It’s almost time to honor the people who keep company websites running, maintain Twitter accounts or archive company documents.
Yes, it’s almost May 17, the eighth International Virtual Assistant Day, when virtual assistants will celebrate with colleagues to recognize their efforts. And from May 17-19, virtual assistants around the world will join an online convention to network and share ideas.
Holidays used to be created to observe special occurrences, such as Memorial Day to remember those who died in battle, or religious days, such as Christmas. Some started out that way and became known for other things, such as St. Valentine’s Day and Halloween. Then companies got into the act of promoting products through special days, like NASCAR Day (third Friday in May) or National Painting Week, April 15-21, sponsored by Sherwin-Williams.
And while days honoring teachers and nurses have existed for decades, organizations for less-well-known professions have been establishing more special days and asking holiday-listing websites and publications to recognize them. International Virtual Assistant Day is one of those professional holidays.
“It gives a virtual assistant an opportunity to step back and to assess their own business growth and development,” said Sharon Williams, founder of the International Virtual Assistants Convention. “It also gives them a time to develop new relationships with other VAs that they didn’t know.”
Sheila Cicchi has taken note of International Virtual Assistant Day and placed it on her site, brownielocks.com, where she has listed holidays for more than 15 years.
Recently, someone asked Cicchi if there was an observance for cleaning ladies or maids. She said there was not, at least not listed by her, yet.
“I think people want to be appreciated for their hard work,” Cicchi said. “Those that do jobs that we either take for granted or don’t know about, want a bit of a spotlight or attention at least one day a year. Call it their 24 hours of fame.”
So who says what is a holiday and what isn’t?
Chase’s Calendar of Events, which has listed holidays and celebrations around the world for more than 56 years, has become somewhat of an authority. Chase’s accepts online submissions for any holiday, but requires proof such as the history of the celebration and a website before the day is accepted and added to avoid pranks. Cicchi has similar guidelines for her list as well.
Holly McGuire, Chase’s editor-in-chief, said she recently got a call from an organization that is putting together a day for medical recruiters. According to McGuire, professional holidays help people explain what they do.
“They want to make sure people understand professions that aren’t well publicized,” McGuire said.
Husband Caregiver Day, which coincides with Father’s Day, was created by Dr. Richard Boyd in 2005 to recognize men who take care of spouses when they have become ill. And then there is National Medical Dosimetrists Day (third Wednesday in August), spawned by the American Association of Medical Dosimetrists, to honor members of the radiation oncology team who plan out the radiation doses to treat cancer patients.
“A lot of times when people are being treated for cancer they don’t even know what the dosimetrist role is,” said Stacey Wilson, director of marketing for the organization.