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: Our company’s administrative assistant team will be creating a company-wide notification system to remind each department of critical deadlines that could result in a business penalty if missed. Do you know of a good software or computer program to use for this notification?  -- Anonymous

Question: I have a new boss who does not "own it" when she makes a mistake. We often have to communicate with notes, since she is out of her office in meetings most of almost every day.  This is a very busy office with lots of deadlines to meet, so time management is essential.

Recently, she left me a note requiring an answer. I responded by note and returned it to her in-box. A few days later, we were talking about the note contents and I mentioned to her that I had responded and put the note in her office.  She said she "never" got it.
I told her I put it in her in-box, but she once again said she never got it.

When I again gave her the info she was seeking, I looked in her in-box and there was my note to her. She had not even bothered to go through her box.

This happens a lot and it makes me very frustrated with her. When I brought the note to her attention, she just talked over me and said the matter was a "done deal."

Any ideas how I can forgive and forget and not get so frustrated?  -- Anonymous, Wyoming

Questions: Does anyone have any forms or guides for administrative staff to use or send out for annual reviews? I am a new senior admin and have two employees to supervise who have annual reviews coming up.  -- David Kaulbars

We'd like to hear from someone who has coordinated and successfully pulled off an office-wide move. What sort of checklists did you use? What tactics worked well in tackling all the details? And what sort of unexpected pitfalls did you encounter? If you've got a good story to tell, I'd like to interview you for an upcoming issue of the newsletter. Contact me directly at

Alice Bumgarner
Editor, Personal Report for the Administrative Professional

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: 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: 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
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