. I have my degree plus two Masters. I never seem to be able to escape and each new qualification has been my way out only to find myself back in admin again. I see jobs I KNOW I could do but no one will give me a chance to prove it. I am now on Masters number three and am determined that this time I will escape. People assume I am less intelligent than I am because of the job I do. I am fed up with doing work that people higher up than me don't want to do. I'm sick of being talked down to. It doesn't help that I am dyslexic and basically suck at admin but I seem to be trapped. I am trying to do something about my situation and will keep going and not give up.

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VFB in Illinois

20 months ago

Still seeking passion in Silver Spring, Maryland said: I am a 50 year old male, still doing Admin work! I have no other skills, and have no money, nor can go into any more debt, for school. I don't see any way out. It's so humiliating being in this "field" at my age, as a male. I never tell people what I do, and actually avoid social situations where I think people will ask. I see no way out.

Please don't be embarrassed about what you do; there is always a way. I am a 48 year old woman who did Administrative work for over 26 years, got tired of it, decided to change careers two years ago from Admin to Social Work, which I LOVE:) So stop looking at your age, apply for financial aid, and go back to school. Start off slow by taking two classes, than speed it up, by taking 3 classes during the summer, and than four, etc. You can do all things through Christ who strengthen you:)

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kris10bsmith

19 months ago

Wow, so many posts, all stating the same thing. People, take note. This is a truly thankless job with absolutely no promotion potential. I've been an EA for 17+ years and have endured the same as all stated above. I've seen admins move "up" into management, only to fail dismally because they were not mentored or trained. It was assumed they already knew the job, and maybe they should have, but they dropped after only a few months, each and every time. I got into this so I could have a 9-5 job and be a mom. Fortunately for me, that finally happened and once I held that baby in my arms, this job took a distant second place, or fifth or more. No more staying long hours, no more working from home, and no more putting up with anybody's crap. I've always been my own person, and could not care less about who is who on the corporate ladder, however I'm a damned good actress and pulled it off, stunningly. When my son was born, I came very close to not going back to the lion's den. But I gave it a try and actually walked out in the middle of a project because I had to pick up my son. Tough tinsel, he comes first and I said so. Guess what happened? Nothing. I actually received an apology from my boss, who had 3 kids and a stay at home wife, and he really was better about getting me work on time, instead of sitting on it until the end of the day. Then the company made all admins, regardless of their tenure or job status hourly employees. After a brief protest, the company said it was because of new payroll legislation, I just accepted it. However, absolutely no work related to this place is done from my home. Off the clock is off the clock, can't have it both ways. I am respected because I do a good job, but also because I demand it, nicely, but I do. I never actually feared for my job, until the latest boss. After so many years, I was suddenly not trusted, had to prove myself all over again.

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kris10bsmith

19 months ago

And so I continue...bottom line is the guy tried to fire me for a time clock error. I'm still here, I hate him, but I'm still here. Now then, my advice to others is this is a fine job to do if you'll keep it temporary, have an escape planned for yourself, and please don't assume the job is anything more than it is. I fully intend to leave in 5 years, there's a financial reason for that, and I enjoy what there is to enjoy here. I have the attitude that I will have fun wherever I am, and work is work, do it well. I will never ever get an award for my work or be recognized. I was told that when I hired in. So I knew what I was getting into. I don't see AA or EA as a career, just a career path. It's really unfortunate because admins work so hard and do such great work. You can certainly bring a lot of the skills to something else, but you have to be working on that something else while you're doing this. Have an end-game plan and use it. My job is just like all those described above, the only difference is me and the fact that I enjoy where I work, tolerate the job and the boss, and spend nights and weekends with my family. I hope everyone finds a great career and eventually gets out of this silly trap.

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EAequalsBS in Portland, Oregon

19 months ago

Well, I have an update: I am no longer an EA or admin! Life has a strange way of pushing you where you really want to go when you least expect it.

