Escaping the Female Ghetto that is Administrative Work

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Viper28k in Charlotte, North Carolina

18 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

18 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

18 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

18 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

12 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

7 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@icloud.com in Reynoldsburg, Ohio

6 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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Jmp58@icloud.com in Reynoldsburg, Ohio

6 months ago

(Continued from last post)

It seems that you all have "settled" for something that you hate and your attitudes about the work you do comes out in your performance. Respect is earned. Have respect for yourselves and the work you do, and you won't need other's opinions to make you feel good about yourself. I know I'm excellent at what I do, and if my co-workers and bosses didn't ever provide any positive feedback at all, I'll still know that I'm excellent at what I do. And that's all the matters!

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NoMoreAABS in Charleston, South Carolina

5 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

2 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

1 month 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

1 month 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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Ms Doppelganger in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1 month 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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Ms Doppelganger in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1 month 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

1 month 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

1 month 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

1 month 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

1 month 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

1 month 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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