Escaping the Female Ghetto that is Administrative Work

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VFB in Illinois

58 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

58 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

58 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

58 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

58 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

58 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

58 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

58 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

58 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

57 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

57 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

57 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

57 months ago

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

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AjAjMICHIGAN in Culver City, California

56 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

56 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

53 months ago

These jobs really should disappear

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Viper28k in Charlotte, North Carolina

53 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

53 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

53 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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Viper28k in Charlotte, North Carolina

53 months ago

Viper28k in Charlotte, North Carolina said: 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.

So now I am stuck in a total dead-end job making between $15-$20k/year or barely more then half as much as most low end admin. assistants are supposed to make, despite holding both an associate degree and a bachelors degree in management/business disciplines. My mom jokes with me that I'm probably below the poverty line enough that I'd make more living on my own without staying under my sisters roof then relying on her support because living on my own I would probably be eligible for all sorts of benefits as I only make approximately $1200-$1300 gross and $1000-$1100 net per month.

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Viper28k in Charlotte, North Carolina

53 months ago

Viper28k in Charlotte, North Carolina said: So now I am stuck in a total dead-end job making between $15-$20k/year or barely more then half as much as most low end admin. assistants are supposed to make, despite holding both an associate degree and a bachelors degree in management/business disciplines. My mom jokes with me that I'm probably below the poverty line enough that I'd make more living on my own without staying under my sisters roof then relying on her support because living on my own I would probably be eligible for all sorts of benefits as I only make approximately $1200-$1300 gross and $1000-$1100 net per month.

They've both even joked occasionally that I may be better off not working and living on my own and collecting benefits then I am working because I'd probably have more income.

my dad was a master electrician by trade and steered me into college away from any of the trades because he was never paid more then $8.50/hour by the company he worked for and was always told office jobs and being college educated and eventually getting into management was where the money was. So I'm pretty much the first person in my immediate family to get through college, my parents only had high school and my grandparents only made it to 6th grade b4 having to start working. So it's very frustrating to him to see no one wanting to even interview me or accept a resume from me.

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Viper28k in Charlotte, North Carolina

53 months ago

Viper28k in Charlotte, North Carolina said: They've both even joked occasionally that I may be better off not working and living on my own and collecting benefits then I am working because I'd probably have more income.

my dad was a master electrician by trade and steered me into college away from any of the trades because he was never paid more then $8.50/hour by the company he worked for and was always told office jobs and being college educated and eventually getting into management was where the money was. So I'm pretty much the first person in my immediate family to get through college, my parents only had high school and my grandparents only made it to 6th grade b4 having to start working. So it's very frustrating to him to see no one wanting to even interview me or accept a resume from me.

during my last year in college in 2007/2008 the most recent statistics for my native county in Pennsylvania were that the average(median) income for a family of 4 in the county was only $15,000/year. Average Admin. Assistant income according to the bureau of labor and statistics at the time was in the $30-$35 thousand per year range so more then double a family of four's income at the time.

I was told a medical office assistant/receptionist or medical transcriptionist would be perfect entry-level jobs for me by my college, but when I moved here to NC they all require a specialized 2 year degree. My 2 year degree even is more advanced then that degree is, but they only accept that one degree and not any others in the job postings I've seen. All I would need is the terminology/vocabulary, I have the clerical skills already. Companies just don't want to train anyone or give them experience now days I suppose.

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freelancer4hire in Brooklyn, New York

53 months ago

Viper28k in Charlotte, North Carolina said: during my last year in college in 2007/2008 the most recent statistics for my native county in Pennsylvania were that the average(median) income for a family of 4 in the county was only $15,000/year. Average Admin . Assistant income according to the bureau of labor and statistics at the time was in the $30-$35 thousand per year range so more then double a family of four's income at the time.

