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Mary Ellen Slayter

Question: “Where I work, our Internet usage is monitored, our time is tracked to the minute, we have to log in and out of every application so the managers can see who is doing what and when, and the steps of every project are time-logged to make sure we’re using our time efficiently. This has all begun to feel oppressive—even though HR tells us that it facilitates our performance reviews and makes the raises and promotions process orderly and noncontroversial. Does anyone but me feel caged in by the way so many jobs now keep such a close eye on us?”  – Blair, Broker’s Assistant

{ 13 comments }

Question: “Every admin job I apply for asks me about my salary requirements and how much I made at my last position. I guess I still haven’t figured out the right response to this—whether to be perfectly honest, undervalue myself to get a better chance at being hired, or shoot for the moon. Which answer really gets the best results?” – Sam, High School Secretary

{ 11 comments }

Question: “Our office is thinking about converting to Windows 8 now rather than waiting till it’s absolutely necessary, but my boss wants us to be able to answer one question first: What problem does it solve? He’s not a fan of bells and whistles for their own sake and wants to upgrade now only if someone can show that version 8 will save us time or energy. Can anyone tell me if it gives us something that’s either missing or doesn’t work in the previous version?” – Betty, Residential Property Manager

{ 4 comments }

Question: “Have you ever surveyed the executives you or your team work for regarding the level of support they receive and the skill set of the admin team? Do you have a survey or resource you can share?”  — Heather, Executive Assistant

{ 6 comments }

Question: “Is it a HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) privacy violation for your employer to ask for your diagnosis on your excused absence letter from your physician?” – J., Texas

{ 5 comments }

Question: “My boss has asked me to come up with ideas to help our staff become more team-player oriented. At a previous job she and a co-worker brought all of their office staff together, paired them up with Legos, and had one read directions while standing behind the one putting the item together. She said the results were fantastic because it showed the staff members how others perceive another giving directions and how they interpret them. Does anyone have any other suggestions on how to make being a ‘team-player’ fun?”  Mary

{ 8 comments }

Question: “I’ve been an admin for about a year, and am thinking about finishing my college degree studies at night. Since I really enjoy this field, I’m wondering if I’m better off just working hard and getting better at it rather than spending my nights for two years getting a degree mostly for the sake of having one. How much job experience do you think it will take to look as good on a résumé as a diploma would?” – Jane, Support Team Leader

{ 41 comments }

Question: “I read recently that your day has either been made or broken by the time you’ve been at your desk for only a half hour, and your routine from the moment you wake up should be carefully engineered toward maximizing your calm and contentment so that the workday begins well. In this case, I’m a disaster, with my mornings at home being chaotic and everything rushing at me very early in the office. Does anyone have a recipe for a morning routine that really sets a good tone for the next eight hours?” – Kat, District Secretary

{ 11 comments }

Question: “My boss is definitely a forward-thinking person, and now she’s really stirred up the pot where I work by suggesting we ban the word ‘assistant.’ She thinks it makes people see one worker as less important than another, and this becomes a stigma. She doesn’t want to change job functions, just the way people perceive them. Does anyone have any good ideas for a better word for what people like me do to help a superior in her job?”  – Kelvin, Support Assistant

{ 61 comments }

Question: “My current job, which I’ve had for nine months, is going sour fast and I don’t think I can go on. Here’s the real problem: If I leave, I don’t trust anyone here to give me a good recommendation, and I wouldn’t know how to explain to an interviewer that I have no references from my most recent position. But if I don’t list this job at all on my résumé, it creates a mysterious recent gap in my work experience. Is there any way out of a dilemma like this?” – Nate, Contract Administrator

{ 11 comments }

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