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Admin Pro Forum

Admin Pro Forum

Share best-practices with your administrative peers. Pose a question, offer advice, or just be a fly on the wall.

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Question: "I've found during my admin career that when I'm up against a deadline—especially an unexpected one—I become super-efficient and focused, and even my ideas on how to problem-solve are sharper and better. And if something creative is called for, I'm suddenly filled with good notions when the clock is running out. Generally, it takes a little bit of panic to bring out the very best worker in me! Does anyone else have this problem, and has anyone found a way to generate a sense of urgency when there really is none?" - Karen, Legal Assistant
Question: "I'm trying to come up with some fresh, unusual icebreakers for our inter-office 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: "A vital person on our admin team, who's terrific in every way professionally, sometimes creates really bad feelings by being a drama queen. When it happens, it's so embarrassing and frustrating. In general, what should you do when someone's a superstar except for one big problem? Isn't it sometimes better to just deal with one major personality glitch rather than create an issue out of it?" - Kathryn, Team Lead
Question: "I've told myself that if my boss takes a very bullying tone to me again, I'll speak up about it. But in the heat of the moment, I tend to weaken and not defend myself from it. Should I report his actions to someone immediately after it happens, or should I wait till I cool down so I get a better perspective and have notes? If I confront him directly, should I come back to his office sometime after it's over and we've both settled down, or deal with the issue right away and risk an escalating argument? It's not so much a question of if I try to put an end to this; it's when." - Anonymous Admin
Question: "We've all made big mistakes at work and paid the price ... but have you ever committed a whopper of an error only to find that no one noticed, or the mistake corrected itself somehow? How did it make you feel? Did you confess, or just let it slide and consider yourself lucky?" - the editors of Administrative Professional Today
Question: "At a professional conference recently, I was amazed to find out that some companies were so open to sending their admins overseas for weeks at a time for work. I'm sent sometimes to the next state overnight, but I certainly never had to get a passport! I'm wondering if any admins out there travel for their job to unusual places. I think it would inspire me!" - Dawn, Health Insurance Auditor
Question: "If you had a classroom full of admins waiting to hear you speak, on what area of your job do you think you could give the best instruction? Based on your experience, what training would you give them to make them great?" - the editors of Administrative Professional Today
Question: "How many birthdays is too many to celebrate in the office? Looking at our list, we had 16 last year, which meant that more than once a month a card was circulated. That's it, just a card, and once in a great while someone would take it upon themselves to bring in cupcakes and set them out in the break room. It's tough to tell if people were really into it or not; to me, it began to feel meaningless. Any ideas on how to break out of this rut? If we're just doing this too often, is stopping birthday acknowledgement altogether really a good option?" - Michelle, State Transit Authority
Q: "The last couple of places I've worked as an admin didn't seem to have a whole lot of understanding of how things have changed for parents over the years—how often school days get disrupted now, how many organized activities kids are involved in, how tricky it is to juggle life when both spouses have full-time careers. Has anyone else been looking for a little empathy, and a little more flexibility in their schedule, but come up short?" - Wanda, Executive Assistant, Finance

Question: "In this office, to lend anything out to a co-worker is to have it disappear. Has anyone come up with a good system for lending out things like staplers, folders, chairs, rolling carts, etc., to guarantee these things actually come back?" - Joleen, Reservations Systems

Question: "I've taken to using a simple whiteboard to keep track of ongoing tasks. I just take my black marker and eraser and mark the board at will, always having it within view. This has replaced a lot of Outlook reminders and other digital doodads that failed for me. So now I'm thinking of going 'old-school' with other things to get me to focus differently. Does anyone else use any supposedly outdated tools that happen to work wonders for their productivity?" - Nancy, Assistant Bookkeeper

Question: "When I look back on all the pay increases I've gotten in my career, I realize that I'm excited about them for about two days, but the novelty of having a little more money fades quickly. Have any admins gotten a pay raise that really made them much happier in the long-term, or does the extra bump always quickly disappear into the daily onrush of bills and so-called necessities? Why do I feel no more content as I make more and more?" - Thula, Data Processing Lead

Question: “From performing simple acts of kindness to saving human lives, heroes walk among us every day. Who are your workplace heroes? The producers of Admin Pro Forum 2018, taking place May 23-25 in Orlando, Florida, want to know. Tell us a little bit about your workplace heroes—fellow admins, managers, delivery people or IT folks, executives or cleaning staff—so we can bestow upon them the honor they so richly deserve.” - the editors of Administrative Professional Today

Question: "Every time I turn around I read how terrible sitting for long periods is for our health. How are admins coping with this? My job gets me up and around sometimes, but surely not often enough to counteract the evils of my chair!" - Nika, Auto Leasing

Question: "Once or twice a year, I wake up and just really, really don't feel like going to work. But it feels like the system is set up to make us lie about our absences if they're not illness-related or scheduled well in advance. Does anyone work in a place where you feel free to tell your boss, 'Not today, sorry, it's been rough recently and I need a mental health break?' How often do other admins escape for a day, and do they feel the need to be less than honest about it?" - Jane, Departmental Aide

Question: "Where I work, there are six admins, but in the ten months I've been here, we've never met as a group once. Everything gets done and nothing falls through the cracks, but I think it would really help us all get on the same page if we have regular meetings just like any other department. Before I talk to my boss about this, what's an efficient (and enjoyable) structure and frequency for an admin team this size? Any tips to make our meetings productive?" - Barbara, Wholesale Operations Team

Question: "What do you worry about most during the workday? Is it a specific task, dealing with a specific person, or maybe fear for losing  your job? What's the one pressing concern you can't ever quite shake?" - the editors of Administrative Professional Today

Question: "How do you tell your corporate office, kindly, that the holiday wreath they send each year doesn’t survive the shipment? We are located in Florida and every year the corporate office in Louisville sends us what was once a beautiful wreath with fresh fruit, nuts and berries. I am sure in the colder weather they hold up great ... but here in Florida the fruit is already molded by the time I open the box!" - Jeannie, EA

Question: "As soon as I got my new admin job, I was deluged by office supply vendors with deals and offers to switch, and I've also been asked to explore ways to save money in catering, shipping, courier services, etc. But I have no experience in dealing with vendors and I don't want to wind up making some deal I later regret. Does anyone have any advice on how to make (or refuse) new deals, and what I should be suspicious of?" - Margaret, School Board EA
Question: "Recently I found out that my boss is clearly engaged in some things at work that aren't illegal but are unethical. I'm not supposed to know about them; I came across the information completely by accident. I'm not sure what to do. I think he's a decent person who's just gotten desperate about keeping his job, but I don't know him very well. Any advice?" - Shaina, Executive Assistant
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