Don't piss off the administrative assistant. It's just that simple. They have far more power than you think in corporate america. In regards to that silly ladder metaphor, they are the one holding the ladder stable down at the bottom and they've got the power to start shaking the hell out of the adder on your way up. (You'll note in my more accurate metaphor, they would be piloting the helicopter)
I've worked with a few administrative assistants, or "admins" as we've nicknamed them, because in corporate america God forbid we say an entire sentence of full words when we could have acronyms and abbreviations (I'll save that for another post). I've been very lucky in my career in regards to admins. For a brief time I filled a dual role that had me answering phones and being an admin for a few hours out of my day. I must say I learned quite a bit in that time but it was a journey to see that revelation. At first I thought I was "too good" for a role like this, yes I was hired at entry-level, but I surely don't deserve to do this when I have a college degree! (Graduating during the recession didn't make it easy to land my 80K/year dream job). When I got over myself I had a few realizations about admins:
1. They usually are some of the hardest working people in a company
2. They usually are older women, who have standing nail and hair appointments
3. They could moon-light as a phone sex operator with their soft spoken and kind voice
4. The enjoy having lots of office desk flare and 4,509,093 pictures of their grandchildren (Again, I'll save this for another post)
5. They've got all the blackmail and gossip, and if you catch them on a pissed off day they will spill it all.
Be careful with your admin, they are anchoring your ladder.