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Mary Ellen Slayter

Question: “Our CEO wants input about a fairly radical idea for reorganizing our office space. Because she thinks everyone’s gotten too insulated, which leads to secrecy, territoriality, gossip, and a lack of understanding of what other people do in their jobs, she wants to abandon all the offices and have everyone in one giant room with very low cubicle walls. Does anyone work in a setup like this? What do you think the effects would really be?” — Dale, Contract Service Specialist

{ 12 comments }

Question: ”I don’t make a whole lot of money as an admin, and I find myself shelling out a little cash here and there just to keep my job running smoothly—mostly buying office supplies, software and apps I feel I need to do things better, but also pitching in for birthday gifts, supplementing potlucks, and even paying to participate in all our football pools and guess-the-baby’s-birthdate contests to show team spirit. Do I have reason to be a little resentful that my job isn’t exactly free to do?” — Tammy, Documentation Coordinator

{ 21 comments }

Question: “Frankly, our admin team makes a lot of mistakes. We deal with a lot of paperwork and we create typos, overlook incorrect addresses, forget to format things correctly, mislabel files, etc. It’s all well and good to tell people to ‘be more careful,’ but there’s got to be a better way to put people into a mindset that cuts down on simple errors. Who’s got a solution?”  — Pru, Executive Finance Assistant

{ 13 comments }

Question: “Maybe I’m just getting old, but the more technology we use in our office, the less I want to keep up. I still use shorthand to take minutes, find names and addresses fast with my Rolodex, and far prefer the phone to email. Am I the only one who’s hanging on to the old ways, or are people finding that not every ‘advance’ at work has made things easier?”  — Marcia, Human Resource Area Specialist

{ 13 comments }

Question: “It seems like every meeting we have follows the same pattern: People cover a lot of issues, make a lot of points, and then we walk out thinking, “Um, what actually gets done now?” We really need to buckle down and figure out a way to get everyone to think in terms of setting specific goals that are pursued right away, but it’s tough to control all the meaningless exchanges that make people feel like they’ve contributed but actually take us nowhere. Help!”  — George, Front Office Coordinator

{ 7 comments }

Question: “I’ll sometimes have weeks when I feel like I’ve totally lost my spirit and enthusiasm, only to bounce back the following week when things at work go well. It seems like every time I think I just don’t have what it takes to keep going with this job, it was just a phase—but I sure do keep experiencing those phases! What are the signals that I need to move on because the point of real, no-going-back burnout has finally come?” — Tula, Administrative Assistant of Budget

{ 10 comments }

Question: “On our admin team we have ‘Karen’—a good worker except when it comes to helping out others if they haven’t met her precise expectations. Her view is that if people don’t follow procedures to the letter, then their problems should be ignored in order to teach them a lesson, even if this means a deadline is missed, a report goes out incorrectly, or a very minor mistake that could easily be fixed is left to become a bigger one through her inaction. I know she has a point about showing people the need for order, but aren’t we here to help those we work with above all things?” — Christine, Operations Clerk

{ 9 comments }

Question: “I feel strange when I talk about my enthusiasm for my work. I’m basically a mid-level admin and have been for four years, but I love it! Maybe I’ve just gotten lucky with my circumstances or the right combination of challenges, but I can’t be the only one who just plain enjoys doing this for a living, helping people in a thousand different ways. I want to find out how many admins really love their job like I do!” — Vanessa, Property Administrator

{ 26 comments }

Question: “I’ve always wanted to send out a meeting invitation to our whole office to give some informal hands-on training on our copiers, since I see no reason that everyone should be so helpless when it comes to clearing jams, changing toner, and knowing their way around the screens. But my boss is against it; he sees all of that as the admins’ job, even though we waste a lot of time dealing with these very easy-to-fix problems. Am I the only one who thinks it’s necessary to train everyone on this, not just the admins?” – Sharon, Senior Assistant

{ 27 comments }

Question: “I just moved into an administrative position after being very physically active at my old job, and the first thing a new colleague said to me was, ‘Good luck with the way this gig breaks your body down little by little!’ I do wonder about carpal tunnel syndrome, and weight gain from immobility, and what sitting in a chair for so long will do to me over the years … just what am I in for, anyway?” – Kirk, Data Technician/Receptionist

{ 17 comments }

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