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: 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: 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

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 am one of two admins in a small department. We cover for each other on days off, lunch hours, etc.

I am considerably busier than she is--both professionally and personally--and try to make good use of any downtime at work. I'm involved in a fundraiser, have elderly parents, have a busy household and work out.

As she is seldom busy, she chatters constantly throughout the day about anything and everything, which I find a total distraction and completely irritating. Two other co-workers feel the same way I do.

I'm not sure what to do about this. I've tried not looking up from my work much while she's speaking, but she doesn't get the hint. She's also very nosy and gossipy. If she hears something I say on the phone, she'll ask about it.  She occasionally looks at my computer screen over my shoulder and makes comments.

I just don't know what to do. I don't want to alienate her, as I need her cooperation in this department. I just want her to cut down the chatter and mind her own business.

Any suggestions? Thank you.  -- Anonymous, Boston

Question: What do you do when department heads do not communicate major changes in the department to the administrative assistant? It's frustrating to not ever know what people are thinking and talking about behind closed doors until the very last minute.  -- Carolyn

Question: When reviewing appointments or meetings scheduled by others on the Microsoft Outlook calendar, is there a way to identify who scheduled the event and when?  -- Anonymous in Los Angeles

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