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 need help organizing/cross-referencing file folders. My boss writes the name on the material and keeps it in either his office or mine. The problem occurs when he has a new or follow-up meeting that some of this information could pertain to; we can't locate everything because different names of folders may apply to similar information, etc.

This has been ongoing but now is occurring more frequently. Please help. Thanks.  -- Donna

Question: I am an administrative assistant for the president of my company and I feel I'm not being utilized enough. Does anyone have any suggestions or suggestions on books to help me get my boss to utilize me more? Thank you.  -- Anonymous

Editor's note: The National Institute of Business Management publishes two books that might help you:

  1. Results, Recognition and Rewards.
  2. Supercharge Your Career.

Find ordering information about both -- as well as about Personal Report for the Administrative Professional -- at www.nibm.net.

Also, you might check out How to Get From Cubicle to Corner Office, by Joel Weiss, and Become an Inner Circle Assistant, by Joan Burge.

Question: I am responsible for processing check requests for payment. Sometimes, though, people don’t save detailed receipts to back up their expenses.

What resources out there can help clarify what the IRS expects employers to keep for record retention in regard to travel & meeting reimbursements for employees? Also, are there penalties if the employee cannot provide detailed receipts?  -- Anonymous

Question: My boss, I believe, has a problem with ADHD. Sometimes, he bounces off the walls and is very difficult to keep up with. I try to keep up with him, but lately, I am exhausted by mid-afternoon. I am at the point that I am so frustrated because I am running in circles most of the time.

My boss will tell me he needs to schedule a meeting or various meetings throughout the day. Then, two minutes after we have met regarding his files/meeting requests, etc., he asks me if I have set up the meeting regarding a topic that he never asked me to schedule. So, I continually have to check and re-check my notes for who the invitees are for meeting A or B; then, I have to ask him if his question relates to scheduling meeting A or B. His normal reply: "Oh, no. This is another meeting I am talking about."

Many times, he forgets to give me all of the details.

Are you aware of any books that would help administrative assistants who work with bosses with ADHD? I would like to know how to set up boundaries with my boss, who cannot seem to focus.

I have set up color-coded files; I print meetings from his calendar and attach to the top of a folder for each and every meeting; I arrange files on his credenza; I keep a large, orange "Please sign" file for signatures; and we meet daily to plan meetings, plan projects and to follow up regarding unfinished projects.

I need some help as to how I can become a more efficient assistant to my boss. Any suggestions?  -- Frustrated in Michigan

Question: We're implementing a new policy: All personnel (secretaries/receptionists/admins, etc.) must give one month's notice before leaving the company. If proper notice is not given, accrued sick leave/vacation (paid time off) is not paid out.

Office managers have to give two months' notice. I don't know where you would apply for a job and they would wait that long for you.

I'd like to hear what other companies' policies are.

Thanks.  -- Kenda

Question: I'm looking for suggestions on "measurable goals" or SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based) goals for administrative professionals.

Thank you!  -- Jennifer

Question: I recently was put in charge of organizing an event for the staff that would have us bring in our baby pictures and guess who is in each picture. I would like to make it fun so everyone will want to participate. Does anyone have any ideas of what to say on the invitation?

Thanks!  -- Debi

Question: I have a friend who is being given more responsibilities at work but is still being given the same pay. He has been with his job for 4 years and has not been given a pay raise. Do you all have any suggestions about whom he should contact? Should he talk with his boss about the situation?

I believe that his boss wants to get all that she can get from him and not pay him any more money. If he is so bad, why does she keep him around?  -- Anonymous

Question: We currently have a problem with documents that need several signatures taking an unacceptable length of time to obtain those signatures. 

I have been assigned the task of finding a more efficient way in which to move these documents through the system. I am looking for any suggestions or ideas to achieve this goal. 

If anyone has dealt with this problem, I would appreciate hearing the solution.  -- Lori

Question: I'm wondering if any of my fellow admins/executive assistants know of a book on business etiquette.

For example:
  • How to introduce someone to the president/CEO when you know only the person's title and first name.
  • How to tell when it's OK/not OK to interrupt your boss in a meeting, and what to say when you do.
  • What does that closed door mean?
  • How to notify your employer (in an emergency) of very delicately personal, family-oriented matters via phone in a discreet, respectful manner when you work in a cubicle setting.
  • When/when not to call your boss from your personal cell phone.
  • Just how many times am I supposed to call to try and relay this message?
  • It's after 5 p.m. and there's something going on at the office the boss HAS to know about.  The boss is holding a party at her house and would be disturbed if I called. Now, what do I say?
  • Oops! I forgot the other exec's name and he's a new business contract contact! What do I say when he comes out to chat with me?
  • My boss went to a meeting and the location has changed, but I can't get through to her cell phone to let her know. This could be a disaster!
  • How do I announce someone's arrival in the front office? To the boss? To other co-workers?
Sort of a "Miss Manners for the Admin Professional." Lots of books are out there on how to write professional business correspondence like this, but I haven't seen much on verbal communication.  Thanks.  -- Sometimes Tongue-Tied, Rochester, N.Y.
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