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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 have a co-worker who is considering applying for an admin job working for someone who she used to support as her secretary. My friend stopped working for this boss because the boss never stood by her, was demanding and expected her to stay long hours. I don't think it's a good idea to go back to the old boss.

The old boss told my friend (in front of the boss's new assistant) that she never got over my friend quitting on her, even though it's been 4 years.

While my friend worked for her, the boss did things such as hide my friend's coat so she couldn't leave the office and would stay late. But the boss is also a good leader. My friend said she really encouraged her to do her best and take classes. She also would do great things like take her out to lunch and give her gifts for her hard work.

What do you all think? Do you think it's a good idea to go back to a boss you didn't like working for?  -- Anonymous

Question: Another manager at my workplace has a new employee who smells, very strong, of body odor. All the staff working in that area and others among the office have already complained and are now spraying scented sprays.

Her appearance is very professional and she is very good at her job.

How does this manager approach this employee? Is that even legal to approach a worker about their smell? And if you do approach them, how do you make them comfortable about going back to work now that she knows others could smell her? She also feels bad that the other staff are gossiping about her.  -- Anonymous

Question: The executive director where I work keeps e-mailing job ads for out-of-state positions to my boss. Isn't that considered harassment?

My boss said he just deletes them. It seems rather unprofessional.

So far, I haven't received an e-mail of this nature, but if I do, what would be the best way to handle the situation?  -- Anonymous

Question: My boss often acts in a way and makes comments that hurt my feelings and those of others in my office.  For example, today she said that I made too much money. I asked her "Don't I deserve it?"  She didn't answer.  That really bothered me and once again hurt my feelings.

Because all these situations are building up and are really starting to bother me, I decided to let her know how I felt.  In a very professional way, I expressed to her that her comment really hurt me and told her why.  To make a long story short, she was very defensive about it all and I'm sure she will go to the higher boss with the matter.  I truly don't think anything is going to change.

Any suggestions on how to deal with this matter and others similar?  -- Anonymous

Question: I recently joined a company at a very low starting salary simply because a lot of people said there was going to be a separation between the partners who run the company and that would greatly affect our paychecks, and it had a great working environment.

A year and a half down the line, I see neither happening, although I must say the working environment is very good and it is a nice place to be. But I can see a lot of people slowly deciding to move on to greener pastures, and the company is either ignorant of the reason they are losing these people or chooses to be blind.

The management has recognized my contribution and is very supportive and aware of my hard work. I have been promised a lot of growth and a great future as the company grows. But, although the growth is a fact, I can't see much in terms of salary changes, given their history. My questions are:

1.      Is it worth having a talk with my manager, to revise my salary significantly?

2.      Should I waiting for the changes to take place?

3.      Should I just move on?

To make things worse, a few months ago, another person was hired in the same position as mine but at a much higher salary, although that person's performance is not at all at par with the company's standards or the claims on their CV. (This is based on a probationary review.)
Having had my annual appraisal around now, I expected an increment to at least level off our salaries, if not take me a level higher. It has, in fact, been just a 20% increase!

I really need some expert advice here, as I am at a crossroads!  -- Anonymous

Question: I have been offered a job at a new company that is willing to match the pay I make now for similar work. My boyfriend told me that this is a good time to negotiate for more money. For example, asking for $1.00/hour more to start, but skipping the first review for a raise.

I feel a little guilty and greedy thinking of asking for more pay. But, as I think about it more, I know I perform a great deal of duties and I'm a good worker.

I need your advice. Should I ask for more or just accept the matched pay?  -- Anonymous

Question: I read Personal Report for the Administrative Professional every month for career and work tips. But what other resources are out there for an ambitious admin who wants to better herself?  -- Josie, Virginia

Question: I would like to get feedback about a job description. The job is for a secretary at a real estate office. The job has been open for several months.

A portion of it states: “You need to be okay with being micromanaged and prepared to continuously check in.  You need to be "thick skinned."

I showed this job description to a friend who wanted to apply. When she asked if I had considered it, because the salary is about $10,000 more than I make now, I said that I wouldn't apply because it sounds as though you'd have to put up with a lot. She said that she didn't get that impression from the job description and that maybe "thick skinned" means you need to be versatile. I disagree. Just interested in what everyone else thinks.  -- Anonymous

Question: One of my co-workers (Co-Worker A) is a good employee and a hard worker. Another co-worker (Co-Worker B), who supports the department head, is very untrusting and controlling.  She seems to undermine everything that Co-Worker A does and intentionally tries to make Co-Worker A look bad to their superiors.  Co-Worker A is at the end of her rope!  I've tried to offer support and advice to Co-Worker A, but I'm out of suggestions.

Talking to Co-Worker B does not yield any results.  Any suggestions for Co-Worker A who does not want to leave her role but desperately needs help?  -- Anonymous

Question: What do you do when you have a highly responsible position working for a company that has very limited internal structure or rules and a boss who is sometimes deceitful and difficult to work for?

I have no internal resources such as a human resources department (I'm the person who handles that function), and I work in an "at will" state, where an employee can be fired for any reason at any time.  When I voice my opinions on improvements that can be made within the company, they are usually rejected.  When I request assistance with my position (which is a catch-all of office management, hr, receptionist, admin. assistant), it falls on deaf ears.

My boss has never been straightforward with the employees and behaves in a somewhat deceptive manner.  I have co-workers who would rather "back stab" than attempt to have productive working relationships with each other.  I can't rely on what I have been told and never know what to expect on a daily basis.

The biggest problem is that I desperately need the job for the money.  I realize that resignation is always an option, but I haven't been able to find another job with comparable duties or pay.

The latest event is that I have been advised my position is being restructured, yet somehow, that really meant I was being demoted.  Recently, I received a raise, but got even less respect due to a lower job title.  I really think I'm being kept around only for my skills and knowledge, and I feel I'm being used.  Now what do I do, or what recourse do I have?  -- Anonymous

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