Several months ago, I had been hyperventilating and having anxiety attacks almost nightly thinking about my workload for the next day. This went on for a couple weeks. I had hit the wall at work covering not only my own duties, but also assisting another admin in some very basic admin tasks (she had ZERO experience working in Excel and I had already taught her some basics in Outlook when she started a year earlier—not sure what criteria was used to hire her). One morning during these anxiety attacks, I came into work to face my pile of documents and emails. The other admin confessed she hadn't even started her 50% of an assignment that was due that day (this was actually her project that I split with her because my boss offered me up and I did my half the afternoon before) and her sense of urgency was miniscule. A couple other things popped up, but it's too long to get into. I had a nervous breakdown right there in my office, and so I left before my boss showed up to find me a wreck. She called me some time that afternoon, but my cell phone ringer was off so I didn't get it until that evening and it was a Friday. Honestly, I was embarrassed by the whole situation and didn't quite know what to say. I've always done a great job of keeping it together, plowing through my work on tight deadlines with minimal drama, but the culture of this office was such that I was always left to pick up the pieces for others. I guess I finally dropped my own piece!

So I thought all weekend about how to deal with this. I assumed my boss and I would sit and discuss what overwhelmed me and how to keep this kind of thing from happening again. I emailed her Sunday late afternoon to apologize and let her know I would be in first thing Monday morning. TO BE CONTINUED...

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EAequalsBS in Portland, Oregon

19 months ago

...She emailed me back within a couple minutes, telling me to call her instead the next morning and don't come in. When I did, she said I had effectively "abandoned" my job and so she had "accepted" my resignation effective immediately.

This is a woman I'd had many conversations with about her family problems, ongoing stuff with her mother, her own health issues, etc. Same woman who talked about how important the people of our office were, blah blah blah... and she basically tried to fire me without saying I was fired. Her tolerance for my absence that afternoon was zero. In fact, she called in the paperwork to HR on my "resignation" within three hours of my departure! So right after our brief phone call where she basically told me what I had done and didn't allow me to even explain the circumstances, my work email was shut down within the hour, and my final paycheck magically appeared in my checking account. You can't do any of that through HR and Payroll in under an hour and this was 9 a.m.

Thank god when I finally got to talk to the HR director and explained MY SIDE, HR agreed that my boss was very short-sighted and handled the situation "in a way that another manager in the company might have done quite differently," she said (e.g, maybe actually sit down face-to-face and TALK to me, hear me out, show some empathy, understand I was working my ASS off). Because I worked at-will and they employed at-will, unfortunately, my boss could hire and fire (or "fake fire") as she pleased, but the company would back me up if I applied for unemployment insurance WHICH I DID AND RECEIVED! I don't really think I have a case to sue and, frankly, though the circumstances are murky and I learned just how cold and inflexible my boss is (signs were there already, but I just thought it wouldn't apply to me since I worked so closely with her—I think a common thing for admin relationships to the boss), I am SO much happier...TO BE CONTINUED...

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EAequalsBS in Portland, Oregon

19 months ago

...Now for the best news! I decided to pursue a lifelong passion for writing and editing. I applied for contract work as a proofreader for a publishing company and GOT IT! I mean, I've always had a natural ability to edit and write, but for SO many years, I thought nobody could see me outside of the admin view. Yes, I had to rewrite my resume to highlight these skills and it was painful, but well worth it. I also have regular editing and proofreading work through other businesses in the community and have set up a website (still working on it, but I have the domain). I'm applying for my business license and LLC to truly establish my business name and I am happier than I have been IN YEARS.

Am I making tons of money? No. Do I have benefits? No, but I hope to in the next year or so. I am a single woman and went through a LOT of other things this past year besides losing my well-paying EA job, but I feel so much relief not being there in that environment. I keep in touch with a few friends in the office and nothing has changed there. The turnover rate just in the two years I worked there is about 80%, so that should tell you something. I'm very happy to start anew. Yes, it's a little scary, but I was really surprised at how quickly I turned it around (within six weeks) and now find myself telling people I am a freelance editor! I mean, it's still surprising to me to hear it come out of my mouth. I work on my own schedule. Right now, I'm in a comfortable armchair and my sweats typing this up! But it's still an uphill battle to truly establish myself, maintain regular clients, build the business, etc. I just want to share this with everyone—you can make a new career for yourself. I hope it doesn't happen to you in quite the slap-in-the-face way that I experienced, but sometimes that's also when your own resilience. :) (Thanks for reading my excessively long multi-post!)

