Why We Value our Administrative Assistants
A lot goes on within the offices of an engineering firm. While BFW/Marcum is a well-oiled machine, someone’s gotta supply the oil. We have our wonderful administrative assistants Tonya Wurth, Tamra Myers, and Danielle Klotz to thank for that!
Yet, we realize we don’t actually know everything they do in the office. We’re ashamed to say that we enjoy the fruits of their organization without completely appreciating the process. We sat down with the three of them and asked a simple question, “What’s your day like?”
Tonya Wurth: Resident List Maker and Checker-Offer
For me, a day that doesn’t start at 5am feels like a missed opportunity. I make sure I get up bright, early, and ensure I thank God for another day before I even get out of bed. After that, I take a look at my to-do list.
You see, there’s nothing that gives me more joy than checking something off my list. Give me 3 or 4 things and I’m happy as a clam. I enjoy breaking my day up into tasks and get a lot of satisfaction when I can say I’ve complete those tasks.
Mornings in the Office
The first thing I do when I get into the office is turn my computer on and see who is out of the office that day. I need to make sure our employees are accounted for, so when a client calls in I have an answer for them.
I then go about my day of sifting through a mountain of work. I have to catch up on emails, answer phones, greet clients, make copies, scan documents, work on reports, head to the post office, run errands, and everything else that is thrown my way. As an administrative assistant, I spin a great many plates. Not one can crash to the floor!
Finally, I get a break from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm. I like to go home and eat if I have the time. Other times I may ask a friend to lunch or run errands.
I’d like to say things slow down a bit after the morning rush. However, there’s no end to the administrative tasks that need to be finished. Some of them are time-sensitive, like doing the firm’s deposit, so I need to make sure I’m on-the-ball. If that wasn’t enough, also shipping package items and dropping off to Fed-Ex, which comes in the afternoon. I never have time to rest when I’m on the clock but I like it that way.
After work, I try my best to put all the office stuff behind me. Inevitably, while I’m making dinner something I forgot to do will pop into my head. That’s why lists are so important—before I forget again I’ll jot the thing down and work on a list for the next day.
I’ll watch a movie or TV show like most people but what I really enjoy doing is collecting recipes on Pinterest.
Tamra Myers: Wearer of Many Hats and Dog Mom
You know, kudos to the early risers out there. I’m really impressed even if I have absolutely zero interest in following you in your early-morning regimen. Me? I like to sleep in as late as possible. If I don’t smack the snooze button three times, then there must be a fire in the house somewhere.
I mitigate the late sleeping with being highly organized the night before. My clothes are laid out, my lunch is made, and everything I need for the office is set aside and ready. Barring any surprises, a pit crew at the Daytona 500 has nothing on my efficiency.
Mornings in the Office
By now, everyone knows to avoid me before I’ve had my coffee. I said, I’m not a morning person, right? However, once I have an adequate amount of caffeine running through my bloodstream I’m the most pleasant person you’ll meet!
While an administrative assistant wears many hats, an administrative assistant at an engineering firm wears the hats, a pair of sturdy gloves, some steel-toed boots, and so on. What I mean to say is, our job at the firm isn’t a typical administrative role—we need to be able to think like engineers, interpret their requests, and do this all quickly.
I’m pretty tech-savvy so I do a lot of the technical work that comes in, while also doing the typical administrative stuff like filing, sending invoices, answering phones, etc.
Taking a break in the middle of the day is essential to my wellbeing. I advocate often that we should all take time to get out of the office at least once a day—it helps to clear your thoughts, changes your perspective, and refreshes you.
I take my lunch hour and either go home or walk through the park near our office. Every Tuesday, I might have lunch with a bunch of my girlfriends who are all already retired. They give me advice but more importantly they allow me to vent! Whether it’s life advice or work advice, I appreciate it all. Without them, I’m sure I’d be less centered.
You can never anticipate the workload at an engineering firm. It comes in waves and ramps up seemingly all-at-once at times. I do know that, when the designers are busy, I have more time for myself. Once they’ve finished their part of a project, that’s when I get swamped.
Believe it or not, Friday is our busiest day. You’d think, by the end of the week, things would slow down! Friday is typically when we wrap up projects and deliver them to the client—it’s a fast-paced day with a lot riding on it! Whatever the case, it makes me appreciate the weekend much more.
