What aspect of your admin job is most challenging?

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Question: Let's get ready for Administrative Professionals Week, April 23 - 27, 2012.  We want to hear from you! What aspect of your job do you find most challenging? What steps have you taken to overcome those challenges? —The editors

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Melodie Turk February 4, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Sometimes I think the biggest challenge effecting my work as an assistant, is executives taking on too much workload and not realizing there isn’t enough time in anyone’s calendar, to make it happen.

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Sandra Mcleod/Pike April 13, 2012 at 9:10 am

I was NEVER in the loop until I put my foot down and became the squeekie wheel! No more double booked conf room, no more supplies double ordered, no more co workers coming into MY space univited! ( I sit at front desk) You need to stand up for your self and let your co workers know you have talents and you will not be patted on the head and told to go back to your desk. Yes that happened to me! lol I now find I have a sense of enpowerment and respect because I stood up for ME. Thanks for letting me vent.

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Anonymous May 25, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Where I work, that gets you labeled as “unpleasant”, “unapproachable”, or a troublemaker and gets you managed out the door (or at least they TRY to.)

It’s a great idea, and I have tried standing up for myself, but it has only made my situation worse.

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Not In The Know April 12, 2012 at 4:22 pm

I agree with Susan that not being in the loop can be a problem that directly affects my work. If I do not know “it,” how can I implement it? Communication has always been the biggest problem in my organization. Co-workers sometimes feel that the information is confidential but when you work on the administrative side, it can have a time-consuming effect. For example, I really need to know when someone calls off, has been granted a “special arrangement” with their time, or is on worker’s compensation so I pay them (or not pay them) correctly. Typically, I then have to re-do because I did not know something I should have known. We also get a daily report of who is not working at their assigned post. However, it only states that they are not where they are supposed to work so…..in reality, they can be at a meeting at a different building, sick, on worker’s comp or vacationing. Not all that helpful. Thanks for letting me vent!

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Susan April 10, 2012 at 10:24 am

I agree with you Gina. In sum, I’d say “getting in the loop” (and staying there) while also getting my work done is a big challenge for me too.

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Gina April 9, 2012 at 10:49 am

I would have to say my biggest challenge is probably people too (I can get my work done and I don’t procrastinate except for filing). I hate when team members forget that I’m here to help, that I have my own job duties but some of them involve letting me know when I need to schedule something or get things ready for meetings. I also hate when they don’t even bother to ask me to do something that I can do (so that I never get told what is going on or get asked for ideas). I especially hate when I don’t get involved in a new project that I end up doing the majority of the work for in the end or that I already do the old version of the program. Or not telling me when something gets changed that effects our 300 employees and then I look dumb when someone asks me a question about it.

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anonymous April 7, 2012 at 11:42 am

Biggest challenge: Procrastinating /organizing tasks that I find boring.
Steps taken to overcome: 1)Motivating myself by reading business advice books/articles like “18 minutes” “Organizing for Dummies” “The Happiness Project” “Drive” etc 2) trying to make the project more interesting to find a better way. 3) listen to headphones while doing mindless tasks ……..

Great advice to follow (I heard Magic Johnson tell Tavis Smiley the secret of his success) “Don’t waste a lot of time trying to perfect your weaknesses.” A much better strategy is to build on your strengths instead to work around your weaknesses (So my strength would be a love of reading, willingness to try new ideas to make boring tasks more interesting)
Recently faced w/ an overwhelmingly large project I’d procrastinated, I put into practice Ann Lamott advice in “Bird by Bird”. In it she described her father’s interaction with her 10 year old brother when he was trying to complete a school report on birds. He’d had weeks to research the report and had does lots of reading but waited til the last minute for the writing/classification/etc and was paralyzed by despair the night before it was due…surrounded by books and articles and pictures of hundreds of birds, he didn’t know where to start. His father put a comforting arm around his shoulder and said, “Just take it bird by bird, Buddy.” Reading that one line the next day enabled me to methodically get through a huge pile of filing I’d let accumulate.

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J_Mo April 7, 2012 at 10:25 am

I’m throwing in another vote for a big challenge being working with people. In my case (and this seems to be common all over my company,) people just don’t seem to know how to use an admin. They don’t show any interest in getting to know me or getting to know what my skills are, so they just…don’t give me work.

I will hopefully be moving on to a better situation soon, because I know this is not normal.

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D_Mo April 16, 2012 at 9:32 am

I right with you J_Mo, my new supervisor says she doesn’t need an assistant and she has defiantly proofen it over the past 10 months. However she is interm and I’m holding in here till my new supervisor is hired this June. It’s been a tough year not being in the loop and having to watch while others do my job. If the next one is the same way I’m out of here after 21 years.

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Sherry April 6, 2012 at 2:25 pm

My biggest challenge as an Executive Assistant has been in completing all my tasks. I have found that by forming as many good relationships as possible throughout the company, when I am in a jam, I can usually call someone who will either be able to help me, will have information I need or can direct me to someone who can assist in some way. This usually saves valuable time. So much of your success in business is about the relationships you form.

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guest April 6, 2012 at 8:37 am

The biggest challenge I face every day is dealing with people. It seems that people do not work together any more. Everyone is looking out for their own interest – no team work. People will say, “I’ll take care of that” and then it is not done so I end up checking and re-checking. Half the time, I need to do it any way. Very frustrating. I have to take people at their word but know that I’ll have to make sure things are completed.

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aubiegirl April 9, 2012 at 10:42 am

Exactly. It’s just a lot easier to do it yourself. My boss tells me to share my job duties. Why? I do the mindless tasks no one else wants to do. The team doesn’t want to know how to do my job so they can help. It’s very fustrating especially when you are working very hard and find your co-workers sitting around surfing on the internet.

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Amy April 6, 2012 at 8:29 am

I find setting up meetings with our physicians and administrators who have busy calendars to be a huge challenge. As I work in a healthcare setting, these physicians all have different schedules and trying to find a time that works for three, four or more people to meet is a huge challenge. It can take up to 3-4 weeks to set up a meeting for one hour. Then of course, emergencies happen and either one person doesn’t show up or I am rescheduling yet again. I never look forward to booking these types of meetings!

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Amy April 6, 2012 at 9:53 am

I also work in healthcare and have the same trouble! Sometimes no matter how much you beg, negotiate, and cry it’s still impossible to get something set up.

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