Admin Pro Forum

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

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Question: “We have a long-term temporary worker who manages to get the job done, but the collateral damage is staggering! She is loud, abrupt and downright rude. The only people who like her are the salespeople she supports because she does provide them tangible results. How can I ask her to conform more to office behavior without causing a strain on our working relationship?” —Kristin
Question: “We have an employee who has been going through a difficult divorce for the past year and a half. Lately, she has been making more and more mistakes and it seems she needs training on things we all should know and that she once knew. She seems overly sensitive to basic constructive criticism and is beginning to play a bit of the blame game. I think she needs a vacation, but she refuses to take one. Any suggestions on how to get her through this divorce without sacrificing job performance? Or is there such thing as a “mandatory” vacation?” — Jocelyn
Question: “I’m responsible for selecting new office furniture for the VP of my department (this is who I report to) along with furniture for the Director and 10 managers. I’ve been told a dark wood color and straight lines. They want it to look “intimidating” and professional. Suggestions?” — Randall S. Cook
Question: “When I started at my company, I worked for two senior execs. Now, I also work for the president. I handle all of their office and personal work, which includes personal errands for the president. On my review, it was stated that I am not enthusiastic about everything that I am asked to do. I’ve never refused a request, but I don’t want enthusiasm to be interpreted that I need more to do. I am frequently complimented by customers and co-workers on my helpfulness. I also work overtime every day on an unpaid basis. I noted this on my last review comments. But the president keeps bringing up the ‘enthusiasm’ comment on my review. How should I respond to this comment?” — Anonymous
Question: “In my 30-year career, I’ve never heard of a company requiring that holiday time be accrued, i.e., each pay period an employee accrues the time, but if the employee doesn’t have enough accrued time and a holiday rolls around then it’s time off without pay. Is this legal?” — Peg
Question: “How do you tactfully tell a co-worker/friend, who recently received a promotion to an upper-level management position, that she needs to dress more professionally? She dressed very nice for the interviews, but the next day she was back to wearing wrinkled, sloppy clothing. She will be meeting potential donors and prominent business people, but she doesn’t seem to have a clue about her style. How can I help her succeed in her new position without hurting a friendship?” — Want to Help
Question: “What user-friendly database software can connect to Quicken Books?  The nonprofit I currently support has MS Access, but I don't know if that's the answer.  Is there a program that’s more user-friendly?” — Anonymous
Question: “Our department is expanding and hiring additional staff and two new managers. My previous boss was promoted to a new higher-level position, and I was promoted to be her assistant (new position). We’ve worked tirelessly to support the new staff, including the new managers. I have difficulty understanding one of the new managers because she has a heavy accent. When she’s not satisfied with something, she just talks faster. She is not satisfied with my performance and has asked me to stay and help her assistant in setting up meetings. I have refused. Now she has reported me directly to HR. It is a power struggle. How do I solve this problem but still keep a good working relationship? I have received nothing but good performance reviews for the past 20 years. I am afraid I might lose my job.” — Hilary
Question: “I have been tasked with finding scheduling software for our company.  Sounds easy but I need software that will allow us to schedule different people, in different countries, on different schedules.  We need to schedule it so we know who can work in what country and what skill sets they have .The shifts are 12 – 21 days (varies by country) and we’d like to prepare reports so that we know who has worked where and for how long and, how much time off they have had (to meet individual country requirements).  In my dream world, it would also alert us when we have double scheduled or when we have a mismatched pair or have missed a scheduling slot. Since this isn’t your normal work week scheduling I haven’t found a software package that will allow us to track everything we need.  Has anyone found a software package that might work for us?” — Pam Cashwell
“We have an employee who lies about her time, doesn't do all her work, complains about co-workers and tries to change policy for her benefit. The administrator ignores all of our complaints.  How can we handle this difficult employee?” — Anonymous