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
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
Question: “My boss is incredibly difficult to work with, especially after I filed a gender discrimination complaint a few years ago. He invades my personal space, tosses papers all over my desk, postures aggressively, deliberately tries to upset me, and has hurt the atmosphere of cooperation I once shared with my colleagues. I’m close enough to retirement so that I can’t realistically quit, but how do I foster a working relationship with someone who causes such stress?” – Sonia, Casper, Wy.
Question: “My worst fear whenever we hire a new person is that he or she will work here for a few days but decide not to stay—sometimes people just don’t get a great first impression of a job, its workload, or particular people. What can we do to make the first week of work rewarding and even fun for a newbie?” —Teri, Loans Administrator
Question: “Like many companies, mine differentiates between sick time and personal time. Sometimes, I wake up in the morning and just feel like spending the day at home or running errands, but because we’re supposed to schedule personal time in advance, I’m stuck with having to invent an illness or some emergency. How can I just take a spur-of-the-moment ‘well’ day without having to lie and feel ridiculous?” – Marla, Bel Air, Md.
Question: “I really learn best by watching a video of a task being performed rather than reading dry instructions, particularly when it comes to software applications. Does anyone have any suggestions on where to find helpful videos for admin procedures?” – Jason J., Data Researcher
Question: “I’m trying to come up with some fresh, unusual icebreakers for our interoffice admin meetings. Going around the room introducing ourselves and telling what we do is so stale! What are some better ways to get people into an upbeat, productive mood?” – Jennifer A., Transcriber
Question: “Between all my different computer applications at work and at home, I’m absolutely drowning in usernames and passwords—many of which require updating every couple of months. Has anyone finally thought of an easy, secure way to wrangle all of these things?” – Eve, Customer Service Associate
Question: “What is the real deal with all those ‘Work from home, make thousands’ ads I see on the Internet? Are any of them on the up-and-up, and is there any viable way for an admin to make a livable wage without being connected to an office?” – Diana S., Phoenix
Question: “It was suggested during my performance review that I don’t attend enough office social events like happy hours or volunteer days, and that I keep to myself too much in general. Is this a valid criticism, or is my employer overstepping the bounds of how I should be judged at work?” – Christopher H., Facilities Assistant