Question: “I might be a Scrooge, but I always roll my eyes when it comes time to decorate the office and plan little events for the staff during the holidays. Between the time it takes away from our usual duties and the fact that we’re bombarded outside of work with holiday imagery and revelry (and sweets!), wouldn’t it be kind of a relief to come into the office and not be overwhelmed by yet another layer of yuletide spirit?” – Kendra V., Receptionist
Question: “I always leave my interactions with the IT department feeling a little foolish about tech, and with the sense I’ve interrupted them with my needs. Since I always have to ask IT’s help for everything from reviving a dead keyboard to getting the network to behave, are there ways I can present my daily problems to them so that both our jobs are made easier?” – Ronald, Mail Coordinator
Question: “The company I’ve started working for can’t afford to give me a dual monitor setup to work with, and after using two for so long I suddenly feel stymied. Does anyone know some ways to keep as many applications as possible easily visible and flowing smoothly given only a single screen?” - Patti, Word Processing Specialist
Question: “Since layoffs hit our office, people have been understandably down. Now my boss has asked me for ideas about a possible good will gesture toward all employees. The problem, of course, is that we can spend virtually no money! Does anyone have any budget-conscious notions that might restore a little trust in management?” – Danny, Point of Rocks, Md.
Question: “I’m about to put a friend of mine forward as a job candidate with my firm, but despite my confidence in her, I wonder if the downside of recommending someone I know is too great. Sometimes people don’t work out, and this could reflect on me. Am I being selfish, or am I justified in hesitating to commit myself to her cause?” – Jen, Email Marketing Representative
Question: “I’ve heard the phrase ‘assertiveness training’ quite a bit over the years, but only recently did I become aware of the program’s use by admins to kickstart their confidence level at work. What does this regimen consist of, and does it get results?” — Cora, Court Transcriber
Question: “I’m completely maxed out in my job and don’t have a minute to spare for additional tasks—but try explaining that to my rather demanding manager, who tends to see even the shortest break as productive time lost. What’s the best way to diplomatically tell her I absolutely can’t take on any more work?” — Clare, Medical Office Receptionist
Question: “I was promoted at work eight months ago, but last month I was put back into my old job, not having met expectations. I understand why I was demoted, but now I just feel embarrassed when I go into the office, knowing that I have this black mark on my record and maybe a reputation for not being able to handle a higher position. Can someone come through with words of inspiration to get past this awful feeling?” – Todd K., Provost’s Assistant
Question: “I’ve just landed a job with a big international marketing firm, and even though I’ll be working from the states, I get a little nervous when they tell me about all the different clients and projects involving so many different countries. What do I most need to be prepared for as an admin who’s suddenly dealing with international cultures, people, and ways of doing things?” – Mary, Long Island, N.Y.
Question: “I seem to be alone in my office in thinking that PowerPoint deflates many presentations with visuals for concepts that don’t need them, slides that simply re-state what is being said, frustrating tech glitches, and a habit of drawing attention away from the presenter, who must struggle to maintain important eye contact. Does anyone else feel the same way? Is it really considered terribly ‘old school’ to dispense with PowerPoint for a big meeting?” – Carol, Personal Assistant