Admin Pro Forum
Share best-practices with your administrative peers. Pose a question, offer advice, or just be a fly on the wall.
Question: “We have a meeting with all the administrative assistants every two or three months. The office administrator usually takes the lead in deciding what subjects we are going to discuss. Now, she has given the ‘privilege’ to each individual admin to take charge of the meetings. I dread my turn. I’m just a humble ‘secretary’ from the old school and some of the admins have more education and experience. Can you give me some suggestions as to what topics to discuss? I know that there are a lot of great articles in the Administrative Professional Today newsletter, but I don’t want to come out as if I’m teaching these gals.” — Lydia
“Last year I gave my boss a nice, monogrammed business-card holder for his desk. He never acknowledged it and doesn’t use it. What now? Food, fruit or something for the entire family?” -- Diane
“The association I work for will be moving to another state sometime in the next six months. Knowing that our jobs are ending has made it difficult to do our jobs and remain professional toward the people who made that decision. I feel we need to serve our members the same as we did before. But other employees have copped an attitude. What's the best way to deal with the anger of co-workers and still maintain good customer service and remain professional?” -- Janice
Question: “Since starting my current position more than a year ago, I have implemented a lot of new projects, creating duties that I felt the position should include. Now that things have slowed down and everything is implemented, I find myself with lots of downtime. I feel like I’ve run out of ideas and I’m sick of updating mailing lists since it’s slowed down. Any ideas to keep me busy?” — Anonymous
Question: “I am looking for some new, different ideas for a year-end letter. My boss usually sends out personalized year-end letters highlighting the accomplishments of our department. He wants to do something different this year. Does anyone have any ideas?” —Kim E. Rodriquez
Question: “Any suggestions for a sign-in method in an open reception area? Currently, we're using a clipboard and a paper sign-in sheet but each person who signs in can see the names of earlier attendees.” — Anonymous
Question: “My company has decided not to do the usual Christmas party this year. In the past, it’s been a huge affair for all employees and their families. This year, we are planning to hold “something” at the office just for staff. I’d like to know what other companies are doing this year and any ideas for in-house parties.” — P.T.
Question: “Our company has an outing every year. I felt very uncomfortable at the last couple that I attended, and I would rather work than be there. The same employees that huddle at the office are the same ones that huddle at the outing. I speak to everyone at the office, but I do not have a certain group that I'm around all the time. I try to be a team player and attend functions that are given by the company, but I really hate going. Any suggestions?” — Angela Murphy
Question: “What is the preferred (or most common) title for someone who reports directly to an assistant general manager: administrative assistant or executive assistant?” — B.J. Carroll
Question: “I have moved back to my hometown and taken a position that I held 13 years ago. At the time, I was the only secretary/administrative assistant in the office. Now, there is a secretary and an administrative assistant, which is my position. The secretary resents me because she did not get this position. She did not get this position the last couple of times it was filled. She has a good friend in our IT Department and the two of them talk about me and things that go on in the office. The secretary also is abrupt to the public and uses profanity. I don’t like her talking about me and I feel that she should be more professional. What should I do?” — LS
Question: “I need help in revising our current policy on continuation of medical insurance during the following cases: temporary layoff, permanent layoff, workers’ comp. Currently, the employer pays 100% of employee insurance benefits. Any advice would be appreciated.” — Anonymous
Question: “I have been asked to help arrange a business meeting/workshop in another state. I know that I will need to depend on someone else at that location for assistance. Whom do I work with? What types of things do I need to do to make this a successful meeting? What things should I pay attention to?” — Anonymous
Question: “I work for a nonprofit board of directors (50 members). Every year, I give each board member a small token gift for our December meeting, and a little nicer gift for the annual meeting in June. I try to keep the budget to about $1 to $1.75 per gift (for the December gift) and a little more for the June gift. I've given coffee cups, clocks, pocket calendars, lunch Koozies, Slinky toys (as stress relievers) and even polo shirts. Does anyone have any suggestions for gift ideas that I could give this year? Any web sites would be helpful.” — Anonymous
Question: “Does anyone have a policy on start/end work times for jobs that don’t require employees to punch time clocks? We polled the staff as to when everyone would like to start work in the morning, and they agreed to 8 a.m. Now, people have started strolling in at 8:15, but they put the usual 8 a.m. on their time sheets. Their supervisors don’t mind, but I’m the project assistant, so how should I address this issue?” — Virginia M. Howard
Question: "My company will be closing its doors within the next two years. I am 61 years old and have worked as a secretary here for 19 years. Our facility is out of the city limits, I have not had to interview for many years and I do not have the early-year career-drive that I did while in my 30s. Does anyone have any advice as to where or what I do to begin re-thinking my current job position and future potential? I find that the job market is keener on hiring the younger and more adventuresome admins. I had hoped to be able to work at this position until I could retire at age 66." — Anonymous
Question: “I am the assistant to our company’s CTO, who is very ‘hands on.’ She is constantly in meetings and on conference calls, which takes a toll on her e-mail inbox. I am tasked with helping to control the outrageous amount of e-mails that come in to her on a daily basis. I have become good at detecting the junk mail, but it doesn’t even put a dent in the total. Does anyone have any suggestions on e-mail management?” — Leslie N. Robus
Question: “The holidays are approaching, and I need help thinking of a nice and reasonably priced holiday gift from my male boss (CEO). Any suggestions?” — Sandy S.
Question: “What is the appropriate way to list a retired physician on our letterhead and web site? Should we remove his name or simply put (retired 2008) beside his name?” —Viki
Question: “We have a long-term temporary worker who manages to get the job done, but the collateral damage is staggering! She is loud, abrupt and downright rude. The only people who like her are the salespeople she supports because she does provide them tangible results. How can I ask her to conform more to office behavior without causing a strain on our working relationship?” —Kristin
Question: “We have an employee who has been going through a difficult divorce for the past year and a half. Lately, she has been making more and more mistakes and it seems she needs training on things we all should know and that she once knew. She seems overly sensitive to basic constructive criticism and is beginning to play a bit of the blame game. I think she needs a vacation, but she refuses to take one. Any suggestions on how to get her through this divorce without sacrificing job performance? Or is there such thing as a “mandatory” vacation?” — Jocelyn