I was told a medical office assistant/receptionist or medical transcriptionist would be perfect entry -level jobs for me by my college, but when I moved here to NC they all require a specialized 2 year degree. My 2 year degree even is more advanced then that degree is, but they only accept that one degree and not any others in the job postings I've seen. All I would need is the terminology/vocabulary, I have the clerical skills already. Companies just don't want to train anyone or give them experience now days I suppose.

you may have to create your own opportunities look into being an administrative consultant www.administrativeconsultantsassoc.com/what-is-an-administrative-consultant

you may not have a lot of years of experience but you can try to build more experience by offering services to people that you are already highly skilled in

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Monique in Livingston, Alabama

53 months ago

I am sitting at this desk totally depressed..the thing is i have only 8 months left here i'm just trying to hold out...not easy at all

I will not wish these jobs (secretary, adminstrative assistant/etc. on my worst enemy)

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birdie in Boston, Massachusetts

48 months ago

Adverse to Administrative Work in Burlingame, California said: I'm just reading this a little over two years of your posting.

Since we're the same age, I feel your pain!

Hoping you've been able to 'escape' this profession and find something you love!

As for me, I'm on that path now, looking for something that's more befitting for me.

The thought of being an admin of any shape or form makes my stomach turn.

However, I've got a ton of debt, an now unemployed, and while I would love to finish out my BA, I don't see how it is possible to do so and survive? College financial aid has been cut, and I need to survive.

I don't blame the economy for my (previous) 'emotional spending' habits.

At 43 (44 in a couple of weeks), I'm feeling super depressed and stuck.

Trying to stay positive, I'm now looking up resources I can utilize in order to get myself out of this hole I dug for myself.

Reading that others detest being an administrative person, has helped me realize I am not alone in my thoughts and feelings about it at least.

Hope you have a wonderful Holiday Season!

this is just advice for the person who is interested in medical transcription--please stay away from that field. I have done that work--it is much more tedious than being an Admin. !!!! You will get terrible headaches/back/neck aches--and it is like working on an assembly line. The constant drone of different voices is enough to drive anyone mental! Anyway--just a tip!

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Miss Lizzie in Somewhere

43 months ago

melanie6613 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania said: Girl, I have been doing administrative and clerical support work for over 20 years. I worked in a call center for nearly 10. Just go to pharmacy school and make the money. You can get a pharmacy tech job in a hospital part time and once you finish your prereqs in college ,the hospital may help pay for the rest of your education . If not, you will come out of school with a great salary and could pay back your loans fairly quickly if you want to work that hard. Like others in admin work, I have cervical radiculopathy. Not trying to type that much anymore. Tired of knowing more than everybody and making nothing salary wise. The part about the degree is B.S. If you want a management job you better get a degree in management take that kind of job. Forget about being promoted. It won't happen because you are good at your job and your boss won't want to lose you. Start taking classes now and get moving. Just take one class at at time if you have. You will feel so much better about yourself.

Believe me, the pharmacy thing is the way to go. A lot of women are coming into the field now. I'm single and guess what? You do not know how long you are going to live. therefore, you had better get a good paying job to support yourself as soon as you can. You might live to 90 years old. What are you gonna live on with a retirement from an admin. asst job? Girl, please. Nothing.

You can do this. Get out and get some new training!!!! Just do it, like Nike. You'll only have yourself to blame if your career stays stalled.

Think it over.

I just saved your comment in Word to read whenever I am down and need a GOOD pep talk.

Thank you :)

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Jmp58@*****.*** in Reynoldsburg, Ohio

42 months ago

Wow, I agree with the poster who said you all need to learn how to spell and use proper grammar. I've been an administrative assistant for over 20 years and I love what I do. I've mostly worked in state government because they pay so much better and the benefits are the best. I've always gotten respect from my bosses and co-workers. They all know that when they need something, or they need help, or have special projects that need assistance, I am the one they rely on because they know the job will get done right, and with speed and accuracy. But the difference between a good administrative assistant and all of you, is that I take pride in what I do because it makes me feel good about me. It doesn't really matter all that much whether other people consider you to be insignificant and unimportant. It's how YOU feel about yourself. I know that I am the glue that holds my division together and I love that. I love the fact that when I put in a vacation request, the entire office scrambles to figure out who is going to do my job while I'm out. And it usually takes 4 or 5 people to cover my responsibilities. I've never been asked to get coffee or act as a personal assistant for anyone.

Government jobs are covered by a union so the type of treatment you are all talking about receiving is virtually non-existent because of the union. They also pay for your education. So during my 14 years in my last position, I completed a 2-year degree in Office Administration at a community college, graduated Summa Cum Laude, and got a promotion at work. And it was completely paid for by my union.

