Today is Administrative Professionals’ Day. Formerly, it was known as “Secretary’s Day.” It’s a made up holiday, but a holiday nonetheless, where businesses are encouraged to go out of their way to be grateful to their administrative staff. Those folks who push the papers and field the calls and generally keep everything together. They should be grateful every day, of course, but at least there’s a day set aside for simply that purpose – to recognize the impact that administrative assistants have on the daily functions of a business.
I am one of those administrative assistants. I work for a University serving the faculty members as a department assistant – handling a little of everything and anything required to keep the department going. The list of what I do would be extensive, so suffice it to say… I’m a jack of all trades.
There is one thing, however, that I want to share: I love my job. I have, hands down, the best job anyone could ask for at the best place anyone could as for. Now, before you get all “must be nice” on me, I am not bragging. I am expressing joy and gratitude.
Every morning, I wake up, and I truly look forward to my day at work. There is no specific reason or person, it’s simply the whole package. I love all of my colleagues and “bosses,” I love the atmosphere, I love the work itself. Each and every day I feel as though I am an integral part of the department, and that they would truly miss me if I were not here – and not just because of the work I do, but because of who I am. I am surrounded by people who don’t belittle me for mistakes, who are eager to teach and learn, and who respect me as a colleague, friend, and human. This happens almost never, and I truly understand the gravity of that.
I’m not going to lie and say I don’t wish it paid a little more, but one thing I’ve learned is that happiness is worth making a little less money. I’m often told (by the same faculty who never want me to leave) that I could probably be making much more money elsewhere – and I could – but I’d rather be happy. I’d rather wake up in the morning excited for work instead of fearful. I’d rather forego a brand new car in favor of my ’04 beater and a sense of fulfillment.
This job is more than just money. It is part of who I am, now. I can be who I am – with an office decorated with music posters and Optimus Prime toys. I can be freely, openly Christian and Republican – and have interesting conversations and debates about both without fearing for my job. I can attend classes, free of charge, for personal enrichment or to complete another degree – which I am currently doing. I can learn new things and teach others. I can hear different points of view and express my own. I can be creative, analytical, managerial, and scholarly all in one place, sometimes all in one day.
I know there are so many people out there who don’t have the option to make less money. I get it. I also think that for many people, they probably could (with a little budgeting) make less money and survive, they just don’t see it. Most people don’t want to drive the ’04 beater or cancel the cable or not take vacations. I get that, too. I do not begrudge anyone their choices. For me, however, I’ve found the place where I belong. And if that means foregoing the aforementioned luxuries, it is well beyond worth it.
My dad told me to “grow where I’m planted.” That’s what I intend to do. To stay in this place and plant my roots and grow taller and better. I was given a gift six July’s ago when I started my job, and I will not take it for granted.
I am also grateful for the rest of my life’s circumstances that enable me to choose this path. If it wasn’t for my Dad, who finds the beater cars and fixes them up, and who always finds the time to fix them when they have issues, I’d have to have a car payment. If it wasn’t for my mom who sends me home with bags of food every time I see her, we’d probably be eating Ramen noodles three times a week. If it wasn’t for my husband, who gets up every morning and goes to a job he doesn’t have the luxury of loving so much, we’d be in an efficiency apartment with a space heater.
And above all – if it wasn’t for the blessings God has absolutely heaped upon my life, over and over again, without me deserving them, I couldn’t be who, what, and where I am today. So truly blessed, so undeservingly blessed.
So today, I just want to say thank you. Thank you to my friends and colleagues who fill a section of my soul with fulfillment, love, and understanding. To my parents, without whom my life would be so much more difficult. To my husband, who goes to work every day despite apprehension and makes sure we have a roof over our heads. And to the Lord, from whom all of these blessings have come, and without whom I could never have the kind of happiness I have found.
I am so very grateful.
James 1:17 ESV
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.