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Admins on screen: Which flicks got it right … or wrong?

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Question: "Do you have a favorite movie or TV show about the working life of an admin? Is there any scene that has ever made you think, 'This is totally what it's like to be me at work' or even 'This is so not the way it is'?" - the editors of Administrative Professional Today

See comments below, and send your own question to editor@adminprotoday.com.

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Jan May 10, 2017 at 4:27 pm

Definitely Devil Wears Prada – I had a male version of Miranda Priestly!

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Becky H May 5, 2017 at 11:47 am

Murphy Brown, she was always firing one Admin after another. I had been an EA for about a year when that show was on and I used to joke with my Husband that I should send them my resume. She just needed the right EA.

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Heather Parrish May 4, 2017 at 4:14 pm

Donna, Josh’s admin, from The West Wing.

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Angela May 4, 2017 at 4:06 pm

What about Donna from the TV show “Suits”. She is my all time favorite EA!

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Lisa May 4, 2017 at 4:24 pm

I aspire to be Donna and especially want her wardrobe! (and her figure!)

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Kristin Early May 3, 2017 at 1:52 pm

This is television and not film, but I got a big kick out of Laura Holt pretending to be the admin for her “boss”, Remington Steele, on that MTM TV show from the 80’s. She was so obviously running everything behind the scenes and Stephanie Zimbalist and Pierce Brosnan milked it to the hilt! I love being an admin and I never feel belittled, undervalued or unappreciated by my boss(es). It’s always been a great experience.

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Debra Leonard-Porch April 21, 2017 at 5:41 pm

Two immediately spring to mind – “Working Girl” and of course, “The Devil Wears Prada.” I’ve actually lived a couple of events from both (never including the drinking / sleeping around scenes)!

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Lisa April 21, 2017 at 12:52 pm

As almost all of the others have said, the Devil Wears Prada definitely comes to mind. My current executive and I laugh about it all of the time. She loves the line that goes something like, “Please, I love it when people move at a glacier pace” or something like that.

Additionally, I loved Ugly Betty. One year for Halloween I dressed up as Ugly Betty and didn’t tell my male executive boss what I had planned but asked him to wear one of his fancy suits with French cuffs. He played along and we had a great time as Betty and Daniel. He is no longer with the company but when I recently celebrated my 20 year anniversary he included a photo of that day with his congratulatory comments.

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Dawn May 4, 2017 at 5:17 pm

I loved Ugly Betty, too!

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Kerri Perske April 21, 2017 at 11:03 am

The Devil wears Prada! That was most definitely a close representation of my life for a while. My job was not nearly as dramatic, but there were times! Funny thing is. It was a good time in my life! Sweet and Sour rolled up into one. There was something satisfying in getting (what I could consider) a compliment on something I accomplished. But the energy it took to keep myself from falling into their rabbit hole… wow!

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Judy April 21, 2017 at 10:12 am

The Dilbert comic strip always has funny strips involving the secretary. There’s a couple in particular that I like. One is about “Men with Ivy League degrees walk past the copier and ask me to make copies.” She is…”Secretary with crossbow.” The other involves the secretary being asked to sign up her boss for Quality College and she actually signs him up for Clown College (she says its a prerequisite). When I find a good one, I clip it out and post it on the window in my office.

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Eline Michelle April 21, 2017 at 9:33 am

I had the Devil Wears Prada boss only worse. That guy threw everyone under the bus, including me. He was finally forced out of the company shortly after I left.

I did, however, read a book recently. It was a “whodunit” but I guessed the ending. The executive assistant did it and I guessed because her methods were those that I used to dream of doing to the Devil boss but never did (stinks sometimes to be honest – evil could be fun). These were things like ******** with the boss’s schedule by changing dates/times of appointments, changing his emails to mess up his work, deliberately hiding/changing documents, etc. You were supposed to hate the assistant in the book but I found myself routing for her so I could get my vicarious revenge.

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Lisa April 21, 2017 at 12:48 pm

I would love to know the title of the book – even if you gave away the ending it sounds like a fun read for EAs.

