Once a year the U.S. pauses and takes stock of the important role that the administrative assistant holds in our businesses. Their tireless and often thankless efforts are what really gets things done in this capitalist world. So in honor of them, I thought I’d take a moment to recognize this day by looking at a few of our favorite paper-pushing women in television and film:
Pam Beesly, The Office
Photo credit: Mitchell Haaseth/NBC
Who wouldn’t want to have someone like Pam Beesley (Jenna Fischer) working in his or her office? Pam is an adorable, cute-as-a-button receptionist with a high tolerance for her boss’s awkward comments. I can only imagine all the work that I wouldn’t get done trying to impress her with my office prank suggestions.
The temps of Clockwatchers
In this 1997 indie classic, Iris (Toni Collette), Margaret (Parker Posey), Paula (Lisa Kudrow) and Jane (Alanna Ubach) are temps working at a nightmare of a corporate office (the fluorescent lighting and the slow, ticking wall clock are all present and accounted for). This satire of office politics was so real to me I thought my own former co-workers would pop up over a cubicle wall at any moment.
Karen Walker, Will & Grace
Karen (Megan Mullally) wouldn’t win any awards for being Grace Adler’s (Debra Messing) hardest working assistant, but she definitely gets points for being the
most drunk funniest.
Lee Holloway, Secretary
Maggie Gyllenhaal plays Lee Holloway, a quirky gal who takes a job as a secretary in a law firm and soon develops an obsessive crush on her older boss (James Spader). Through their increasingly, shall we say, bizarre relationship, Lee follows her deepest desires to the heights of masochism.
This movie is amazing because it’s well-written and directed, and … OK, fine. Yes, I admit it is amazing because there are a lot of scenes with Maggie Gyllenhaal bound to things, crawling on the floor and wearing outfits that take "business casual" to a whole new level. Actually that is the main reason.
Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton in 9 to 5
Long before the Spice Girls had "girl power," these ladies banded together to fight against sexist, lying, bigoted bosses everywhere. Just a warning: After watching this film, you may feel invincible and have the sudden urge to kidnap and tie up your boss. But Jane, Lily and Dolly are trained, charismatic professionals — please do not try this at your job.
Emily, The Devil Wears Prada
Emily Blunt plays this non-carb eating, "hot Starbucks" ordering assistant to Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep), and Blunt is the total scene-stealer in this film. But even though it would be a dreamy idea to sit across from her all day, her character’s aggressive attitude would be enough to make any woman want to jump off the corporate ladder.
If you are an administrative
assistant professional, reward yourself for your hard work today: Take an extra 15 minutes more at lunch or buy yourself that new stapler you’ve been wanting — with office funds. Today is your day! And if you have an administrative professional working for you, then go find them, thank them and your lucky stars that they work for you.