Admin Pro Forum — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Page 96
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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: We have an office of about 70 employees, about 55 of whom have face-to-face contact with the public. The owner would like all patients welcomed with friendly faces. Not all the employees are this friendly. They aren’t rude, but are very cold. They do their work correctly.

How do you make people smile without making them more unfriendly?  If they don't fit into the atmosphere we are trying to create, would that be crazy to let them go?  -- Anonymous

For busy professionals, every minute you have in the morning is precious, and getting out the door on time is priceless. (That goes double if you have a family to hustle out the door, as well.) What sorts of tricks do you use to make a fast exit and get to work on time? Email the editor your solutions at and see them in an upcoming issue of "Personal Report for the Administrative Professional."

Question: Recently, the president of our company asked me to buy self-help and instructional CDs, along with several iPods, the purpose being to download materials from the CDs to the iPods and distribute them with our marketing materials to trainees who pay for training at our for-profit institute. I explained to my direct supervisor, who is the COO, that this may constitute copyright infringement, and therefore, could be an illegal activity.  She relayed this to the president of our company, who did not seemed concerned and, in essence, ordered me to copy these materials.  My question: If I do not copy the materials, am I being insubordinate?  -- Anonymous

Question: I have been immensely enriched with the advice to my previous queries. Now, I have another.

I work in coordination with a two-member team and supervise their performance and productivity. I am very driven and committed in keeping my deadlines and completing projects, so I sometimes initiate the reports and tasks they are supposed to do, so that it gets done and things run smoothly.

While that mission is accomplished, when it’s time for the reports to be presented, the credit goes to the wrong people for having got it done, and they look so efficient and with it, while I know for a fact—based on various other incidents—that they would not have done them otherwise.

I would not like to see things come to a standstill or get messy because these aspects are ignored, so I get them going, but I would like the management to know it is my initiative that got it going, not anyone else's. If someone reminded likewise, I would surely bring it up at some point and mention their name so they get the credit, but that never happens here. What do you suggest?  -- Anonymous

Over explainer

by on September 2, 2005 6:00am
in Admin Pro Forum

Question: I work with a person who has recently been promoted into the management ranks. My problem is that she over explains the simplest thing. I hate to interact with her because it is time-consuming. How can I handle this situation? Last week, she started to go into a detailed explanation and I cut her off by asking what the answer was. FYI, she isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer.  -- Karin

Question: I recently applied for a position as executive assistant.  I was not selected for the position and one of the reasons was that I did not provide any examples of my work.  The person I interviewed with suggested that I create a portfolio with various samples of my work using different software programs.

Has anyone ever create such a portfolio? How would I get started?  -- Karyn,  Buffalo, N.Y.

Question: My friend was sent on an interview by a placement agency.

She felt uneasy about the position after the interview because they told her that she would have to work overtime frequently. She, unexpectedly, was offered the position although she let the company know that she needed a set schedule.

When the agency called my friend, she told them that she was concerned about the overtime that she was told would be expected of her. She told the agency that, to make an informed decision, she wanted to speak to the interviewer again to get clarification. She was told that she could not contact the employer directly.

The agent told her that she had spoken w/other people whom she had placed with the company, and none had worked overtime in the past few months. The agent also told her that if she was concerned about not being able to pick up her kids up from daycare on time, most daycares are open until 6 p.m., so a little bit of overtime shouldn't affect her.

Is it me or does this sound suspect? I realize that these placement agencies are salespeople and will make the position sound as great as possible to get their fee.

My friend doesn't want to take a position and end up having to leave soon after. Should she go against what the placement agent said and contact the company directly, or just refuse the job and risk not being sent on another interview again? The agent was very upset about her apprehension.  -- Vita, Pittsburgh

Question: I would like some advice on how to train and make my co-worker independent.  He is a complete fresher in this line (admin) and although he has been with the firm for almost 6 months, had a very good orientation, training and also a chance to work things out, I have spent (and still do spend) a sizeable amount of each day correcting his mistakes. I have called him in to watch what I am correcting, hoping that he gets the hang of what exactly is required by the company, but he still hasn't got the idea.

I keep stressing that he must concentrate more, check things more, get into more detail, but all to no avail. I feel drained and am losing focus on my jobs in the process. Am I being over-bearing, and should I just let him figure it out? I am worried that if I do it that way, I will be left either to do the reports myself or to correct them when he hands them in, almost like doing it again.

He seems enthusiastic and hard working, so I ruled out disinterest in the job. I tried asking him if he has a personal problem or any issue that makes him lose focus, which he denied. How much more time do I have to spend on him? Am I doing something wrong? What should I do instead?  -- Anonymous

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 been given a project that defines the position expectations for the roles of a secretary, executive secretary and admin assistant.  Would you have anything like this request? I have attempted to start this spreadsheet and I think this is the direction that the executives are looking for. I would deeply appreciate any assistance you can give me.  -- Joy Lepper

To view Joy's spreadsheet, please visit

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