Mary Ellen Slayter

Question: “Ugh! It looks like if I’m ever going to get more pay, I need to be the one to bring up the issue. I think what I need when I sit down with my manager to start the dialogue is one effective, attention-getting line that will start things on the right foot. What should it be?”  – Faye, Legal Assistant

{ 7 comments }

Question: “People make little jokes about how much paper I keep on my desk, my stuffed file cabinets and the number of old emails I store in Outlook, going back years sometimes, and it was even brought up in my performance evaluation. But I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been saved because I still had an ‘ancient’ email for reference or a tiny scrap of paper with a bit of info on it that everyone else had forgotten. We’ve all been trained to get rid of this stuff and keep things tidy for the sake of… well, what?”  – Rod, State Comptroller’s Office

{ 12 comments }

Question: “When the holidays kick in, everyone in my office slowly winds down and puts in less and less general effort. There’s so much vacation planning going on, excitement over the time off, discussions of our plans, ‘innocent’ online shopping, short awkward weeks… we all get into a mode of thinking that we’ll really get back into the swing in the new year, and so it feels like we’re in slow motion from Thanksgiving onward. I think it’s totally natural to run out of energy at the end of the year, but I have a co-worker who thinks it’s sort of irresponsible. Does anyone else see this phenomenon?” – Blair, Receptionist

{ 7 comments }

Question: “Because it officially never closes, the company I work for makes me take a vacation day if I can’t come in due to bad weather. While everyone above the admin level can just telecommute in comfort on those days, admins of course do a lot of work with physical materials, so it’s either head out into the snow or lose that time. Does this seem unfair to anyone but me?” - Henry, Claims Assistant

{ 26 comments }

Question: “I work at a very small customized apparel company. My manager recently asked us to put bumper stickers with our logo on our cars, say something good about us on our Facebook pages, and have a friend or someone in our families give a product of ours a positive review online. I don’t think I’ll be doing any of this, since I think the request crosses a line between work and personal life. The problem is, it might just be me who doesn’t follow the program. I need a way to defend my decision without seeming too harsh. Does anyone have an idea about what I should say?”  – Sydney, Customer Service and Fulfillment Specialist

{ 6 comments }

Question: “I find myself pretty addicted to my smartphone, but not in a good way. I’m always checking my work emails because I want to occupy myself in line, at a restaurant, riding in the back of a car, etc., and I want to be as ‘dialed in’ as the rest of the staff. I realized the other day that nothing on my phone can help me be more productive; all it does is make me feel like I’m at work. Has anyone found the key to breaking the addiction, or at least making this thing complete an admin task faster so I can actually save time with it?” – Roland, A/P Specialist

{ 8 comments }

Question: “I work in a very small office where I am receptionist, administrative assistant, office & kitchen manager and supplies procurement manager. I order lunches, make dinner reservations, coordinate office functions and parties, pick up, handle and distribute mail. I help the accounting department and administer to all who need help. I am fine doing all these tasksbut I hate going into the kitchen to find it a mess! People spill coffee and milk all over the counters, leave bread and cookie crumbs on the counter and on the floor …  what do I do?” — Carol

{ 19 comments }

Question: “I’m starting an admin job soon. The words ‘event planning’ were used during the interview a couple of times, but I neglected to ask for hard details. Is this something that an admin must do regularly, and is it as difficult as it seems? The idea of organizing an event for hundreds of people seems over my head!” – Kristin, Administrative Assistant III

{ 13 comments }

Question: “My department has been sharing space with another one. Their admin support is in a remote location out of state. Employees from this other department constantly interrupt me to ask where other employees are, where office supplies are, for help with a printer or scanner that isn’t working, taking delivery of their packages and lunches, etc. My boss has instructed me not to help them, as they technically have their own admin support. I have made them aware of my boss’s wishes, but they continue to ask me for help rather than relying on each other or the remote admins. I’m struggling with a response I can give when I get these requests that would be polite and friendly, but might help shut the door on future requests.” — Kathy, Administrative Assistant

{ 41 comments }

Question: “How do you tell your co-worker she’s wearing too much perfume? It gives some people a headache—not to mention its effect on people with allergies.” – Andrea

{ 13 comments }

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