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EAequalsBS in Portland, Oregon

19 months ago

Oops! When you *discover* your own resilience. See, I went back and proofed my copy for errors. Eek!

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Mary inTampa in Tampa, Florida

19 months ago

EA: Koodos for you!!! There are alternatives to working for someone else and making that other person "look good."

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EAequalsBS in Portland, Oregon

19 months ago

Thanks, Mary! It can be done, but I think having good support (from family, friends, and boards like this one) is very helpful in transitioning away from that field.

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ellekay in Davenport, Iowa

19 months ago

Wow! This thread has been ongoing for almost 4 years! Making your way up the ladder from The Secretary to The Administrator is not all that it is cracked up to be. Been there, done that & got less support, real heart problems, anxiety/panic attacks, depression, and a host of other health problems that "magically" disappeared when I left my job. Seems I was gone, but not forgotten. They called me & asked if I would come back to help in a different position. Big soft-hearted me went back & I am still there with a boss that is certifiable. She makes twice the money and feels that it is OK to learn her job over a span of 5 years. Really? Who does the job in the meantime? That would be me. I don't understand it because a staff person would have been canned within 6 months. She knows just enough of what is going on because I try to explain to her what is being done as it's being done. Why don't I quit again? For one, the benefits are outstanding & that is something that is hard to find these days. I'm fortunate that my spouse's insurance covers me, but it's not as good as what I get through my employer. Second, I just passed the amount of pay that I was receiving when I was the administrator. Can you believe that? I put up with lying, a lack of ethics, being yelled at, & back stabbing for 17 cents an hour more! It's not that the other bosses that were mentioned in all of these comments are rude and disrepectful. No, they are incompetent! Many are incapable of doing their job, so they treat us like they are angry parents & we do what needs to be done & keep our mouths shut for fear of being reprimanded or worse. I wish that I could say that I had one good "working" boss in the 20 plus years that I have been an assistant, but I cannot. They misrepresent themselves & get a job they can't do & "we" are left to deal with them and make sure the job gets done. 17 cents - I think I need my head checked.

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John in West Hollywood, California

19 months ago

Admin. in Georgia in Atlanta, Georgia said: Not only would they get paid more but they wouldn't be talked down to, degraded or verbally abused like female admins.

I am a 42 year old man and have been an admin assistant for 6 years. I can't say if I get paid more than the female admin asst in my office but I know that I have been shot down for 3 promotions and she just got one. I have no degree but I have seniority and actually trained her in a lot of things. She has a degree, looks and a great wardrobe so of course she will move ahead of me. I have a stellar attendance and performance record and she waltzes in at 11 am, Takes 2 hour lunches, comes and goes as she pleases and now acts like my superior even though her promotion does not put her in any type of supervisory role. I am actually assistant to the president who talks me up all the time but that's it. With many notable achievements above and beyond my job description I get no bonuses, no significant raises (except 2% cos every 4 years... Big whoop) The problem is I do my job too well and he doesn't want to lose me so my career gets held in limbo. There are also certain male AND female managers who try to treat me like their personal assistant and talk down to me but I do not let them. You have to draw a line somewhere and sometimes get a little passive aggressive to get your point across. Don't be a doormat but be nice. I have fallen into the same trap.

I just wanted to let people know that the whole "Male admin asst get's paid more and treated better" deal isn't always the case. BTW... If you're wondering how a 42 year old man ended up here I can tell you that the job fell into my lap after being a aerospace machinist for 10 years and 10 years in construction before that. It was wrecking my back so I decided to switch. I think I made a mistake because I'm going no where fast...

