by Lisa Hamilton
Administrative Professionals’ Day (sometimes known as Secretaries Day or Admin Day) is an observance but not an official public holiday in the United States. The holiday exists to recognize the roles of secretaries, receptionists, and similar administrative professionals in support roles. It is always celebrated on a Wednesday, during Administrative Professionals Week, which is the last full week in April. The holiday originated as a way to encourage people to consider careers as administrative professionals, but it has more recently faced criticism for singling out and patronizing workers in administrative support roles.
The holiday originated as a way to encourage people to enter the field of professional administration, to counteract the shortage of administrative personnel that arose after World War II. The official period of celebration was first established in 1952, by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Charles W. Sawyer, with support from the National Secretaries Association. Originally, the week was called National Secretaries Week, and spanned from June 1st to June 7th of that year; the Wednesday of that week, June 4th, was specially designated National Secretaries Day. The week-long observance was designed to space out bookings and restaurants and other establishments where administrative professionals would be taken to lunch.
Four years later, in 1955, the observance of National Secretaries Week was moved to the last full week in April, with the Wednesday of that week designated Administrative Professionals’ Day. In 1981, the name of the week was changed to Professional Secretaries Week; this paralleled the rename of the National Secretaries Association to Professional Secretaries International during the same year. In 1998, the organization’s name was changed again to the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP). Following this, the holiday’s name was changed to Administrative Professionals Week in 2000.
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