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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: Often, we have sales people walk in through our front door, and I am wondering what the best approach is to politely — and quickly — get rid of them.  Our office does not accept solicitors, but they all ignore the notice.  And like the telephone solicitors do, they want to quickly get me or the receptionist into a conversation, whether they are selling services or a product.

It is annoying and I don't wish to appear rude, but I really want to stop them in their tracks before they even get to the hand-shaking part.  -- Cindy, California

Question: I wanted to know what other companies do for time off.  Our company offers 2 weeks' vacation (3 weeks' after 10 years) plus 5 sick days each year, which can accumulate up to 30 days (sick leave only).  I have used all my vacation due to an emergency with my father-in-law and took a week's vacation.  I am short one day to attend my niece's wedding and was going to take the day off without pay.  Evidently, we are not allowed to due this.  If I do decide to take this off, then it will affect my review.  Can you take time off without pay if you want?

Related question: How does your company offer time off for doctor appointments? Can you use sick leave by the hour or can you take only in 4- or 8-hour increments (1/2 or full day off)?  -- Kenda

Question: I am the supervisor for our Clerical Department. One of our team members (let's call her Erica) is well-liked and energetic. However, she has become very friendly, personally and professionally, with one of the senior administrative assistants.

I have asked Erica repeatedly to check in with me first thing in the morning so that we can discuss “hot” items. Instead, she reports directly to the senior AA.  I know there is a lot of gossip being exchanged between the two of them.

This situation has divided my department because, quite frankly, no one trusts her. I think Erica does not respect my authority because she knows she is close to the ear of the senior AA and she uses that as a shield. I feel that my position is being undermined by Erica and the senior AA.

Do I have any recourse?  -- Stumped in Seattle

Question: I understand that salaried employees are expected to work unpaid/uncompensated overtime. I computed my regular work hours and overtime hours for last year and discovered I had worked a period equivalent to more than 13 months of business days in a 12-month business year.

In the business world, in general, how much overtime is expected of a lower-level, salaried secretary? I want to be known as a team player, but don't want the business to take advantage of my goodwill.  -- Anonymous

Question: I am the office manager for an HVAC (heating, ventilation & air conditioning) company, We need field people, mechanics and helpers, that type of thing.  The type of workers we are looking for really don’t attend job fairs much.

I have tried advertising for help everywhere: small newspapers, large newspapers, the Web and tech schools.   Does anyone out there have any scathingly brilliant ideas on how to reach this type of worker to recruit them?  I would appreciate ANY suggestions.

Thanks so much.  -- Kelly Hogue, Warminster, PA

Question: It would be fun to hear from other admins about their most embarrassing job-related boo-boo. Things like forgetting to put something big on the boss's calendar, sending a broadcast e-mail when you didn't mean to. I know we all have a few "dirty little secrets" that might make the rest of us feel better about those extremely RARE occasions when we are less than perfect.  -- Anonymous

Question: Our office is about to undergo some reorganization.  Three of my four bosses will soon be moved to other departments within the company.  They'll be "swapping" departments with one another, and I've been asked to facilitate this change.  I'd love any ideas on how to make this a smooth transition for them.  How do you help a boss prepare for his or her successor?  What steps can I take in advance that will be most helpful when the move takes place?  -- Anonymous

Question: Our office is about to undergo some reorganization.  Three of my four bosses will soon be moved to other departments within the company.  They'll be "swapping" departments with one another, and I've been asked to facilitate this change.  I'd love any ideas on how to make this a smooth transition for them.  How do you help a boss prepare for his or her successor?  What steps can I take in advance that will be most helpful when the move takes place?  -- Anonymous

Question: Over the years, we’ve received many questions from readers of Personal Report for the Administrative Professional about how to plan — and pull off — successful meetings and events. Now, it’s your turn to brag. What’s the best single thing you've done that made your meeting or event a success?  -- The editors

Question: If you’ve taken on more responsibility in the past five years, you aren’t alone. Admins are filling more advanced roles, according to a recent survey of more than 3,200 members of the International Association of Administrative Professionals. So, what new responsibilities have you taken on in recent years, and have they made your job more enjoyable or just more stressful? (Look for more coverage of the IAAP survey in the July issue of Personal Report.)  -- The editors

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