(Continued)

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NoMoreAABS in Charleston, South Carolina

40 months ago

OMG... You have said everything I have been wanting to say for the longest time! I was in the same profession about the same length of time as you were and WITH A COLLEGE DEGREE and was treated like dirt, looked down upon by upper management like I was stupid and didn't know anything (heck, I knew much more than they'll ever know!), and I had people dumping stuff on my desk that they needed done and simply didn't "want" to do themselves - lazy asses. The longer you stay is a s*it profession like this one, with or without a degree, the more trapped you're going to feel - especially when you're a person who is creative, energetic, and even has a tendency of telling your company exactly WHAT they need to hear - because if you don't, no-one else will and the b/s will continue. The only role you move from in this position, no matter how great you are as an Administrative/Executive Assistant is an Office Manager and that's boring as h*ll. Been there done that too, and not going back. The ONLY solution is the completely leave this role altogether behind and start an entirely NEW career. And you can do it WITHOUT a college degree - you just have to want it "that" bad and get out and hustle your tail off and marketing yourself. Good luck!

Oh, and to all of the managers, co-workers, and businesses that treated us Administratives like s*it, it all comes back to them. All we decided was to move on, get a better job, and leave that kind of treatment and b/s behind. Bettering your life and giving a s*it about yourself is much more important than the Office Politics and b/s that happens all too often in today's world. F* that!!!

Cheers!!!

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Britta in Seattle, Washington

37 months ago

I took my first admin job during college. My goal at the time was to gain experience in an office environment and get away from waiting tables and serving espresso. Once I graduated, I started looking for entry level jobs in media and publications (I was an English major), but all of the job postings offered such LOW pay. I was in despair! Then my boss asked me to stay with his firm and offered me a full time admin position. At that time, the salary sounded great and I jumped on it. It was the biggest mistake of my "professional" life.

Shortly after going full time, I tired of being treated like the office b*tch and left for another admin job, thinking "it can only get better. I'm sure the next place will offer me more opportunity." Funny, I was condescended to and treated like a dropout at that job, too. I packed up and moved to yet another admin job...same story. I even asked my boss (the accounting controller) if I could take some classes and maybe take on more accounting duties. He gave me some monthly data entry to do. That is all. Clearly, an admin isn't capable of doing anything else.

Ten years later, here I am. I grind my teeth as I listen to people refer to themselves as "professionals," while I will always be "support." And don't even get me STARTED on Administrative Professionals Day, the most insulting f-ing holiday out there. This year, we were given Easter baskets as if we were children.

I finally put in my notice and my last day is drawing near. My boss is looking to replace me and had the gall to tell me today: "I’ve had one applicant, but she is way over qualified. I don't need someone with high level experience and education - I need someone like you." Thanks a million, a-hole. It never ends...

I hope someone reads these stories BEFORE they fall into this trap. It's impossible to escape.

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Sick of Admin in Santee, California

37 months ago

Yes, this is a really old thread but I'm glad to have found it.
I've been in the administrative field since my first job at 16 years old. Now almost 35, I have very little to show for so many years wasted in "office b*tchwork" as a friend so eloquently put it. I can only reiterate what so many have already said: it's a trap and there really is no advancement beyond office management or executive assistant. And neither of those positions are paid enough for everything that they have to handle. It's not worth it.

But most administrative workers will probably never reach management or executive levels. They will be like the rest of us - starting from scratch on the bottom rung of the ladder every time they start somewhere new. And struggling to get by.

My last position was in records management for the accounting department of a property management/investment company. I was hired (1 person, just me) to replace 3 people. I could just *barely* keep up with the massive workload if I killed myself every day trying. Then they kept piling on more & more work. One can only work full throttle for so long before they give out physically and emotionally, and that's exactly what happened with me. I developed a host of health problems from slipped discs to tarsal tunnel syndrome (from being on my feet, running around the building, carrying heavy stuff, etc.), and I got sick all the time. My boss yelled at me either on the phone, via email or in person several times a day because I simply couldn't keep up, and I would often spend my breaks in the ladies' room bawling my eyes out like a baby because I was so overwhelmed/stressed out. The company could not afford to give me overtime or hire me an assistant so their only option was to keep paying 1 person (me) to do everything and not quite keep up.
Getting laid off this past January was the best thing that could have happened. Had I stayed in that position or admin in general I would have snapped BIG TIME.

