Today is the 14th of February; the Feast day of Saint Valentine; the celebration of love.
With aroha in the air, I write this blog post with strong affection for my administrative skills. Yes, I have loathed you in the past and at times I found you to be boring, repetitive, routine, and devoid of joy. But today I will put you on a pedestal.
Administrative skills are those that are required for success in administration, such as communicating, computing, organizing, planning, scheduling, or staffing. They are often performed ‘behind the scenes’ and carried out with little fanfare or appreciation.
When I graduated from university I undertook many admin jobs as this was the easiest transition into the workforce (sorry high powered HR job you would have to wait! Well, it never happened in the end anyway…). My experiences at university taught me how to follow instructions carefully and I had no qualms in processing documents and spreadsheets.
Having written many essays over the years, I also felt comfortable composing emails and sending messages to clients and staff. Entering data and typing quickly? No problem. I was of the generation that grew up with computers and using gadgets and devices.
After many years of using these skills, I felt unchallenged and got tired of the routine nature of the work. Where was the creativity? Even though I had a natural ability to organise and plan things and events, especially if it was in the best interest of others, it still felt hollow. By the time I transitioned out into a role that didn’t rely on admin skills, I was feeling jaded and could happily not use them ever again!
Many years later as a career practitioner and manager, I still undertake admin tasks but these form a much smaller part of my skills tool box. I must confess that being able to complete them in small doses has been a godsend – completing a spreadsheet or entering data totally appeals to the organised part of my brain. I zone-out and I love the sensation of collating the information quickly, presenting it succinctly and tidily.
Whilst I don’t derive natural pleasure or excitement from my admin skills, I acknowledge their usefulness and ability to enhance my work. They truly are a transferrable skill and I know I can depend on them in this changing world of work. Once upon a time I would have been too embarrassed to highlight my admin skills, but now I see them as a necessary part of my self.
Today I’m showing some love to my less favourite skills and I encourage you to do the same too!