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Eline Michelle April 24, 2017 at 11:14 am

SPOILER ALERT: British Author Sophie Kinsella’s book, My Not So Perfect Life. The EA is a secondary story line but it really amused me. If you enjoy it, try her book, Can You Keep a Secret? It’s about a junior marketing assistant who spills all her secrets to a stranger on a plane when she thinks it’s going to crash. He later shows up in her life and it makes for an amusing situation.

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Lisa May 4, 2017 at 4:26 pm

Thanks!

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Kate April 20, 2017 at 8:00 pm

Protocol. When people ask me about the VIP or “event” aspect of being an admin, that movie comes to mind. Especially using “personal connections” to get things done. Guests have a good time, connections make money and get press, the admin running around like crazy trying to make sure it all flows smoothly…

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Anne April 20, 2017 at 4:55 pm

After seeing all of the movies which people have mentioned above, and living most of those experiences at least once, I I would never again be an administrative assistant. Glass ceiling, low pay, most of the time or maybe some of the time, no real gratitude.

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Connie H April 20, 2017 at 4:48 pm

One of my favorites – but SO unlike the real world . . . . Nine To Five, with Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and Dabney Coleman. Makes me laugh every time I see it.

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Kate April 20, 2017 at 4:46 pm

I hear so many people say how awful the boss (Glenn Close) is in The Devil Wears Prada and I finally watched the movie and all I could think of was “They think that is bad? That’s a day in the park! I wish my boss was like that.” Try having bosses that throw glasses of water at you, others who change into their gym clothes inside their glass office, or others who take delight in breaking you down psychologically to the point where you no longer have confidence in yourself or abilities. Devil Wears Prada would be a vacation.

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Paloma May 4, 2017 at 4:17 pm

You need a new job! Have you told HR about this? In our company, those actions would get someone fired!

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Terri April 20, 2017 at 4:46 pm

The first movie that came to my mind was “Working Girl”. But M*A*S*H (Radar O’Reilly) is also a great example!

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Kerri April 21, 2017 at 11:06 am

M*A*S*H*!!
Radar is the whole reason I wanted to be an Admin!!! Seriously!!

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Connie H April 20, 2017 at 4:45 pm

One of my favorite movies, but SOOO unlike the real world is Nine to Five. Love everything about that movie, and SO thankful I have always had great bosses. It always makes me laugh.

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Eileen April 20, 2017 at 4:39 pm

Corporal Radar O’Reilly of M.A.S.H. Radar was always handing the Colonel things before he asked for them. Being able to anticipate your supervisor’s needs is a real talent.

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Jo Anna H. April 20, 2017 at 4:30 pm

The Devil Wears Prada — “Where’s that piece of paper I had in my hand yesterday?”

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Karen April 20, 2017 at 4:26 pm

Devil Wears Prada, hands down is the best. I worked for a couple of Amanda Priestlys in my day. Now I can laugh about it.

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Helen April 20, 2017 at 4:21 pm

The Devil Wears Prada — when he tells her “wake up six …” and she quits feeling sorry for herself and transforms into this awesome, bodacious, beautiful, in-control assistant.

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Rita W April 20, 2017 at 4:14 pm

Definitely the Devil Wears Prada. The seen where she had to try to get her boss on an impossible flight home. I’ve been in that before except I made it happen. LOL. Of course I didn’t have to contend with a severe storm, but it was just as stressful.

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Lynn April 20, 2017 at 4:11 pm

The Devil Wears Prada. And I’m so glad I don’t have a boss like that.

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Bonnie Low-Kramen April 20, 2017 at 4:07 pm

“Air Force One” with Harrison Ford as the President and the assistant saves the day. She knows something that no one else on the plane does which saves everyone’s life. Yep, that’s what real life assistants do. They often know better.

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Lynn A April 21, 2017 at 10:06 am

Bonnie, this answer reminded me about why I take pride in the job I do! It helps when you have a boss or Executive team member LISTEN to what you say. “Approach-ability” is something every supervisor should HAVE to master to keep their position. (Now to take off the rose-colored glasses, LOL).
WE know how good we are. :)

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Susan M April 20, 2017 at 3:56 pm

The Devil Wears Prada (the book is better!) made me laugh out loud. Some of those things have actually happened to me.

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Laura C April 20, 2017 at 4:04 pm

DEFINITELY! Actually MOST of those things happened to me, including the confidence to walk away from it all and find another adventure.

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