Admin Pro Forum

Share best-practices with your administrative peers. Pose a question, offer advice, or just be a fly on the wall.

Question: “This year, we had a number of employees bring their children to the office for “Take your child to work day.” The employees expected our admin assistant to “baby sit” their children, which interfered with her daily tasks.
I work for a small family-owned firm and don’t want any animosity with our employees, but having a bunch of kids (none of them belonging to the owners) running around the place is very disruptive. Years ago I worked for a large firm that had restrictions on the age of the children who were allowed to participate, as well as a limit to what hours they were allowed at the workplace. I want to approach the owners of the company to set guidelines for next year and would like some “workable sample guidelines” to present.” — Monica Kulawiak
Question: “Does anyone have administrative professional books or web sites they can recommend?  I'm always looking to add to my personal "library of information." The recommended reference books that I’ve been using are: “How to Say It,” “How to Say It at Work,” and “Katharine Gibbs Handbook of Business English.”  — Lisa Stich
Question: “I am an administrative assistant in a manufacturing setting. How do I keep up morale after finding out that our site is closing?” — Anonymous
Question: “We took a collection to buy gifts for our managers, thanking them for contributing to a celebration they funded out of their own pockets.  Only some of the people in our department contributed because some couldn’t afford it, and others just simply refused.  What is the proper etiquette for signing the card?  Do I have the contributors sign, or should I sign on behalf of the department?  I don’t want to leave out the people who couldn’t afford it, but I don’t want those who refused to give to get credit, especially since those who did give, gave substantially.” — Amanda
Question: “I am thinking about taking a two-day seminar for HR assistants. I have been an administrative assistant for 17 years and recently went back to school and received a bachelor’s degree in business administration. I would like to become an HR coordinator or administrative assistant in an HR department. Has anyone taken a SkillPath seminar and can you recommend it?” — Rick McCarter 
Question: “I need to type job application refusal letters. What is the best way to type these letters?  Is there a good web site with samples?" — S. Foltz
Question: “I am a secretary. We have eight directors in our agency. Two department heads routinely are late submitting their work before the deadlines. Our president knows they do this, but does nothing. When they miss their deadlines, it affects my ability to meet my deadlines. Unlike them, I do get into trouble if I miss my deadlines.  What can I do?” — Anonymous
Question: “A new manager joined our department last year. She has two assistants to help her on daily work and administration. But she repeatedly turns to me and asks for my help. I am her boss's assistant. I told my boss who explained to her that it’s not in my job description to assist her. Usually, she will stop ordering me around for a month and then she starts asking for my help again. Recently, in front of my boss and her two assistants, she asked me to order the office supplies for her during an administrative meeting. I did not totally turn her down because I don't want to hurt our working relationship. My boss is quite upset. How do I tactfully refuse her request and ensure it doesn’t continue?” — Jenny
Question: "I have to coordinate an office activity or event for April. Any suggestions for an activity with an Earth Day or spring theme?” — Kathryn McQuillen
Question: “When called for a reference, my former employer tells prospective employers all of my strengths, but it also says I was terminated.  The reason given is that the position had changed from the time I was hired five years ago and I was no longer a good fit.  I believe  I was laid off because I got a generous severance package and unemployment.  How should I answer this tough question?  I already lost one job offer because I said I was laid off, and that did not match the employer's reason, so they thought I was hiding something.  What should I say?  I was never on probation, disciplined, written up or warned so it was a big surprise when it happened.  The company did not replace me, the other five admins split my responsibilities, and the company "terminated" three other people after me.” – Anonymous