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Sick of Admin in Santee, California

37 months ago

(Cont'd from previous)

Anyway, I have recently applied for a position in a completely different field and completely different type of business. It's part time and minimum wage, which is really all that can be expected in this economy but you know what? I don't care. I'd take a pay cut to not be overwhelmed and yelled at every day!

So yes, there are ways out of admin hell, you just have to be prepared to make sacrifices. I sincerely hope that the OP has found a different career path and was able to go back to school. Do what you love, guys. Or at least do something that doesn't make you want to shoot yourself in the face every day. LOL Life's too short, ya know?

Best wishes all.

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msdoppelganger in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

37 months ago

In the early 2000's I had to drop out of college due to family issues. I worked a bunch of sh*t-head retail jobs to make ends meet... I managed to shake off the retail label by taking some office support courses at the local community college and taking temp jobs. Back then employers understood the meaning of entry level, were willing to train and actually expected people to move up. I eventually got to an admin assistant position in an accounting department. Eventually though, I got tired of jerks looking down at me as an uppity paper pusher or well-meaning folks telling me I was to smart for these types of jobs.
In the 2010's I finally went back to college to get my BA as an older non-traditional in their 30's and took a student worker position in an archive where I learned to prep, scan and catalog archival material using Dublin Core metadata in ContentDM. I also took at lot of Chemistry, archaeology and history classes so that I could learn to work with, interpret and analyze material culture.

During my last semester I applied for a whole bunch of internships in various libraries, archives, and museums. After graduation I got my responses back from the internships I applied for. All my other internship applications get turned down except for one at a local museum which also featured a museum studies component. Here's where it gets depressing and cringy... Upon starting my internship I pretty much learned straight up that I was chosen for my clerical skills and relegated to cutting and pasting files from CD's to external hard drives. Most of the other interns who were much younger and from affluent backgrounds got much more industry relevant and engaging assignments...

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msdoppelganger in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

37 months ago

(continued)...On top of that during the meet and great for the students that were awarded stipends they kept going on about racial diversity and my race despite the fact that I never mentioned my race in any of the paperwork or essays. I mostly focused on overcoming my challenges as an older, non-traditional student from a lower economic background, my skills, work experience, education and my career goals. I really get the feeling that they just wanted a brown face in there, regardless of how meaningless and menial the task assigned, in order to pat themselves on the back.

So not only was I pigeon-holed into an admin role that I was trying to escape from in what should have been an opportunity to expand my skills and gain new work experience I pretty much became a casualty of diversity quota...

The only reason I stuck the internship out is because I was rewarded a very modest stipend which was better than nothing.. I was sending out job applications during the second half of my internship and if I would have been offered a job at one of the local universities, archives or other museums I would have told them where to shove their internship and left...

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shingami in Chicago, Illinois

37 months ago

Sick of Admin in Santee, California said: Yes, this is a really old thread but I'm glad to have found it.
I've been in the administrative field since my first job at 16 years old. Now almost 35, I have very little to show for so many years wasted in "office b*tchwork" as a friend so eloquently put it. I can only reiterate what so many have already said: it's a trap and there really is no advancement beyond office management or executive assistant. And neither of those positions are paid enough for everything that they have to handle. It's not worth it.

I didn't even know this thread existed. Wow, this is my life and I don't know how to get out of it. I learn admin skills in H.S. and started an office job in college and have been here ever since. It is most definitely a trap. I look at the "advancements" and they suck monkey balls. I think, oh yes, I really want to advance to creating dozens of Excel spreadsheets daily and writing expense reports. That is so not me, yet I feel trapped. I'm also trapped in "Receptionist hell" I can't get past the front desk. I get so tired of those jobs and being shackled to the front desk and answering phones, it's depressing and I feel like a failure.

