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: With the ever-rising cost of materials, especially gasoline, the need for additional income has surfaced as a means of making ends go a bit farther. As a single mother, I would like to do some work-at-home clerical jobs to help with the budget. Has anyone had any experience with this type of employment or do you know of any legitimate organizations that offer at-home based work?  -- Anonymous

Question: I recently worked on a "team project" that included giving a presentation to an entire department (think "The Apprentice Lite"). We didn't have a project manager, but three out of the four team members worked night and day for three weeks on this project.

The three of us did literally 99.9 percent of the work. The fourth team member (we call her "The Albatross") came up with the "concept" but when asked to complete her portion of the presentation, she would regurgitate what we had already done in a completely unusable format.

When we gave the presentation, she chimed in during our portions, making it look as though we had overlooked something and that she had "saved the day."

Unfortunately, the Donald wasn't there to ask us who should have been fired. What is your advice on handling future projects such as this, with a deadbeat project member who happily lets you do all her work and takes all the credit? -- Migraine Millie

Question: I am looking for Web sites where I can compare telephone systems. We are building a new facility and will be installing a new phone system. I would like to compare the systems that I have bids on. They are ESI, Nortel, ProCom and INTER-TEL. Does anyone have feedback on any of these systems? -- Melinda
Question: I need to update all our procedures and policies in a consistent format that the entire department can access with read-only capabilities.

I need a program that people can search by one word or the complete title. What works the best, Excel or Access? Are there other programs that work better? We are a large company and a large department.  -- JG
Question: Are “step-siblings” considered “siblings" when independence or personal conflict is being considered in a workplace environment? -- Anonymous

Question: I frequently send out meeting notices by e-mail to a large group of volunteers, well in advance of the meeting date. While some of the volunteers RSVP, many do not. I also send out a small reminder closer to the meeting date.

Sometimes this helps, but quite a few volunteers never respond. This is a problem because their attendance is very important, and I order food according to how many people are coming.

How should I handle this in a courteous and professional way? You can't force people to respond to your e-mails. My last resort is to call each person individually, but I feel like I'm being "pushy" when I do that. Plus, that takes a lot of time. Any suggestions? -- Anonymous

Question: I have an office mate who is very nosy. We have different positions. I have a lot of traffic flow with vendors and other employees who ask me for help or information. Invariably, she pokes her nose in and adds her own comments or suggestions.

How do I get her to stop interfering? We have shared this office for about a year. Before we moved in together, we both told our manager that we shouldn't share an office. She is a very loud person and if I am talking to someone, and she is talking to someone, I can't hear the person I am talking to. This is becoming intolerable.


We are going through some downsizing, so I don't want to mention it to my manager right now. We work 10-hour days, and they are pretty long when you have to continually bite your tongue. I'm afraid I will lash out at her soon. 
-- Anonymous

Question: I want to learn more about contract management processes, from the perspective of maintaining files and records. Can someone direct me to a Web site, a book or an online course that would help?  -- Marie

Question: I'm an unemployed HR Manager and I recently interviewed for an Office Manager position at a 45-person law firm. Believe it or not, the Managing Partner asked me if I was married and had children. I really think he didn’t know better because they don’t have any HR people working at the firm.

Knowing I shouldn't respond to the question, but yet needing the job and not wanting to blow my chances of being hired, I answered the questions. How should I have handled it?

I'm thinking that if I get the job, then I should point out the illegality of what he asked and inform him what he legally can and cannot ask. It also crossed my mind that he knew exactly what he was doing and wanted to see if I would answer the question.  -- Susan

Question: We have a manager who recently decided to look for a less-stressful career path. She is young, early 30's, and suffers from depression (she lives alone, no children, very overweight and no friends/boyfriend or outside work activities). She treated her depression up until about a year ago.

I am not alone in thinking that she is making a mistake by leaving the position and taking a large pay cut when the job is not that stressful. She may not realize how depressed she is and that more than just work is making her unhappy.

I know that I can't change her decision. But I care about her personally and want to make sure she is OK and getting help for her depression. Am I stepping over boundaries? -- Anonymous

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