We would like to ask your indulgence as we depart from our usual practice of sharing news about non-profits. This week we are highlighting the work of hundreds of unsung heroes in our non-profit community – our administrative peers and colleagues.
We take it for granted that there will always be toner in the photocopier. Sometimes the toner is low, and we huff and puff about the injustice of having to install the new toner cartridge ourselves. But, how many of us really know what type of toner it is, how the toner is ordered, or who brings it to our office? Same goes for envelopes, paper, and office supplies, and even dish soap, coffee, and cutlery. Don’t even get us started on who knows how to update the phone tree or get light bulbs changed.
Last week someone cleaned our storage space. You can see the entire floor (a goal that generations of staff have aspired to since our building opened in 1911.) The same office magicians who make logical order out of the strange collection of goods that we acquire (1 punch bowl, dozens of banker boxes, numerous brochures, banners, and signs, 30+ photo albums, 1 child size wellington boot, 1 30-cup coffee urn etc.) can also mail merge using every version of Office since Windows 98 and tell us why our fields do not align with our data sheets. They know ‘who’ is ‘where’ and ‘when’ ‘they’ will return, and they always find a way to get a message to ‘someone’ who can’t easily be found.
Administrative staff stay calm during the seas of chaos, make proverbial silk purses out of sow’s ears, update and make current a torrent of programs, systems, and services, act as office advocates, counsellors, and confidants, and make people feel like they matter whether it be in person, on the phone, and via e-mail. Administrative staff take care of the small and large details that make a meaningful difference and we wanted to say we notice their work and appreciate their efforts.
The story is inspired by Louise Keith, a kind and wonderful colleague who has spent the past 12 years wrangling staff and volunteers, and creating order and welcome at Volunteer Victoria. Louise – despite our loud protests and denial – is retiring at the end of May, 2013. While we wish Louise well and congratulate her wholeheartedly on her retirement, we know that our office lives will not be the same without her. Thanks Louise. We will miss you!