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: Does your company have any policies or guidelines (implied or not) regarding employees who solicit purchases for their children’s school fundraisers?  -- Anonymous, California

Question: I was promoted recently and am responsible for training my replacement, a transfer from another department. I was the first person to fill this position, so all of the processes are ones that I created. The documents handled in this department are very sensitive and become legal documents.

This person was hired without my input and while the supervisor of the department was out of the country. We were informed rather than asked about these changes by upper management.

My replacement has very little Word or PowerPoint experience, and almost no Excel experience. The position prepares PowerPoint presentations for the corporate officers and board of directors, as well as for international branches of the company.

My frustration stems from the fact that she thinks she knows so much more than she does and doesn’t ask questions; she assumes she knows what she is doing. I have prepared instruction books and step-by-step manuals for her to walk her through the processes, but she won’t use them. I have asked her what I can do to help her; she acknowledges that she isn’t using the tools she has. I have suggested that, in her slower time, she play in her software programs and learn them. She has label-making down pat, and her files are beautiful, but she still doesn’t know how to work her scanner. (Yes, I have gone over it with her ... more than once.)

She has been working in this department now for six weeks and is still making the same mistakes she made the first week. Her supervisor is out of town frequently, and it's up to me to "teach" her. I've been keeping a log of things we go over each day and problems that arise and have gone over this with her supervisor. He is currently back in town for a while and wants to start throwing things at her to see how she deals with it. He's still asking me to help him out.

I am very busy in my new department and really don’t have time to do my job and hers. I'm getting to the point that I just want to watch her sink on her own but still feel very responsible for the documents that are being sent out. I don’t feel comfortable going to upper management, since her supervisor is taking a wait-and-see attitude, but it’s killing me to see what she's sending out.

Has anyone else dealt with a situation like this? Any advice at all would be appreciated!  -- Pam from Oregon

Question: National Boss Day (Oct. 16) is fast approaching, and we're looking for a really great way to celebrate. Our company is being sold, and most of us won't be together next year, so we want to find a really fun way to let our bosses know how much our years together have meant.

If anyone has done something in the past that was warmly received by their executives, we'd really appreciate your sharing it with us. We want to knock their socks off this year.

Last year, we hosted a cookout on the roof of our building. It was really fun, but we need something different. Please help!  -- Linda

Question: I work for a small social services nonprofit. I am the No. 2 person in the organization, with only the director over me.

As the senior case manager, I supervise the case manager under me. She and our boss have similar personalities and, lately, have started doing some after-hours socializing. Several of these instances have involved her being invited, by our boss, to events outside of work hours, but that provide many networking opportunities.

Although I don't know why I haven't been asked to attend any of these events, I suspect that it's because I am a single parent with two small children. (Both my boss and the girl I supervise are single and childless.)

I may or may not attend these functions if invited, but I'm uncomfortable with the situation. I feel it's appropriate for the boss to be socializing with an employee, and I'm afraid that this relationship may affect MY position at work negatively.

I could use some suggestions about handling this situation.

Thanks!  -- Christy

Question: Recently, we rearranged various departments within our small company due to workload.

One department in particular has had one person handling it very well for about four years. The person has been with the company for eight years.

We now have restructured this department to have two employees working together to handle the increase in work.

The person moving into this second position has been with the company for 17 years and has been in many different departments over those years. This individual is a good, loyal, committed worker but works at a slow pace, having performed well in some positions and struggled in others.

The department procedures have been rethought, and both individuals will be doing the same job, providing coverage for when either one is out of the office. No seniority has been created for this department. Both have the same job title.

They are team players and have worked well together in the past. We believe both can handle the department's new format.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to handle compensation for these individuals? Length of time with the company and length of time in this particular department pose challenges: The 17-year employee recently requested a raise in pay beyond her normal review using her length of employment as the reason.

Should length of employment be considered when determining compensation, or should performance in the position be the primary consideration?  -- DFL, Pennsylvania

Question: I was wondering if anyone knows where I can get a list of the "ALT" keystrokes for Word Perfect. I have looked on the Internet but cannot seem to locate one. Thank you.  -- Jennifer from Illinois

Question: What's your dream job? If you could wave a magic wand and take on any job -- in any profession -- you wanted, what would it be?  -- Alice Bumgarner, Editor

Question: Tell us about the best holiday season party you ever planned for your office. What food, games or decorations made it memorable?

We’ll publish the best ideas in an upcoming issue of Personal Report for the Administrative Professional.

Thank you!  -- Alice Bumgarner, Editor

Question: I use Excel to post and track updates on an action-item log that I maintain for our weekly meetings. It has seven columns and is laid out in landscape format. Lately, I've run into a problem with the text not wrapping.

It starts out OK, but if the verbiage gets too long, it stops wrapping inside the cell. It sometimes looks OK in the spreadsheet, but cuts off the text on the right-hand side of the cell.

I tried expanding the cell horizontally -- and vertically -- but nothing helps. It was suggested that I post the updated notes in the row directly below, but if I do a filter on all closed action items, the second cell directly below the original doesn't show up.

I'm considering posting my action-item log in another program, i.e. Word, but I'm wondering if I should consider another software program. Excel and Word are the only two software programs I have; anything else would need to be purchased.

I need something that will allow me to add very lengthy verbiage in one cell and still print out, so all can be seen.

Thanks.  -- Susan

Question: I keep hearing about people who are "virtual" admins, and that this is supposed to be the new hot job in the future.

Has anyone had experience being a virtual admin? How did you like it/not like it? Where can I get more information? Thanks!  -- Mary from Wisconsin

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