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Military Veteran in Phoenix, Arizona

18 months ago

I have read all of the comments here and I have to object. Women, you aren't the only ones being abused. Hell I worked for Satan's sister (aka Lawyer), and she created a VERY hostile atmosphere. She asked me one time why guys like seeing two women going at it. REALLY? Then she comes out of the bathroom in NOTHING but a skirt and bra. I about crapped. She asked what she should wear for a date and then she said no nylons, she wouldn't be wearing them very long. If that doesn't constitute sexual harassment and hostile work place, please, feel free to define that for me. As a guy, I have been subjected to rude behavior, been called Klingon by other women in the company, and told that I am an idiot for 12.00 an hour. NO ONE should be subjected to that kind of BS. Ladies, and guys...these a holes we all work for feel that they are better than us. Guess what? They all wipe their butts the same way we do. Just know that Karma is returned on those that treat others like subhumans, unfortunately, you won't be there to see it. All I can say in summary is to do the right thing, be a bigger person, and look for something better in the mean time. Education may not be a better choice, but widening your scope of abilities, as mentioned in another post is by far, the better idea. YOu are free to email me to dispute what I have posted. The world is not fair, and things are going to get harder with this moron in the WH.

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Alice105 in New York, New York

18 months ago

Ain't that the truth.Moron in white house lol

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AjAjMICHIGAN in Culver City, California

18 months ago

peggy birch in Tampa, Florida said: Please.
Ad/min assistants are some of the worst jobs ever. I've done this, and I've worked at Walmart & Dunkin' Donuts, and I can tell you which job I preferred. My boss at DD thought I was the cat's pajamas, and never hesitated to sing my praises. On the other hand, you can do 50 things perfectly in an office that will go unnoticed, but make one mistake, and see what happens. Everyone within a 10 mile radius will know about it by the end of the day.

Peggy Burch in FLA, I am currently at my desk - depressed and this was the highlight of my day. I have been an executive admin for health professionals for 3+ years and in June of 2013 I will have a masters degree in Health Service Administration with a double minor in HR and Proj Mgt. and recently I expressed my interest to move up post graduation from my admin role to a more "professional" role and was told that the best way to obtain a role of that caliber within the health system is to leave the system and return with added experience. It took that comment to force me to reevaluate my plans, as well as, a 25 year veteran that told me "once an admin always an admin" But I would much rather be the cats pajamas at DD than put up with RNs that have an associates degree treat me like garbage because they need a document drafted.... Well ladies take a number the format robot is currently busy. UGH being an ADMIN is the underbelly of the world and being a professional scapegoat is always fun to for the the bargain basement price of 23K a year!!!! I cant even make rent

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AjAjMICHIGAN in Culver City, California

18 months ago

I know that this is an older post but I wanted to rant as well! Please dont take my comments as being an unthankful human being, yes I am thankful to have work, but at what price (unhappiness)? I work for a large health system as an administrative assistant in the emergency department. Ive had people say "oh how exciting" UH>.. NO you mean exciting like: having to create and draft a schedule for over 80 employees who will never be satisfied, work for not one but 8 managers/leaders who you will be providing ALL Admin work for or how about taking minutes, ordering food that you will never enjoy, booking travel, doing all the loose edits and ends for professional presentations that someone else will take credit for, troubleshoot all of there PCs (without recognition), make copies, format and draft paperwork, associate file upkeep, payroll, accounts payable/receivable, orders and this all at the price of 25k a year. Its true when you do something that is favorable for someone they love you for only a brief second, but if you make one oversight its curtains for you! Admin work is degrading and if you work for a female executive beware... beware... beware! Youll always know your place!

Im done with this line of work and wouldnt recommend it to a soul! You get stuck in these roles as they do not want to train anyone else. I plan on leaving a turd of a mess when I finally find a fulfilling position post graduation (jk). Thanks for letting me vent!

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Monique in Livingston, Alabama

14 months ago

These jobs really should disappear

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Viper28k in Charlotte, North Carolina

14 months ago

PimpSkirt in Longwood, Florida said: Well, I am a very organized/detailed and professional person, and i am LONGING for an office/ administrative job. I have had a job that was titled, "Office Support", but I have never been an admin assistant , and for someone like me, this I think is the EASIEST job to do WHEN YOU DON'T HAVE A DEGREE. I have been stuck in a call center job since January, and I promised myself I would never go back to a call center. BUT EVERY DERN TIME I SEE AN AD FOR AN ADMIN ASST JOB, THEY WANT YOU TO HAVE A DEGREE, OR HAVE 2,000 YEARS EXPERIENCE AS ONE ( or better yet, bilingual )!! why do some of these positions require a degree ? they most likely won't even look at my resume/app without one

I have a Bachelor's of Science in Business Administration degree with a Concentration/Area of Focus in Management.

