2023 Update: Administrative Professionals Day is April 26, 2023. Some great gifts to get for your administrative professional (other than cash, of course) include:
In the past, we’ve taken polls on administrative professionals day gifts before, talked about how and what to delegate to your assistant, and swapped stories of amazing assistants — our roundup of gifts for your assistant may also be of help to you.
Comments on our thread last year had some great ideas for what to get male assistants.
Pictured: The Light of My Life™ Bouquet by FTD®, available at FTD.com for $39-$85.
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Without this post every year, I would 100% forget this day. Thank you SO much Kat.
My supervisor and I take our office of 10 staff out for lunch and split the tab between the two of us. Everyone seems to enjoy it.
I hope you come back to read the rest of the comments…
Another take, which resonates with my own experience…
I completely agree with this and just came here to post the link myself.
I agree with this.
Agree. I’m a lawyer now but once upon a time was a legal secretary. I’d much rather have a bonus and pay bump when everyone else gets one than trinkets (often junk you feel you need to keep) on this day.
I’m also reminded of the discussion we had here a while back about offering to take “support staff” out to lunch as thanks. When I was a paralegal, the last thing I wanted as a gesture of gratitude was to spend even more time with my bosses. When I even got a lunch break at all, I wanted to choose what I did with it, and it still strikes me as patronizing when higher-ups assume that lunch with them is some kind of special treat. If you have a unique relationship or real networking offers, fine, but usually that’s not the case.
Agree with this as well. As a young woman attorney supported by several admins who are much older than I am, it feels patronizing as all heck for me to plop a card and an orchid on someone’s desk. Especially when I get paid twice as much as they do with 15 years’ less experience, and when I watch a lot of the older male attorneys condescend to staff and treat them like crap.
Must be Tuesday
I agree with this too.
This times a million. I was a secretary in a former life and hated what was then called Secretaries’ Day for all these reasons.
Anonymous for this
I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who hated Secretaries’ Day (by that or any other name). Show me respect year-round. I’m hoping to be done with it permanently, though apparently paralegals are sometimes recognized on Administrative Assistants’ Day?? This is not good news for me as I’m considering going back to school for paralegal training…
I worked as a secretary, and I wish people had just skipped giving me those “gifts” when tied to “celebration” of that day.
I cannot believe people are so ungrateful. the idea that assistants wouldn’t be appreciative of a lunch, or flowers, or even a trinket is just beyond me. its a gift. no one has to give it to you.
I’m sort of surprised as well. While I’m not a fan of Hallmark holidays, I don’t know that it’s necessarily bad to remind me (a generally forgetful person) to thank the people who make my life easy in millions of little ways.
FWIW, our support staff each received a generous gift card and we catered lunch for the entire group.
No. A lunch with a boss in NOT a gift.
I hope people realize that in SOME offices, people view admins as colleagues and friends. I do. I take her out to a high end restaurant and we spend a nice lunch catching up and having a laugh. I’m pretty good at reading social cues and think I would catch on if she didn’t enjoy it. I also get her flowers and a gift card. Sorry you guys work in offices where you don’t enjoy your colleague’s company….
TOTALLY agreed. I hated this so much when I was a secretary in my misspent youth. Ugh! Recognize my hard work with a raise or an extra day off or something. I hated being singled out in this way.
Those of you who are giving generous gift cards, keep doing that. That would have gone over better. Money was pretty darn tight on a secretary’s salary and a Target or Amazon gift card would have been great. Flowers and a reminder that secretaries are a different kind of employee than everyone else? Patronizing.
“a reminder that secretaries are a different kind of employee than everyone else? Patronizing”
This. Is there any other profession we honor with a day? I can’t think of one. (ok, president’s day…). I think that’s why it rings as patronizing.
Seriously, recognize your employees with competitive salaries and good benefits (even if they are women).
