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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: "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 admin team is planning a little awards ceremony during the holidays. Some of the awards will go to those who have done great work, but others will be more tongue-in-cheek so we can all have some fun. I'm wondering what some good, clever awards categories would be to reflect what admins have to face each day." - Bonnie, Admin Team Leader

Question: "I am responsible for keeping the keys and the scheduling calendar book for our two company vans. I constantly have employees walking into my office, e-mailing me or calling me to see if a van is available. They are used by employees for going on sales calls, running company errands or attending meetings, conferences, etc. I would like to automate this process so everyone can view a calendar on their computer to check availability and reserve a van on their own. Could we use Outlook or SharePoint? What method would you use?" - Lisa, Administrative Assistant

Question: "Is there a particular boss from your past whose antics absolutely drove you up a wall? One whose behavior was off-the-charts annoying, and whose methods made you wonder how a person like that could ever become a boss in the first place? We'd love to hear your story!" - the editors of Administrative Professional Today

Question: “How do you open the door to a conversation on work ethic with a co-worker? How do you help co-workers improve their work ethic?  Is there training?” —An administrative secretary
Question: "As the song goes, ‘There’s never enough time to do the things we want to do once we find them’ … so, what's your favorite time management tip?" —The editors
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Question: What's your biggest technology challenge? Chances are, you're not alone in your frustrations. Please share your greatest tech challenges (and any solutions you've found) in a comment below. We've found that peer-to-peer advice is often the best to help admins work smarter, save time and master new skills. Thanks for sharing! —The editors

(Are you not yet a member of our Admin Pro Forum? Share your best advice with your peers:  Click here to join, it's free!)

Question: "Have you ever experienced age discrimination in hiring? My significant other and I have each been required to fill out background check forms that include our full birthdates and our college graduation dates. Even though the forms state that age will not be a factor in interviewing/hiring, it’s now obvious that we are over 50 years old. I see no good reason why these forms can’t wait until the company has made an offer or is about to. Do you? How would you handle this?" —Over 50  (Are you not yet a member of our Admin Pro Forum? Please join and share your advice with your peers:  Click here to join, it's free!)

Question:  “I am thinking of upgrading my phone and would like feedback on how your smartphone has made your job as an EA more productive and efficient? I would love to get as many specifics as possible to help with my decision. Thanks!”  —Amber Shumperd
Question: "I work for three directors who are all very busy. Their workloads have increased over the past year, thus increasing my workload.  I am able to complete my critical tasks, but I am unable to find time to do the less important tasks or projects that I have been asked to work on or take on additional tasks.  We are going to request an additional assistant to work for two of the directors, while I am assigned to the busiest of the three. I would like to track my time so that we have justification for the request, but I’m at a loss as to how to do that. Any suggestions or ideas from anyone who has done this in their executive assistant role?" —Busy E.A.
Question: "I have a few dilemmas when working remotely. During a telephone meeting/conference call, how do you gauge the body language of the group when you're the only one dialing into the meeting from home?  (And how do you get your 2 cents in on the speakerphone without interrupting the flow of the group meeting in-person?) Do you copy your boss on every email—even if it's not info she needs, just so she knows what you are working on and/or that you are busy? And what's the best way for a remote worker to replace the informal bonding that happens ‘around the water cooler’?"  —M.B.
Question: "I was terminated just before the end of my probationary period. I have my personnel file and there are a number of untruths in it. I had one self-evaluation which was signed and submitted prior to my taking sick leave for a heart catheterization. I received an unsatisfactory evaluation after my return to work. (My position was filled by someone who had formerly been in the office but left and was unhappy in her new position.) Was this an unlawful termination? I am more interested in suing the individuals involved, unless I can possibly get my old position back by suing the organization (or another position at the same location). I appreciate any advice." — J.F.
Question: "Recently I received an email from a manager reprimanding me for some work I’d done that was 'not the best use of your time.' He pointed to other projects that would be 'a better use' of my time. What upset me was that he also cc’d my direct supervisor. It was demoralizing. What happened to approaching someone directly with criticism? Now I don’t trust this manager. Has this happened to anyone else?" —Deflated by a cc
Question: "We have a member of our senior management team who never has anything positive to say about any of our employees. How do you counter someone over you that is negative day in and day out?" —Sandra
Question:  “I’ve been at my job a little over a year and have been told performance reviews will be coming up 'sometime soon.'  I want to be prepared and would appreciate advice. Since the economy is so bad, I’m curious if any of you are receiving raises?  Who brought it up—you or your boss? How do you know how much to ask for? Should I accept the offer or try to negotiate? I’d like to stay in this position—I’m still learning things and taking on more tasks, but I’m only making ends meet.  I’m not job hunting; does that take away my leverage?"  –I’d like a raise
Question:  “In this ‘jobless economic recovery’ many cut jobs were not replaced, including those of both managers and admins. My question:  Does your company have an ‘official’ admin team?  If so, what is the scope of the team? Do managers pitch in with admin tasks and vice versa? Which ones? Are there tasks you have dropped? Thanks for sharing.”  – Carolyn
Question: "This time of year everyone is resolving to get a handle on their calendars—and make sure managers  know about competing priorities. My question: Doesn’t anybody use Lotus Notes anymore?  All the calendar planning/time management advice seems geared toward Outlook? What about Lotus Notes users? Any new tips for us?" —Diane
Question: “Has anyone noticed how often food is used as a reward at work? I’m trying to eat healthy and be more active to set a good example for my kids. But it’s hard. I’m in a sedentary job and treats often appear (vendors bring in lunches and cookies, we celebrate co-workers birthdays with cakes, the kitchen is often full of goodies especially over the holidays, the vending machine calls my name). Can anyone share tips for avoiding temptation at work or suggest ideas I might suggest for non-food rewards/recognition? Employers have a stake in keeping us healthy, too. Do any of your employers encourage healthy eating and exercise? How? I used to take a brisk walk at lunchtime, but ‘Baby, it’s cold outside!’ Thanks for sharing.” —Trying to down-size
Question: "I have a college degree, and $20,000 in student loan debt to show for it. I’ve now been in the workforce seven years and I’ve noticed that the degree (I'm still paying for it) gives me a level of respect that others—even those who have years more work and life experience—don’t get. Do you think there’s a bias against those who don’t hold degrees? This is the second place I’ve worked where I see someone working longer hours, producing more work than others who hold degrees, yet in meetings she gets no recognition while the “professional” workers (who pile the work on her) get recognized.  Should I suggest she take the time to earn her degree after hours or online? Knowing she’s already stressed out—and that she doesn’t actually need one to do her job well? I think she hesitates to put her foot down because she fears job hunting (many good jobs screen out people without degrees). Or is there something else going on?" —Why the disrespect?
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