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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: "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
Question: "Our office has a pretty decent budget, and I'd like to convince our manager to get us a really nice high-volume, state-of-the-art photocopier. Ours is eleven years old and really basic, and I'm hoping these things can work wonders by now. Are there any snazzy but useful features I should be keeping in mind when I shop around, ones that can really help an admin?" - Clarissa, Guest Accounts Rep
Question: "I sat down and estimated how much I spend each year just on work clothes, and I came away pretty depressed! Trying to 'dress for the job you want, not the one you have' is expensive. I'd like to know how many admins simply refuse to chase that notion because of the expense, or because they're not particularly comfortable in clothing more formal than they wear outside the office. Personally, I'm dialing way back, and people here can think what they want to think!" - Melanie, New Bedford, Conn.
Question: "Where I work, we don't have performance evaluations, even though it's a big company. We never really know when or if we'll get a raise, and we don't have regular meetings with our bosses to talk about how we're doing. I'm wondering if this is unusual or just unfamiliar to me, coming from places where we had to set goals (too many, if you ask me) and had annual reviews. It feels like I might be getting short-changed somehow, but I'm not sure what to do about it. I'm not about to walk into my boss's office and say, 'The system needs to change!'" - Karen, Accounting Assistant
Q: "I'm sure the pay of an Executive Assistant is very nice, but I'm unsure about whether to strive for that position. I really like being basically on the same level as the other admins in the office, working very much as a group, and I'm hesitant to work so closely with just one boss, which is what this would entail in my company. I'm wondering if anyone has any reasons I should definitely go for it—or not!" - Blythe, Admin, San Diego

Question: "I've slowly realized that I'm the person everyone comes to when they want to talk about life outside the office, their personal problems, their traffic woes, their relationship headaches ... I don't mind, but I think I'd like to very slowly give up that role. Does anyone have any tips on how I might do that without shutting anyone down directly? These are all nice people and I like them a lot; I just want to focus on myself and the job more." - Cassidy, Test Prep Assistant

Question: "There's a member of our four-person admin team who does everything well and is very nice, but she is just never at work on time. Five minutes here, ten minutes there, occasionally fifteen ... maybe it's not a big deal because it's not difficult to catch up over the course of an eight-hour day. But I worry about the example this sets, and I get irritated when I have a question and need to wait for an answer. Do you think this behavior is too minor to risk alienating someone who does a good job by mentioning it? I'm not her supervisor, just a colleague." - Susan, Reservations Agent

Question: "I'm surprised at how much of my new job is about ordering food for meetings—I'm responsible for four or five a day sometimes, anything from a basket of muffins for a team huddle to a 40-seat luncheon. Has anyone learned any catering 'cheats' that will save money, move lines along faster or just make me look like I really know what I'm doing?" - Becky, Assistant to Investing Services

Question: "As Assistant Secretary to our not-for-profit board, we have the discussion constantly about the best/easiest way to share materials. We have a SharePoint platform forum; however, members say there are too many clicks to get what they need. Additionally, firewalls become an obstacle, plus the size of files, the time it takes to download large ones, etc. Any suggestions on sharing documents would be greatly appreciated." - Theresa, Assistant Corporate Secretary

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