I agree. As women, we MUST stick together or otherwise, the men will stick it to us, literaly and figueatively. For so long, we have been objectified, so now that we are finaly getting into positin’s of responsibility, we should NOT forget from where we came from. Assistant’s is all we would be if the last generation of women did NOT stick up for themselves. I am watching the TV show Mad Men, and the men were so sexist to the women. When Joan and Peggy (who started as secretaries) went to the other ad agency, they all kept stareing at Joan’s boobie’s and making sexist comments. FOOEY on them. It was all they could do to keep from yelling at them, but that was the 1970’s, long before I was born, and proababley long before other’s here were born. But it was b/c of them that we are in the position’s we are today. Even Peggy, who is not that pretty, had men sexueally molest her, so it was clear that you did NOT have to be pretty or have a nice tuchus and boobie’s for men to mistreat women. Some of that is still real today. Men continue to whistle at us and make sucking noises, b/c they want us to think we are Inferior. We are NOT, and we should not put down anyone who is an assistant.
I will take Lynn out to lunch and take Mason also. Even tho Mason and Lynn are sleepeing together, it is an opportunity to make sure that she is recognized for doeing work ON the JOB, even tho she is doeing things with Mason OFF the job that I do NOT approve of. So I say YAY! to the Assistant’s worldwide. Especially the FEMALE Assistant’s! YAY!!!!!
Would a $50 gift card to my assistant’s favorite restaurant be appropriate? Is that too much/ not enough? I gave her a $100 Amex gift card for Christmas, but this is my first Administrative Professionals day in this role and I’m not sure what’s typical. I am a first year in NYC Biglaw.
How much does a nice dinner for two (or lunch, if that’s when she goes there) cost? If it’s $30, then $50 is generous. If it’s $150, then the $50 is a little silly.
This is a good consideration, thanks. I think $50 is enough but I’ll double check their menu.
KYO – in mine, people typically team up (all attorneys who share that assistant chip in) – so for mine it’s a total of $100 for 4 people – flowers and gift card.
Thanks, this didn’t occur to me. Nobody has reached out about it but I’ll check with the second year associate my assistant also supports.
I share my secretary with a senior associate and a partner. The first year I was at this firm, I arranged for flowers to be delivered for a price agreed upon by me and the other two attorneys. Partner kept promising to pay me his share but never did, so I haven’t included him in subsequent gift-giving. The past 3 years, senior associate and I have split the cost of flowers. This year, senior associate told me she doesn’t want to participate because it’s a stupid fake holiday and she doesn’t want me to get secretary anything either because it would make senior associate look bad.
I told SA if she was concerned about looking bad then she should contribute. I agree that it’s a stupid fake holiday, but it’s also pretty sh*tty to not even acknowledge my secretary on a day that all the other secretaries will be getting little gifts and notes of thanks. I mean, is it really such a horrible thing to show some appreciation? I think I’ll just get secretary a gift card instead of flowers or something that would rub SA the wrong way. Thoughts?
I think you’re in the right here. Honestly, if I were in your secretary’s shoes and every other secretary got gifts/cards and I got nothing, I’d be paranoid that my associates didn’t like me/layoffs were coming/etc. It just sets up bad thoughts and anxiety.
Every year, the five attorneys mine supports get her a flower arrangement (most of the assistants get flowers and those who don’t lose face to the other assistants, so the flowers are important), and a $250 gift card to her favorite mall. We also take her out to lunch at a place of her choosing if we can manage the schedule. For Christmas, it’s $625 gift card to that mall, plus lunch.
I get my paralegal flowers and take her out to lunch. I’m also sending her to a professional development seminar our chamber is putting on and will probably pick up Starbucks for her as well. I don’t love celebrating the day, but it is a huge thing in our government building and she makes my world go round, so I would hate for her to feel left out. I did encourage all the other department heads to send their clerical and paraprofessional staff to the seminar as well. One of the big complaints in our building is that administrative staff rarely gets training and department heads are at resorts for conferences several times a year.