Mary Ellen Slayter

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

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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.

{ 6 comments }

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

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Question: “Sometimes I like to work on projects at home, away from the pressure of the cubicle, but I don’t want to spend money on Microsoft Office or other expensive software if I don’t have to. I’ve heard that open source software is getting more and more capable of handling all the usual tasks a typical admin faces on the job. What are the best free or very inexpensive offerings out there today?” — Kathleen, University Teaching Assistant

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Question: “Our HR department is thinking of levying a policy that would discipline an employee for ‘raising his or her voice in anger’ when involved in a verbal exchange inside the office. Some here say it’s high time that hotheads learn to debate respectfully so as not to poison the atmosphere, but this seems to reach too far to control worker behavior. I’d love to know what others think before I vote on the policy!” — Cassandra, Accounts Payable Specialist

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Question: “I think I’ve got a good handle on what to include in my résumé; my concern right now is being behind the times and possibly making a subtle layout, content, or phrasing mistake that may immediately red-flag me. What are the current trends in what hiring managers do not want to see?”  - Anita, Oakland, Ca.

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Question: “I work for a small business and I keep thinking it might be time to start saving all our files to the cloud instead of our hard drives, paper, our small network, etc.  Is everyone really starting to get on board with cloud computing, or am I being too hasty?”  – Ilsa, Legal Assistant

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Question: “I answer a high volume of phone calls while handling multiple other duties.  Because my time greeting guests is so brief and repeatedly interrupted by calls, I sometimes have trouble remembering their names. I appreciate any advice or tricks to help me with this dilemma!” – OMM, Administrative Assistant

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Question: “We use a microcassette recorder to document our meetings, but recently I’ve found the tapes are no longer offered in stores. What other technology is being used these days to record meetings and later transcribe the notes for permanent storage?” – Debbie Reidler, Executive Assistant

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Question: “My boss doesn’t usually get a chance to keep up with his email while he’s traveling, so when he returns to the office he has to spend most of a day going through them. I would like to help him out by screening his email while he’s away. Is this a sensible suggestion, and does anyone have any procedures in place for it?” – Joan, Business Administrator

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