Even worse, my last job they wanted someone younger for the "Face" of the company, so when I went to another position and it wasn't working out I knew I couldn't go back to reception. So now those days are limited as most receptionists are young women as they should be. The thing is, I don't mind office work that much, it's ok to a certain degree, but as everyone has said, 99% of companies see the admin as the office work mule b*tch who can handle a 5 person job. I see the job ads and they all expect that with the "Wear many hats" "Jill of all trades" "MUST type 80 wpm" (for $10 an hour) as they list 25 different software programs you MUST be proficient in.

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xboxer in Tucson, Arizona

37 months ago

What should the expected outcome of a Business Administration degree be? Considering there are no jobs anymore?

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lorr1e1 in South Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

36 months ago

greener in Dublin, Ireland said: 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!

I haven't seen many adverts asking for degrees for a standard admin role which is what I would usually apply for, unless it is for a corporate company and has many high level responsibilities.

I did a simple NVQ Administration course (before it was called Business & Administration in the mid 1990's I see no real reason why people must do degrees for this level of job, the secretarial colleges meets the needs of employers.

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sg351 in Conyers, Georgia

36 months ago

I am an Executive Assistant. I have a bachelors degree (granted it's a liberal arts degree - English - but still a degree!). I agree wholeheartedly with most of the comments saying that being an admin means you are looked down upon and treated like you are only capable of menial, brainless tasks such as data entry and ordering lunch for a meeting. There is nothing more disheartening than to be asked to make a label for a folder or move a column of data on a spreadsheet to another tab, just because the person is too damn lazy to do it themselves, or sees it as work that is "beneath" them. Just last week I was asked to put 80 labels on postcards for someone who didn't feel like doing it. Most of the people I support do not appreciate the work I do (or even say thank you), nor do they think that I have a brain in my head or that I might be capable of having a good idea or doing something more meaningful (despite me asking repeatedly for more challenging work or asking about a career path. I get the patronizing pat on the head and I'm given a time consuming, mind numbing task to keep me busy and out of their hair).

The pay is terrible (I do make more than $40k annually, but I have not been given any raises in 4 years here - my company sees these positions as "overhead" and why should they pay good money to "overhead"?). There is no where to go from here, and sad to say, once you take an admin position, you are forever branded as an admin. You will never be seen as anyone or anything else.

I know this is an old thread, but for anyone who finds it who is considering working as an admin, please, please, PLEASE do something, ANYTHING else. I still rue the day I had to take this crappy excuse for a job, but I'd just been laid off and needed a paycheck. After being stuck here for almost 4.5 years with nothing but frustration, anger, depression, and hopelessness to show for it. Seriously, stay away from this type of job if you value your mental health and well being.

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no direction in Raleigh, North Carolina

36 months ago

I appreciate the advice, but it is so simple for people to sit back and tell you that you need to get a degree. That is so much easier to be said than done. 1. the money to get a degree is not there because I am working my butt off in a low paying job. 2. it takes so long to get a degree, and I have more experience than any of the kids walking down the isle with that piece of paper. I have had a variety of jobs over the years. Being a Military spouse is not easy and having to recreate yourself each time you move is tough. I have made as much as $26hr and as little as $7.35hr. Now how is that fair? It depends on where I live as to what kind of job is available. I am frustrated to no end. I am 54 years old, recently divorced and need to find a job that pays me a good salary. HELP Please????

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You need to move in Paris, France

34 months ago

I started as a receptionist when I needed to pay my master's bill. Funny, didn't have the time to go to classes because of work schedule (and absolutely no flexibility from employers), postponed my education, finished working as an admin for 3 years.

Smart people will know you work well, will want you in their team, but others will stop you. I had to change company after being treated like a "pretty slave" (i say it with anger for its sexism) for more than a year to a better place. There, my boss treated me with respect, but other colleagues who got their job by having everything set over them still denigrate my job. I was offered a really good salary in one of the 10 best brands if I stayed and I didn't, only because I no longer wanted to be an assistant.

Packed my bags, moved to another city, risked everything, got a masters in digital marketing, got an internship in something i knew you had to prove you were smart and not a mommy's boy to work. I chose data analysis. And yes, I was freaking tired of people. I rather deal with numbers.

Now I am one of the best and yet I am ashamed of my past three years as an assistant. It is a black hole in your cv and people will always judge you for it.

