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’ve always wanted to send out a meeting invitation to our whole office to give some informal hands-on training on our copiers, since I see no reason that everyone should be so helpless when it comes to clearing jams, changing toner, and knowing their way around the screens. But my boss is against it; he sees all of that as the admins’ job, even though we waste a lot of time dealing with these very easy-to-fix problems. Am I the only one who thinks it’s necessary to train everyone on this, not just the admins?” – Sharon, Senior Assistant

Question: "I just moved into an administrative position after being very physically active at my old job, and the first thing a new colleague said to me was, ‘Good luck with the way this gig breaks your body down little by little!’ I do wonder about carpal tunnel syndrome, and weight gain from immobility, and what sitting in a chair for so long will do to me over the years … just what am I in for, anyway?” – Kirk, Data Technician/Receptionist

Question: "I work in a very big office and our many managers need every kind of support imaginable. I want to spend the next 12 months really mastering the one administrative skill that will set me apart from the other people on our admin team and turn me into, well, a star. I not only want to guarantee I'll always have a job here, but show I'm someone who can deliver something no one else can. Can any experienced admins tell me the one thing they learned how to do that really changed the way their supervisors looked at them?" — Nina, HR Assistant

Question: "Where I work, our Internet usage is monitored, our time is tracked to the minute, we have to log in and out of every application so the managers can see who is doing what and when, and the steps of every project are time-logged to make sure we’re using our time efficiently. This has all begun to feel oppressive—even though HR tells us that it facilitates our performance reviews and makes the raises and promotions process orderly and noncontroversial. Does anyone but me feel caged in by the way so many jobs now keep such a close eye on us?”  – Blair, Broker’s Assistant

Question: "Every admin job I apply for asks me about my salary requirements and how much I made at my last position. I guess I still haven’t figured out the right response to this—whether to be perfectly honest, undervalue myself to get a better chance at being hired, or shoot for the moon. Which answer really gets the best results?” – Sam, High School Secretary

Question: "Our office is thinking about converting to Windows 8 now rather than waiting till it’s absolutely necessary, but my boss wants us to be able to answer one question first: What problem does it solve? He’s not a fan of bells and whistles for their own sake and wants to upgrade now only if someone can show that version 8 will save us time or energy. Can anyone tell me if it gives us something that’s either missing or doesn’t work in the previous version?” – Betty, Residential Property Manager

Question: "Have you ever surveyed the executives you or your team work for regarding the level of support they receive and the skill set of the admin team? Do you have a survey or resource you can share?"  — Heather, Executive Assistant

Question: “Is it a HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) privacy violation for your employer to ask for your diagnosis on your excused absence letter from your physician?” – J., Texas

Question: “My boss has asked me to come up with ideas to help our staff become more team-player oriented. At a previous job she and a co-worker brought all of their office staff together, paired them up with Legos, and had one read directions while standing behind the one putting the item together. She said the results were fantastic because it showed the staff members how others perceive another giving directions and how they interpret them. Does anyone have any other suggestions on how to make being a ‘team-player’ fun?”  Mary

Question: “I’ve been an admin for about a year, and am thinking about finishing my college degree studies at night. Since I really enjoy this field, I’m wondering if I’m better off just working hard and getting better at it rather than spending my nights for two years getting a degree mostly for the sake of having one. How much job experience do you think it will take to look as good on a résumé as a diploma would?” – Jane, Support Team Leader

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