Mary Ellen Slayter

Question: “I’ve been a temporary admin in many different offices since 2009, and I really haven’t noticed the slightest reduction in the amount of paper all over people’s desks, brought out in meetings, and in use all over the office. My boss just mentioned that he’s thinking about starting a ‘paperless office’ initiative, but to me it doesn’t seem necessary or even desired. I think we’ve all underestimated how comfortable people feel with paper and how much we still want it. Isn’t a project like this just going to wind up being totally fruitless?” – Maeve, Accounts Payable

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Question: “We have an admin on the team who is far past retirement age but shows no interest in retiring—which is great, except he’s slowed down and become inefficient to the point where he may be creating more work than he’s doing. He’s not really eager or able to learn advanced new skills, either. Our boss is a very sympathetic person and feels stuck while he sees our productivity suffer. What would you do?” – Aaron, E-marketing Assistant

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Question: “My company is gearing up to get into social media. They seem pretty open to creativity, so I’d like to know if anyone’s noticed any companies out there that really seem to know how to get people’s attention on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. I’d like to start following and befriending them to learn the tricks of the trade.” - Everett, Admin Team Lead

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Question: “I am currently working in Word 2007 and we are getting ready to update to Word 2010. Will there be a lot of changes to get used to?”  - Sharon, Office Manager / Financial Secretary

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Question: “I was placed on a performance improvement plan at work. I really think it’s a way to slowly fire me, and it’s such a morale killer to be under this kind of watch that I don’t have much enthusiasm left for the job. Does anyone ever come back from being on probation like this to do really well with their company and leave the black mark totally behind? I sure can’t think of an example.” – Violet, Insurance Researcher

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Question: “Do you find that the position of administrative assistant is becoming a thing of the past? I am retiring next month and they’re not replacing my position.”  - Sally, Admin

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Question: “My boss is notorious for running late for meetings, being out of touch when he’s supposedly working at home, forgetting about appointments … I’m often the only one who knows the real reasons for these problems, and they’re rarely good ones, so it falls to me sometimes to make an excuse. I sense that people see through me when I do. What can I possibly say in these situations when I’m a lousy liar but I don’t want to make my otherwise good boss seem like a mess?” – Frazzled, San Mateo, Ca.

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Question: “I recently had a performance review in which a couple of the things that were said about me were simply untrue. These comments took me completely by surprise, and I realize that in defending myself I probably came off as whiny and was very ineffective. Only now that a week has gone by do I realize exactly what I should have said, and how I should have said it. I got my raise and a decent overall mark, so is it just too late now to state my case? In going back over old ground, would I only make myself look worse no matter if the facts are on my side?” - May, Clerical Trainer

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It’s hard enough to pass off a task without being physically disconnected from someone. But in the modern age, you don’t always get to delegate face to face.

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Question: “Sometimes our boss gives everyone on our admin team $100 to spend on things we can use to improve our skills. This quarter, that $100 can go toward whatever I can think of that might help me become a better writer. Does anyone have suggestions on what books or software I should order? It’s a case of use it or lose it!” – Clara, Vendor Relations

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