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 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
Question: “I am looking for a few good questions to ask strangers at any kind of function. I can carry on a decent conversation with anyone who comes up to me first, but I have a terrible time being the ‘ice-breaker.’” — Dana Morvak
Question: “I supervise our receptionist/secretary and share an office with her. When the director or other staff members come into the office to speak to me about a problem or situation, she interrupts the conversation, even when others are speaking, and will raise her voice so it can be heard above others. These conversations are not directed or pertain to her. I have spoken to her about this behavior and have written it up in her last evaluation. I could use some solutions to this problem, short of writing her up or suspending her without pay.”
Question: “I have an interview for an executive assistant to the city manager, which is an excellent opening for me. I would like some input from others on questions that may come up in the panel interview, pointers, questions I should ask and any web sites that may be helpful. I know what to do after the interview, but it’s always the before that I have trouble with.”
Question: “I was offered a promotion seven months ago to a newly created position with new responsibilities and a salary increase. Originally, five people did the job, and now it is just me. One area is very fast-paced and involves registering patients and answering a constantly ringing telephone with people wanting appointments. The second area involves faxing patient documents. The third area involves detailed billing responsibilities. I can accomplish all three roles, but I’m not doing it efficiently. I recently received a good evaluation and another salary increase.

I feel overwhelmed and that I am never completely done. I have spoken to my supervisor about the magnitude of the job. The response was ‘I understand and I will see what I can do.’ How should I handle this? Should I move on? Am I not giving myself enough time?”— LEW in crisis
Question: “How do I deal with three ‘Field Crew Leaders’ who use the office equipment (e.g., copier, fax, printer) but walk away without adding paper, let the machine jam and run out of toner. They never try and fix the problem or let anyone know that there is a problem. I need to send an e-mail to address the situation. What’s the best approach?” — Becky Jones
Question: “I need ideas and suggestions on what companies do for employee recognition on a quarterly and annual basis. We cannot do gift cards or money gifts as the employee is taxed on this.” — Joanne
Question: “I’m a long-time admin, and I need to update myself on correct business and correspondence practices. I also need to train our receptionist to use Word and how to do admin-type work. What business reference and training material would you recommend?” — Linda Smith