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 would like to explore the possibility of working as a virtual assistant on a part- time basis.  Has anyone had experience with this type of work?  What resources (skills and/or equipment) will I need?” — Anonymous
Question: “I admit to being a nit-picker when it comes to grammar, punctuation and spelling.  I also know from personal experience that it’s not easy to accurately proofread my own work products because my mind reads what I intended to write rather than what I actually wrote.  I’m a little concerned that, from what I read in the responses to this Forum, either we’re not proofing our work prior to hitting the “send” button, or as a community we don’t have a very good handle on our grammar, punctuation and spelling.  We are usually the ones responsible for proofing the work of others, so I’d like to know – are we just not worrying about traditional standards these days?  If you do try and maintain high standards, what tricks do you use to proof your own work before it goes out?  (I read the work product out loud, which forces me to see what is really written.)” — Kathy
Question: “I am part of a team of assistants for a dozen bosses.  We all sit near each other with a lead member, an intermediate and a junior.  I am the junior member.  The intermediate member acts like she is very busy with her assignments, however, she constantly asks me to take over her tasks because she states that she is too busy.  I have plenty of assignments myself, but I am hungry to learn more.  So I have accepted some of these requests.  It is becoming burdensome to continue picking up her work.  How can I communicate this to her without sounding like I am not a team player?” — Jeani Easterly
Question: “I use Microsoft Office 2003, and I need to keep a hard copy of BCC address lists. How do I do that?” — Anonymous
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