I also have an Associate of Applied Science in Management Information Systems Degree.

I am more highly educated then many of the Teachers and Principals were when I was in the Public School System.

I was told that my Associate Degree should qualify or "over-qualify" me for any number of entry-level secretary/receptionist/human resources assistant/administrative assistant type positions and also due to the computer component qualify me for several entry-level technology jobs as well.

I went over and beyond this degree deliberately because I wanted the extra education, had the financial aid to obtain it and may not still have it available if I didn't finish my four year degree and tried to finish it later, and I figured it would give me an extra edge or at least couldn't hurt. Plus when I attempted to find internships or entry-level jobs while still in college I was told repeatedly to finish my degrees/studies first because they wouldn't even consider me for an internship otherwise as they had too many people in the past obtain an internship or an entry-level position and never finish their schooling at all.

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Viper28k in Charlotte, North Carolina

14 months ago

Viper28k in Charlotte, North Carolina said: I have a Bachelor's of Science in Business Administration degree with a Concentration/Area of Focus in Management.

I also have an Associate of Applied Science in Management Information Systems Degree.

I am more highly educated then many of the Teachers and Principals were when I was in the Public School System.

I was told that my Associate Degree should qualify or "over-qualify" me for any number of entry-level secretary/receptionist/human resources assistant/administrative assistant type positions and also due to the computer component qualify me for several entry-level technology jobs as well.

I went over and beyond this degree deliberately because I wanted the extra education, had the financial aid to obtain it and may not still have it available if I didn't finish my four year degree and tried to finish it later, and I figured it would give me an extra edge or at least couldn't hurt. Plus when I attempted to find internships or entry-level jobs while still in college I was told repeatedly to finish my degrees/studies first because they wouldn't even consider me for an internship otherwise as they had too many people in the past obtain an internship or an entry-level position and never finish their schooling at all.

Also, a large number of my classmates were dropping out with just the associate degree and trying to find jobs, most not having a lot of luck/prospects, and I figured they were flooding the market in our local area so I decided to get my Bachelor's.

I was told my Bachelor's Degree was intended for people who wanted to be in Management and make it to Upper Management/Executive level after obtaining the proper experience/ and MBA and that it was a degree that prepared you properly to become an entrepreneur and go into business for yourself if you chose to do so and planned appropriately and didn't rush into it.

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Viper28k in Charlotte, North Carolina

14 months ago

Viper28k in Charlotte, North Carolina said: Also, a large number of my classmates were dropping out with just the associate degree and trying to find jobs, most not having a lot of luck/prospects, and I figured they were flooding the market in our local area so I decided to get my Bachelor's.

I was told my Bachelor's Degree was intended for people who wanted to be in Management and make it to Upper Management/Executive level after obtaining the proper experience/ and MBA and that it was a degree that prepared you properly to become an entrepreneur and go into business for yourself if you chose to do so and planned appropriately and didn't rush into it.

I was told entry level jobs for my Bachelor's degree were the same types of clerical/secretarial/administrative jobs, but that I would be qualified to be a restaurant manager/store manager/general manager/office manager already and would just need some training and/or a year or two of experience in order to be able to move up.

After College My Parents sent me from rural PA to Charlotte NC expecting me to find lots of opportunities, but I can't even get an interview for a entry-level receptionist, call center job, file-clerk, mail-clerk, or even as a greeter or cashier as a retail store, or a job pumping gas. Even Adecco temporary agency turned me away saying they couldn't help me, as did Manpower. Automated Personnel Services & 1 other temp agency took my info but never offered me any work despite my checking back 2-3times a week with them for nearly 6 months straight.

I fell back to working as a security officer, & I only got that interview because a family member recommended me as a good worker to the manager. Because of that family relationship I can't ever be promoted since she already has been more then once, so it would be considered favoritism.

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