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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 don't have a lot of money to travel, but I've found that whenever I have a 'staycation,' I feel a little sad in the last couple of days and when I return to work, because I have no stories to tell and no sense of breaking my routine. Has anyone found a way to make the staycation really enjoyable and refreshing?" - Maura, Graphic Designer
Question: "My boss is generally nice but makes a lot of passive-aggressive comments when things don't go just right. For example, if a mistake is made, he'll say something like, 'Well, I guess I just have to learn not to be surprised when people screw up' or 'I try to look for the best in people, but oh well, I suppose I'll always be naive that way...' He has that way of criticizing where he makes it seem like he's just hurt that he has to suffer so much. How does someone respond to that kind of passive-aggression when I can't even say his comments are directed at any one person?" - Bea, Property Management Assistant
Question: "My boss is generally nice but makes a lot of passive-aggressive comments when things don't go just right. For example, if a mistake is made, he'll say something like, 'Well, I guess I just have to learn not to be surprised when people screw up' or 'I try to look for the best in people, but oh well, I suppose I'll always be naive that way...' He has that way of criticizing where he makes it seem like he's just hurt that he has to suffer so much. How does someone respond to that kind of passive aggression when I can't even say his comments are directed at any one person?" - Bea, Property Management Assistant
Question: "I've been asked to take meeting minutes for the last two years, but as far as I know, no one has ever even looked at them afterwards. It seems to be just a ceremonial thing, but I'm afraid to point it out. I'm wondering how many admins out there take minutes only to find later that they're not really used for much at all!" - Corinna, Administrative Assistant
Question: "I continue to have a problem making eye contact with people for any length of time. I know some other people who are like this, and I realize now that this is me too, and it doesn't send a great image at work (or anywhere else). Any tips on how to get over this, or some workarounds?" - Lance, Administrative Assistant
Question: "I had vaguely known a particular person who applied for an admin position here recently, and she seemed very cool and capable, and a few weeks into the job she's really doing well. But I just found out from a friend that on the résumé she submitted, she lied about having a degree and invented a couple of qualifications. What should I do with this information? Should I even do anything at all?" - Suzanne, Gallery Assistant
Question: "This might sound kind of absurd, but one thing I've never done well is call out sick—by which I mean actually getting through the call convincingly! Maybe it's the guilt I feel about letting people down, maybe it's uneasiness on the phone ... but I always feel awkward and never quite know what to say to my boss. Anyone have any tips on the phrases I should use to make the conversation short and convincing and stress-free?" - Emma, Postal Processes Assistant
Question: "The company where I work wants everyone on the team to have individual LinkedIn accounts so we can be searched and found for the convenience of clients and vendors, and to help validate the company's image. To me, asking for an employee to set up a social media account seems to be crossing a privacy line. I suppose I could refuse, but I think I might be alone ... does anyone else see this as asking too much, or is this just the age we live in?"  - Joyce, Print Assistant
Question: "If you could stop yourself from repeating one habit going into the new year—personally or professionally—what would it be?" - the editors of Administrative Professional Today
Question: "It's been three years since I got a raise and I need to have the discussion with my boss about it. If I can't get one, I think it's time to move on. But approaching him about it feels so awkward, no matter what technique I imagine. Requesting a meeting will make that awkwardness hang over our heads until it happens, but I just know approaching him casually will make me scramble for lame words. Is there a painless way to do this that doesn't put us both in an uncomfortable spot?"
Question: "Let's put a hypothetical out there. If you were offered a 25% raise, but only on the condition that you would never again be thanked for any of the little (or big) things you do to help during the workday, would you take it? Why or why not?" - the editors of Administrative Professional Today
Question: "We have someone on our admin team who seems to be a grievance addict. Whenever anything goes wrong or a system fails, she wants to assign blame and sit down with a manager to complain about it. Everything from our file system to the temperature in the office seems worthy to her of bothering someone so she can feel better. I don't think she really has anyone's best interest at heart; I suspect she's just one of those people who wants everything to be perfect for her and doesn't care how much tension her complaints cause. Any advice on how to deal with someone like that?" - Pat, State Archivist
Question: "For the last eight years I've been working with a terrific boss, and she just told me she's leaving for a new job. What's worse is that I know her replacement, and things are clearly just never going to be the same. How do you cope when you suddenly meet a reality like this?" - Bronwyn, Providence, RI
Question: "After six years away to start a family, I'm ready to head back into the admin world. But now I'm a little overwhelmed and confused by the options for job-seeking. It feels like checking the local online listings is still the best route to take—am I really missing anything on LinkedIn, Monster.com and other sites, or is that all just smoke and mirrors that probably won't result in me getting hired somewhere?" - Susan, Austin, Tx.
Question: "Our admin team has just taken on a very unusual challenge. In 2019, our office wants to raise a specific amount of  money for the charities we usually support—and it's a much bigger amount than usual! So now we have a few months to look at how we go about raising money from the staff. It's clear that we'll have to get more creative than just leaving out boxes for canned food or setting up donation jars. Got any suggestions for shaking things up?" - Allison, A/R Coordinator
Question: "My boss recently shifted blame in my direction for some mistakes in a print campaign, when the problem was actually some simple miscommunication between us. She didn't blame me directly or maliciously; she just conveniently left out some facts when describing the problem to her superiors, and that made her look a little better at my expense. What should my reaction be? How much 'bad press' should I be willing to absorb for the sake of helping her out, since helping her out is my job?" - Daphne, Public Relations Assistant
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
Question: "My boss is a very good one about nine days out of ten .... and then there always comes a day when he blows his stack a little. I can usually see it coming, but even so, I find it unsettling. I'm not sure I have the patience to endure anyone with even a mild anger problem—to me there's just never a call for it to escape someone's lips. How have others dealt with a hothead?" - Madeleine, Direct Response Marketing Associate
Question: "I'm definitely an introvert, and I've never really had a problem with that, but recently my boss told me that she could see my shyness becoming an issue since I'm going to be having to deal more and more with vendors and hotels and outside clients. She wasn't trying to criticize; she was just trying to explain how the job might get tougher based on my personality. Has anyone else been told something like this, and did you ever consider trying even a small personality 'makeover' to match the job?" - Iris, McAllen, Tx.
Question: "I've found that at work, I can concentrate with music playing, but not if there are lyrics. Phones ringing loudly are fine, but not tiny dings or chimes of people's electronic alerts. And I'm OK with people talking just outside my cubicle, but if they whisper, oh boy, for some reason that's a total distraction! Am I nuts, or does anyone else have a very small thing that totally disrupts their train of thought?" - Michalie, Public Transit Call Center
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