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: Does anyone have an effective, politically correct method of getting people to clear their own copier jams? Not a day goes by that I don't find someone else's unattended jam that I have to clear.

The copier has very specific, fully illustrated instructions on how to clear the jam, yet everyone seems to leave it for the next person to clear.

It's not difficult to figure out which admins are doing this (and it's the same ones who spend literally hours at a time chatting with co-workers while the rest of us slave away). What is a good way to address this?  -- Anonymous

Question: The last time I submitted a challenge to this Forum, the response was very helpful. It saved time and frustration.

Now, I need help updating Excel formulas, including the wonderful array of formulas that I received help with last time. For example:  How to change all sheet references at one time … changing April ’05 to May ’05, for example. Is it similar to a find & replace function? Thanks.  -- Valerie

Question: I work for a company that is owned by a very religious person. He has decided to start a "chaplain's program," which consists of a minister coming into the office once a week to talk individually with each employee.

Although we have been told that we do not have to participate, that is very hard to do when the chaplain comes into your office asking "How is your family? Do you have any problems you want to discuss with me?"

I find this to be extremely invasive and do not know how to handle the situation. Can anyone give me any ideas?  -- Anonymous

Question: I work in a very conservative and professional setting. But, during the summer months, some corporations where I have worked in the past allow people to wear what they call "relaxed business attire," which in my circumstance means you can peel the suits, hose and ties, but keep a professional, polished appearance.

The question: Do you feel it is appropriate to have a lady in professional attire go without hose and wear professional sandals?  Please note I am referring to professional women with the proper personal maintenance, i.e., pedicure and hairless legs.  --  Valarie Hayes,  Raleigh, NC

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 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: 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

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