Funny thing it is a women's job where you are supposed to be gentle and sweet. Admin jobs need a major change.

My advice, leave it if you feel bored. Run from it. Take a less paid job, get a qualification in smth not a lot of people can do and where you have proven yourself to be smart. For me old executives treat you better...society will always say comments about assistants not doing anything and being stupid.

With all honesty,

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Sick of Admin in Santee, California

34 months ago

Shingami in Chicago, Illinois said: 99% of companies see the admin as the office work mule b*tch who can handle a 5 person job. I see the job ads and they all expect that with the "Wear many hats" "Jill of all trades" "MUST type 80 wpm" (for $10 an hour) as they list 25 different software programs you MUST be proficient in.

This. Exactly. Must do EVERYTHING for $10/hr or less. It's an absolute joke, ugh!!

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Sick of Admin in Santee, California

34 months ago

Shingami in Chicago, Illinois said: 99% of companies see the admin as the office work mule b*tch who can handle a 5 person job. I see the job ads and they all expect that with the "Wear many hats" "Jill of all trades" "MUST type 80 wpm" (for $10 an hour) as they list 25 different software programs you MUST be proficient in.

This. Exactly. Must do EVERYTHING for $10/hr or less. It's an absolute joke, ugh!!

sg351 in Tucson, Arizona said: What should the expected outcome of a Business Administration degree be? Considering there are no jobs anymore?

The same outcome as would be expected for someone with any or no degree: lots of searching without securing any kind of employment.

xboxer in Conyers, Georgia said: There is no where to go from here, and sad to say, once you take an admin position, you are forever branded as an admin. You will never be seen as anyone or anything else.

Also very true, which makes it damn near impossible for an administrative professional to find employment in a different field. I've been rejected countless times for positions that were beneath my usual salary because employers assume that once something in my field opens up, I'll be out of there.

Almost a year after being laid off in January I have acquiesced to seeking administrative work in a different county because the opportunities where I live are gone. I've considered moving out of state and even leaving the country it's so bad. That's one thing I forgot to mention: administration is a dying field. More administrative professionals get laid off every year than hired.

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Alison R Dalleywater in Ireland

33 months ago

So glad to read this tonight. Was on the verge of packing my job in tonight. I have a management degree but it means nothing. They think secretaries/administrators are pointless and inferior. Until they have to find a phone number or sort out a problem or find out what was agreed...then they have a childish meltdown.. wouldn't you love to tell em to stick it! It's no different here in UK or Ireland.

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robindurant88@*****.*** in Brooklyn, New York

31 months ago

I am currently working p/t intwo jobs,as a dirrct care counselir. I just got in school to go back to the Admin. Asst. field. I am experiencing the same direspect in this field now. I believe we are the same age. the fact is now ive been mandated to stay till 11pm today, when . I m supposed to get off @3pm . I also informed them that i was in school now, and asked if i could do this madtory training in the nxt quarter, they dont care. They hire new people. but still want to 'use' some. Awful. Never. knew. the name but Ghetto' is appropriate, sad.

I've thought about getting business degree but I know that with my background I will still end up in this same trap. So I decided to take extreme measures and go in a way opposite direction that will get me out of this female ghetto position.

I am thinking of going back to school to be either an engineer or a pharmacist.

Have any other admins here considered going this kind of route?

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lcschol66 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

30 months ago

EAequalsBS - I'm practically reading my own story. The anxiety attacks and being accused of job abandonment. That didn't work and then they tried to do some other things and finally just "let me go" which they had to pay me and give me unemployment and well, i don't have everything i want and I work admin parttime - but I just go in collect pay and go home now. While at home, started my own business and while it is not paying yet - i couldn't be happier to be away from the nonsense I was dealing with. There is life after admin work. I can't get anywhere else at this point, but I'm using some part-time and temp work to make ends meet. Not everyone can do it - but I say to admins - carve out your own career through entrepreneurship and build while you are still an admin. Nothing better than working on Plan B now so that you can walk out later with your head held high.

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shingami in Chicago, Illinois

30 months ago

This is one of the best threads on here and I'm glad it was revived again. I think after I got fired from my crappy admin/receptionist job and REALLY wanted to to a different route only to land right back in the same job, I have realized this is it. The older I get the more Realize life is to short to be miserable. I'm tired of chasing jobs I don't want.

