The One Powerful Way to Dismantle Stigma NOW


What is the Stigma?

I’ve been given the unique opportunity of proposing my own title. VP of administration sounds like a great title, right? My boss was brilliant, but he couldn’t understand why I insisted he remove the last two words: of administration.

Administration is necessary in all businesses. However, small and medium businesses struggle to find the right structure for their administrative office staff. They are the Steady Eddy’s, Reliable Rita’s, and Lean-on Lisa’s of the workplace. They pick up pieces behind messy managers, keep office supplies stocked, make sure everyone gets paid and, in short, “keep us all straight” behind the scenes. Admin is necessary, but it is not glamorous.

When I made the leap into the executive team, I did not want to be seen as the “Steady Eddy” behind the scenes. I wanted a voice. As a woman in construction, I was already passed over during conversations—assumed to be the receptionist and dismissed by old-school customers. Tacking the word administration to my title would only confirm the perception that the woman was the silent caretaker of the organization.

The discomfort that I felt around the word admin is what inspired me to write Buried in Business. Why is admin such a dirty word? Where did it lose its respectability and—more importantly—how do we get it back?

While Buried in Business goes into detail about the pitfalls of stigma and the Adminnovate Model that helps restore respectability, I want to leave you with one powerful and easy way to dismantle stigma now.


But Not MY Organization

You might be thinking: we don’t have a stigma around admin in our organization.

It’s difficult to recognize the stigma unless you’ve worked on both sides: as the admin and managing the admin. Even if your organization is progressive enough not to have a stigma, many industries still do. It’s difficult to prevent the stigma from infiltrating your company and people. If you can begin recognizing and purposefully rethinking the way we think and talk about admin support, your impact can have a multiplying effect. The culture and production shift that happens when admin are empowered distinguishes your company from the norm. 


The One Powerful Way

So whether you believe there is stigma in your organization or you want to fight the systemic stigma throughout your industry, here is the one powerful way to begin fighting it today.

Admin is everyone’s job.

It’s that simple. When admin is part of everyone’s job description and expectations, it’s simply part of the job. Everyone works primarily in their strengths and responsibilities, but everyone also has an element of administration for which they are responsible.  Everyone is expected to maintain a level of organization and documentation. There may still be a need for dedicated administrators in the organization, but the respectability is much higher when everyone has ownership in some level of administration.

It’s no longer the bullhonkey that no one wants to do. Admin is no longer a burden to slough off to the assistant. 

And the good news is that they are probably already doing this! You don’t need to change job descriptions or reassign responsibilities. We just need to recognize it.

So say it loud.

Admin is everyone’s job.

Say it proud.

Admin is everyone’s job.

Say it often.

Admin is everyone’s job.


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