At the end of the day, I prefer to go home and forget about work. My husband and I have been empty nesters for several years and have a small dog that is our “child”. My co-workers make fun of me because our dog has her own bedroom. We have a son and a daughter who are both married. We also have two grandsons that are the light of our lives. When I get home, I like to de-stress by reading or working puzzles. We have a beautiful back yard with a swing and that is where you will find me if the weather permits. I do not like to talk on the phone when I get home because of being on the phone throughout the day at work. To anyone who knows reading this: texting is much preferred.
Danielle Klotz: Masterful Child Wrangler and Seasonal Disney Princess
The start of my day varies greatly in the summer versus when school is in session. In the summer, I wake up to a nice, quiet house, with the morning sunbeams streaming through the window and the birds singing in the trees. The only ones needing something are my cats who just want a pat on the head and their breakfast. I can leisurely get dressed, make a to-do list, think through my day, eat breakfast, kiss my husband goodbye and stroll out the door, taking my time, waving to other drivers down the road while singing to the radio. It’s pretty much a scene from a Disney movie. Okay, maybe I exaggerated a smidge, but it’s glorious compared to the following:
When school is in session it’s a different story. The morning goes something like this:
- I get up and go upstairs to wake children who are “sooooooo tiiiiiiiireddddd.”
- I go back downstairs and get myself ready, just to find that the kids are still not up.
- I yell upstairs that I will be leaving in “x” minutes and hear the kids actually get up and get ready in frantic speed.
- They come barreling down the stairs…needing last-minute parent signatures on papers, breakfast, a certain shirt they can’t find, or ask where something is that they HAVE to have for school. An unplanned search for some missing item is inevitable. We find it. Hallelujah! But there’s no time to celebrate…we gotta go. Now!
- Tell the kids to get in the van 5 times because apparently they didn’t hear me the first four. We speed out the door at lightning speed.
- Finally, everyone is accounted for and in the van with all their belongings (we think). No birds are singing, or if they are, no one can hear them because everyone is talking at the same time and can’t hear themselves.
- I drive to their school wondering if I can cut any minutes off my drive because I know if there’s a line to turn right on Main Street, I’m cutting it close to get to work on time.
- Drop off kids and say I love yous….and then pull into the work parking lot.
- It’s 7:29 am. Exhale. I made it. It’s already been a long day.
Morning in the Office
I go around the office and open the blinds, turn on lights in the front, turn on copiers, check paper levels, say good morning greetings to co-workers, straighten the supplies to make sure everything is in its place and organized for the day, etc.
I then sit down and read through emails and prioritize what needs to be done and/or who needs what first. I make a to-do list. People really shouldn’t get as excited about crossing things off a to-do list as I do… I know it’s weird, but all my fellow list makers out there will understand (shout out to Tonya!)
I should mention that when school is in session and I’ve had a “no birds singing” kind of morning, I often add to my morning routine a cup of Kroger French Vanilla Cappuccino for some extra pep (pro tip: it’s the best ever and you should try it).
My workday is filled with wearing many hats: organizer, admin, listener, researcher, errand-runner, filer of documents and files, finder-of-things, editor, shopper, helper, friend, re-stocker, and most recently…. The disinfector-extraordinaire for the office. I love my job and the people I work for. I feel like we care about each other and are a work family. I enjoy doing my part to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible to keep us all efficient and working well together.
My lunch routine varies by the day. Sometimes I bring lunch and eat at the office, and others I go home to eat or out with my husband or a friend. Remember my to-do list? I have one for home stuff too, and my lunch break is often the perfect time to do a few of those errands.
The busy-ness of the office comes in spurts. There are phone calls, meetings, and everyone’s ins and outs are different every day, which keeps things exciting. I like that. Some days, I look at my to-do list in the morning and wonder how it’s all going to get done, but then by the afternoon, realize I’m caught up and there’s still some time left in the day. Other days, it’s the opposite and can be a race to get a project finished, or a project may span multiple days.
Once I get off work, I go from taking care of the office to taking care of my family. Depending on the night, my husband and I are juggling taking kids to/from their extracurricular or school functions, making dinner, church, homework, bath times, house renovation, playtime outside, laundry, errands, pets, etc. Once the kids are asleep, I sometimes try to watch a show. Sometimes I make it through one, and other times I wake up, uncertain of the hour, to a message I can’t read because my contacts are glued to my eyeballs that says “Are you still watching Netflix?” and I wonder how long that message has been on the screen!