Today the old geezer owner of the law firm asked me if I was "finally getting the hang of the job" been there almost 6 months and I'm the receptionist--AGAIN and all I do is answer phones and print out stuff they email me. Yes, I believe I have the hang of that. He goes on to demean me to say to handle the job you need to be sharp and have focus and make split decisions. Huh?? It just made me so upset. I'm just so sick of these fools wanting you to bend over backwards and see these little nothing positions like you are saving the world. His comment to me was utterly uncalled for and ridiculous. I'm on a mission to get out of this death trap of a job role. Every comment here is spot on and I hope those who have comments from years ago have done just that.

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lcschol66 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

30 months ago

Hate to say it I am glad there are still people adding to this thread - misery loves company - but you just don't feel so alone in a horrid experience. Make your own way if you can and tolerate them while you climb over them. Most admins can do the jobs of their bosses - only way to prove it is to start your own gig - Rise of the Entrepreneur!

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2Legit in Cincinnati, Ohio

30 months ago

I just saw this thread yesterday... I didn't realize the opening person had created it 74 months ago... so I thought, you know what, pharmacy does sound like a stable line of work to go into. Maybe I'll look for a pharmacy tech. job where they'll train me on the job.
Don't you know, next day (meaning, today), I wake up and read on Twitter that Walgreens has announced it's closing 200 stores. Jobs will be cut, of course. This is a "cost-reduction strategy" on Walgreens' behalf.
Are all these pharmacists going to be absorbed into other stores? IMO, that doesn't seem possible or likely.
At any rate, seems like another sign of the times that nothing seems secure and you never know what will happen.
Trust in God and hang in there, folks.

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msdoppelganger in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

30 months ago

Shingami in Chicago, Illinois said: This is one of the best threads on here and I'm glad it was revived again. I think after I got fired from my crappy admin /receptionist job and REALLY wanted to to a different route only to land right back in the same job, I have realized this is it. The older I get the more Realize life is to short to be miserable. I'm tired of chasing jobs I don't want.

Today the old geezer owner of the law firm asked me if I was "finally getting the hang of the job" been there almost 6 months and I'm the receptionist--AGAIN and all I do is answer phones and print out stuff they email me. Yes, I believe I have the hang of that. He goes on to demean me to say to handle the job you need to be sharp and have focus and make split decisions. Huh?? It just made me so upset. I'm just so sick of these fools wanting you to bend over backwards and see these little nothing positions like you are saving the world. His comment to me was utterly uncalled for and ridiculous. I'm on a mission to get out of this death trap of a job role. Every comment here is spot on and I hope those who have comments from years ago have done just that.

I feel the same way Shingami. I was actually reviewing my resume a little while ago and I feel that my career is actually moving backwards! The positions I've held have become simpler and more mundane. I also don't appreciate when higher ups try to put the weight of the whole company on you and blow smoke up your rear end when we both know well enough but I'm just a bottom of the food chain, expendable, cog. My least my supervisor and manager are up front about the fact that this job is easy and straight forward. And best of all, NO DRAMA!!

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Monique in Alabama

30 months ago

Administrative Day!! I use to hate this dam day with a passion...I no longer work in these lousy jobs..But for those who do, try to get thru this day the best you can. I use to be honest and tell them I didn't want any flowers or anything else..i am here to pay my bills and that's it

I wish this day would disappear..it adds further insult

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kim elizabeth in Janesville, Wisconsin

30 months ago

I always hated this day too, Monique. I worked for the worst boss (and person) ever as a "Secretary" and she treated me like crap every day. A year ago I walked off the job and now I work for a company as an Admin Assistant. Same job basically but it's like working on a different planet. When I first started working here, I would practically be in tears some days because I was treated so much better. Almost a year later it's better than ever. The witch I worked for used to get me flowers every AA day and I wanted to rip them apart and throw them in her face. I have never been treated so badly by anyone and the difference in my life since getting out of there is beyond compare. I know I'm fortunate. There are so many bad bosses out there. I can't even advise looking for another job because you are mostly treated like someone's slave and "less than" on a daily basis in this kind of job.

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