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 was given the task of figuring out how to mount these large township maps that are covered with sheet protectors as a flip chart type, almost like an easel. However there are 60 of them, and they are hard to handle. I did try the big ring binders but had to tape them closed and whenever someone needed a particular township map for a presentation, the tape would have to come off and all the maps would have to be removed to get that particular one, thus leaving them all out of order and unable to be closed properly again.

What I need is an idea of how to mount or attach to some type of board (what kind, I don't even know) so they can carry them easily and yet flip them over like an easel pad would work.

Any suggestions? I am running out of ideas. I even went to an art store and they weren't very helpful.  -- Terri Michael, Administrative Coordinator, Lancaster PA

Question: I am an Executive Assistant who works for a small non-for profit organization (65 employees). We had a CEO who was recently asked to resign (November). We have six Directors and one was asked to be Interim President & CEO while a search firm conducts a search for a new president.

The Acting President, whom I am supposed to be an assistant to, will not include me in any information. It appears that everything is a secret. I can't help if I don't know what is going on. I spend my days doing research for her department and not any Executive Assistant duties. My concern is: When they hire a permanent President, I will not be able to support and help him because I won't know what has happened in the past six months.

Please give me some advice on how to address this issue.  -- Anonymous
Question: I recently completed my graduate degree in business and have been working as an executive assistant at my current company for almost 4 years. I have been doing an excellent job, taking and completing tasks outside my job description, and have made sure that the right people are aware of my accomplishments including my MBA. I am ready for more responsibility and my performance, education and "self promotion" have set the stage for approaching my supervisor (HR Director) about becoming the head of the admin team. This would be a new position for the company, and there are sound, supportable reasons for creating this position and putting me in it, but there is one hurdle to overcome.

I am not the assistant to the President of the company. His assistant is probably the least qualified person on the admin team to assume a leadership or managerial role and I'm sure he knows that. Although she is a very competent assistant, she has no desire to be anything more than an assistant. Unfortunately, the last time I spoke to the HR Director about a promotion within the admin team, her response was, in essence, because I was already an Executive Assistant but was not assistant to the President and because of the current organizational structure of the admin team, there was nowhere to promote me to.

This type of position I would like is usually called either "executive administrator," "office manager" or "manager, administration" or something similar. Does anyone know of situations where this position was created or are currently in this position and can provide sound evidence based examples of how this position helped the company?  -- Anonymous
Question: I am changing roles and will be supporting new managers. I am looking for a form to keep track of manager preferences (travel, meals, how to handle meeting invites, etc.). I received a form several years ago, but I cannot find it now. I'm so used to my current managers' preferences that I have no need for a formal document that lists their preferences. Does anyone have something that has helped them keep track of several manager's preferences?  -- Anonymous

Question: If you have a mentor, how did you find that person and build the relationship? What is the best advice your mentor has given you?  -- Amy Beth Miller, Editor, Personal Report for the Administrative Professional

Question: If you could change one thing about your workspace, what would it be?  -- Amy Beth Miller, Editor, Personal Report for the Administrative Professional

Question: I work for a government agency as a sole support person for about 25 people. With this many people also comes a wide variety of personalities. A handful of these people tend to take their moods or personal problems out on me when they give me work to do. I have talked to the head of our group about this problem and was told to remain even-keeled and not respond to their rude comments. One such comment:  “I don’t want to hear about it; I just want you to do it.”

That came from a stressed-out employee who was demonstrating angry body language. A personal situation was causing the stress, and the employee even called in sick the following day.

If I can’t talk to the person giving me an assignment about the assignment, what am I to do? Things like this happen a couple times a month. When I mentioned  that I thought these instances constituted verbal abuse, the head of our group told me that it would have to be witnessed, and the witness and I would have to document it. I’m currently looking for another position and, in the meantime, would like some suggestions on how to deal with these unpleasantries.  -- Anonymous, Washington

Question: I've been at my current government position for five years. (Same manager the whole time.)  I’ve interviewed for many positions that I’m well qualified for.  When they call my manager, he gives me a mediocre reference. (He won't put anything negative in writing.)  As he probably couldn’t easily find someone else to do my job, I believe he doesn’t want me to leave. When I spoke with him about the reference, he denied it.

Since I currently perform work for others, too, I offer them as references, too. With my cover letter, application and resume, I include a performance report that my manager has written (saying I'm outstanding and should be promoted to the next level), attached with my rank score. I'm just frustrated that many opportunities have passed me by. I’ve lost respect for him (for being dishonest) and no longer desire to work for him.

What do you recommend I do?  -- Anonymous

Question: We’ve been told recently that we’re not allowed to eat in our work area, and, so far, everybody is following this new rule. Unfortunately, neither of my bosses follows it, though. They both eat at their desks. Please help me either explain this to everyone else or persuade management to follow the rules the same as we’re expected to do.  -- A.C., Missouri

Question: During my early years as an admin, I thought I wanted to be a legal secretary. I liked the image of the legal profession: the well-tailored suits, square-cornered briefcases, the idea of being involved in court cases, etc. So, I trained and finally became a legal secretary.

After four years in the profession, in two different jobs, I find that it’s not quite what I expected. My work, for the most part, has involved extensive word processing and back-and-forthing with lawyers. I work at a high level of risk and exposure: leaving out a paragraph or missing a lawyer’s correction can lead to disaster. The pressure is extreme.

Now that I’ve worked hard to get here, though, I’m not excited about redirecting my career once again. What if I make another career mistake?

Any and all advice is welcome!  -- H.P., Tampa, Fla.

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