Admin Pro Forum

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

Question: “How can I handle other staff who treat administrative assistants as the low people on the totem pole? Where I work, admins get little or no respect from staff/peers. When we ask people to leave a conference room because we have booked it for a meeting, we are ignored or told to wait. Our bosses treat us fine, but it is other staff above and equal to us who treat us poorly. What can we do to institute a change?” — Anonymous
Question: “The executive I support always asks for my opinions regarding changes to office setup, administrative support staff duties, logistics for meetings, etc., which I honestly give.  These requests for my opinions occur repeatedly (5-6 times over a few weeks).   He then ignores my comments and does what he wants, stating "let's try it my way" which when translated is "we are doing it my way."  This is extremely frustrating.  I've now resorted to not offering my opinions, which he interprets as noninterest on my part.  This is being reflected in my annual review with negative comments and affects my compensation.” —Eunice
Question: “What are some good ‘Lean’ tools/reference materials for an admin to use? Our company is taking a ‘Lean’ approach this year, and I would like to incorporate this practice. How can an admin do it?” — Jessica Altamuro
Question: “Our department acknowledges birthdays by taking the birthday person out to lunch. The person gets to choose where to eat and the entire department leaves for an hour-and-a- half, at least. The problems that I have are: I have to surrender my lunchtime; the company doesn’t foot the bill; I have various food that I cannot eat; we take turns driving in groups, which means I have to put extra gas in the car if it’s my turn to drive. I am beyond busy with no slack time. I would rather decline these excursions and acknowledge the person’s birthday directly on my own. How can I tactfully decline without appearing unsociable and not part of the group?” — Anonymous, Los Angeles
Question: “Our company recently installed a television in the break room. My boss asked me to find something online about television etiquette. I haven’t been able to find anything. Any suggestions on television etiquette in the workplace?” — Brandy Ludwick
Question: “I support the CFO and VP of Corporate Services in a company of about 200 employees. My boss is a great guy, but he’s not happy about back-to-back meetings every day, nor does he appreciate the heavy use of e-mail. How can I help connect him to those who feel the need to meet with him without increasing his appointments or his e-mail? I fear this overload on him will end up reflecting badly on me come review time, even though I meticulously manage his calendar and e-mail.” — Marie
Question: “Our company is interested in establishing a corporate policy for recycling at our office. Has anyone written such a policy?” — Linda Goode
Question: “How can I tactfully and respectfully ask my boss to stop announcing my doctor’s appointments to other employees? I cover for other areas, and when I have an appointment my boss will send an e-mail to the employees impacted (and their bosses) saying, ‘Since Jane needs to go to the doctor on Friday, here is our revised coverage schedule.’ Or, ‘Since Jane is going to see the dentist on Tuesday.’ I really don’t wish to have other employees know that I’m seeking medical attention.” — Anonymous, Los Angeles
Question: “We need a title for a middle-management position. We have used the word “supervisor” in the past, but that implies more power than this individual will have. The person in this position will oversee regular employees and help the department manager with certain duties, but they will not have the power to hire, fire or reprimand other employees. These days you cannot be too careful in using titles.” — Debbie Menn
Question: “When I first started my position as operations administrative assistant, department staff and supervisors completed their own procurement statements and gas receipt reconciliations. Because my schedule and workload permitted me to help other departments, I volunteered to reconcile the statements and receipts for 12 operation departments. With growing responsibilities to the director of operations (my direct boss), it’s difficult for me to continue helping with these two responsibilities. I would like to return reconciliation responsibility back to the department staff and supervisors. How do I tactfully and respectfully return this responsibility to them?” — Rita Yanz