I have never been one. Nor have I ever had one, although I certainly have worked with several of them. And I can tell you, that secretaries are too often  under-appreciated and respected. And while we all want to feel appreciated, perhaps more than that, we want to be respected, regardless of our job title or job description. Here is a group of individuals who certainly deserve to have a week and  a day in their honor.

Today is Administrative Professionals Day, part of Administrative Professionals Week. It is nothing new. In fact, it's been around since 1952, but the name was changed from 'secretaries' to 'administrative professionals' in 2000.

The International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP)  defines these workers as individuals who are responsible for administrative tasks and coordination of information in support of an office-related environment and who are dedicated to furthering their personal and professional growth in their chosen profession." In other words, it is a thankless, stress-filled, high-expectation, and often times low-pay kind of job.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor there are more than 4 million administrative professionals at work in the U.S., and another 9 million in various other support roles.

Here are some ideas from the IAAP on how to celebrate Administrative Professionals Week and to honor these individuals.

*Gift suggestions include business-related items, such as personalized business cards, desktop name-plate, gift certificate, ergonomically correct accessories, computer hardware/software upgrade, or monetary bonus for exemplary performance.

*Membership and participation in professional organizations

*Registration for appropriate conferences, seminars, and continuing education workshops.

* Tuition reimbursement to attend college classes and work toward a degree.

*Attainment of professional certification

Great ideas, but let me add a couple of more practical ideas to the list. How about expressing thanks and appreciation verbally on a daily basis to these individuals who work so hard to make others around them be successful. Make them feel appreciated and respected on the other 249 working days in the year. Or maybe send them home a couple of hours early-with pay-- once in a while. Or maybe let them come in to work a couple of hours LATER - with pay.