Admin Pro Forum

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

Question: “I supervise a young secretary/receptionist who has been with the agency for two years. She is a pleasant person, but I have to constantly remind her how to properly handle security procedures, how to ask questions so she doesn’t send people to the wrong department, how to handle the front desk when more than one person is waiting, how to do basic purchase requests and the list goes on. I have given her a detailed SOP and sent her to admin training classes to improve her skills. But she doesn’t improve and she continues to mishandle situations. What do I do next — I truly want her to succeed?” — Jo

Question: “I work in a health and safety department and need to purchase a software package that will track training and annual due dates, etc. Can anyone recommend a good one?" — Anonymous
Question: “I have worked with my boss for 20 years, and he will retire in June after 33 years with the organization. He is moving out of state. He will receive a clock as the traditional retirement gift from the organization. I would personally like to give him a gift, but I have no idea what is appropriate. A gift certificate would have to be from a national chain, and a present would have to be small enough to transport to his new home and not become clutter. Any suggestions?” — Anonymous
Question: “What do you use to easily remove old labels from file folders designated to be re-used?” — Karen Dow
Question: "I need a user-friendly org chart software that will convert or copy easily to PowerPoint. Any suggestions?" — Alicia Vandgrift

Question: “I work for a government agency that coordinates our service delivery with private industry partners. Because of this partnership, we have staff in our building who are not state employees and answer to different management. The dress code in our building is “business casual,” and the partners agreed to this policy. How do I address women who wear inappropriate low-cut blouses and very short skirts?  Approaching the appropriate supervisor hasn’t helped.  The “corporate culture” in that company is different from our state agency. Should I go to our administrator?  Am I making too much of this?  The purpose of this partnership is to help lower-income and unemployed people find jobs, or career advancement, through job search activities, training, résumé and interviewing skill coaching. I don’t see this as setting a good example to our clientele. — Rita
Question: “I work for a small firm and we receive calls from telemarketers who use the president’s first name, asserting that they know each other.  My boss has given me the liberty to gain as much information about the call in order to prepare him for it, or to end the call.  How do I achieve this task nicely and  professionally?” — Designated call screener
Question: “I currently work full time, but I would like to reduce my schedule to 32 hours per week, working four, eight-hour days. (I am 65 years old.) I am able to complete my duties in this time frame, as I know what is needed and how to get it done in the shortest time. I have presented this proposal to my manager twice in less than six months, stating that I would be willing to "occasionally" work more hours or five days a week when needed. My manager has not responded.  Do you have any suggestions or comments?” — Anonymous
Question: “I have enrolled in a community college to obtain a project management certificate. Looking at job bulletins, I find that some companies are seeking administrative professionals with this type of training. Do you think this is an in-demand skill that will accelerate my career?  Do you have this type of training or are thinking about professional development in this area?” — Sharon
Question: Administrative Professionals Week is April 19-25, and we’re collecting a list of the craziest things bosses have asked administrative assistants to do. What’s the most unusual or bizarre thing you’ve been asked to do?  Give us your best stories. We’ll compile the best and publish them in our Administrative Professional Today newsletter in April.— Forum editor