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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: "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
Question: “I’m starting an admin job soon. The words ‘event planning’ were used during the interview a couple of times, but I neglected to ask for hard details. Is this something that an admin must do regularly, and is it as difficult as it seems? The idea of organizing an event for hundreds of people seems over my head!” – Kristin, Administrative Assistant III
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

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