Admin Pro Forum — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Page 53
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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: "We're getting concerned where I work that the overwhelming amount of documents and data that we generate every day aren't being safely stored and tracked. We have no one person whose job it is to make sure that important files, customer records, financial statements, logbooks, correspondence, social media content, even security tapes and cellphone records are properly handled and archived—it's way too much for HR when every employee is churning out so much stuff on their own. Does anyone out there actually have a system in place to get a handle on all of this, or are most companies like us, just letting everything stack up in cabinets and fill up the computer network and hoping nothing vital gets lost along the way?" — Geena, Delivery Services Coordinator

Question: “I find myself pretty addicted to my smartphone, but not in a good way. I’m always checking my work emails because I want to occupy myself in line, at a restaurant, riding in the back of a car, etc., and I want to be as 'dialed in' as the rest of the staff. I realized the other day that nothing on my phone can help me be more productive; all it does is make me feel like I’m at work. Has anyone found the key to breaking the addiction, or at least making this thing complete an admin task faster so I can actually save time with it?” – Roland, A/P Specialist

Question: "I was an executive admin for nearly 30 years. After I was laid off, I thought it would be easy to find another job—after all, 'I’m an admin and can do anything.' I have interviewed almost consistently. I know that I used to interview well; I look good (very professional image), have a solid background, good skills, fun personality, easy to get along with, great ethic and word mindset, no kids ... I can travel, work late, come in early, etc. But I never really learned to 'market and brand' myself. So why I am not getting the jobs?" - Sheryl, Executive Admin

Question: "I recently had a performance review in which a couple of the things that were said about me were simply untrue. These comments took me completely by surprise, and I realize that in defending myself I probably came off as whiny and was very ineffective. Only now that a week has gone by do I realize exactly what I should have said, and how I should have said it. I got my raise and a decent overall mark, so is it just too late now to state my case? In going back over old ground, would I only make myself look worse no matter if the facts are on my side?" - May, Clerical Trainer

Question: "I have to send out 50 email invitations to a formal business dinner for important donors—the first of many, I think—and I'm really not sure how to address the recipients or phrase these invitations. There'll be no attachment. What should such an email look and sound like? In particular, what about the greeting, conclusion and subject line, and should I include any images or designs to give it a different tone than a normal email?" - Angelina, Membership Coordinator

Question: "My company recently hired an admin who doesn't quite fit in with the personalities around here. She's shy and some people think she's a little odd, but she does her job well enough. I'm worried that after only a month, she seems cut off from the other admins and is being isolated through no real fault of her own. Does anyone have any ideas on how to 'rescue' someone like this and make sure she doesn't become the employee people just don't care about?" - Livvy, Brokerage Assistant
Question: "What surprises did you have about your job or the administrative profession as a whole in the year 2015? Was it just another year—or did something really stand out?" - the editors of Administrative Professional Today
Question: "I was laid off a month ago and now I spend a couple of hours a day job-searching, and the rest of the time just trying to fill in the day. There must be something productive I could be doing that will look cool on my résumé—but it can't be too much of a time commitment that will interfere with being able to suddenly go off to an interview, or even start a new job on a moment's notice. Any suggestions?" - Neil, Woodbury, Minn.

Question: "The one thing I don't like about my new admin job is that we have to rate our co-workers every year! I'm dreading filling out that form. It asks us to rate people on a scale from 1 to 5 in a number of different work categories. The ratings are anonymous, but I'm afraid being really honest will cause resentment and strife if someone receives an accumulation of mediocre ratings. Realistically, wouldn't it be better to avoid giving 1s and 2s no matter how I feel, and just let our manager deal with visible performance problems?" - Monty, Tech Documentation Specialist

Question: "The company I work for caters every meeting no matter how brief, spends thousands of dollars for a service to keep office plants looking nice, constantly renovates to add TVs nobody watches and parking spaces nobody uses. I guess we can afford it, but I'm considering discussing this with my boss. I'm wondering about other admins' experiences with bringing up the delicate subject of the company throwing money away on extravagant things. What's the best way to go about it when I'm not totally sure how else that money should be spent—only that it seems enormously wasteful?" – Annabelle, Transcriber

Question: “My boss has asked me to come up with ideas to help our staff become more team-player oriented. At a previous job she and a co-worker brought all of their office staff together, paired them up with Legos, and had one read directions while standing behind the one putting the item together. She said the results were fantastic because it showed the staff members how others perceive another giving directions and how they interpret them. Does anyone have any other suggestions on how to make being a ‘team-player’ fun?”  Mary

Question: "A situation has arisen in our office involving a lack of raises for admins going back three years, while other departments get steady increases. We believe that only the whole admin team presenting our grievance at once will work to get a change made, because individual complaints just haven't had any impact. I'm looking for guidance on the best way to present a 'unified front' when an issue needs to be addressed this way. Should our concerns be in writing? Should one of us act as the leader who presents them?" - Daphne, Conference Center Assistant

Question: "After two years on the job, I've been given permission to come up with my own job title—my boss doesn't put much stock in them. Right now I'm basically your average administrative assistant, but I wonder if sprucing up my title will look good on a résumé or LinkedIn should I need to look for work somewhere else. Who knows, maybe I could gain more credibility here in the office, too. Should I call myself something a little fancier, or is there a downside to it?" – Melanie, Rehoboth, Del.

Question: "We've been asked to train new hires through writing careful processes, but it's also been suggested we mix in some short videos of our own making too. Does anyone have opinions on which types of tasks it's easier to learn through video than through reading the steps of a process? I'm particularly curious about which method we should use to teach computer software. I know I'm mostly a text-learner ... am I becoming a rare breed?" - Nathan, Administrative Support
Question: "I opened the office fridge one day last month and found a note taped to my empty grocery bag. Someone was apologizing for eating my sandwich when she realized she'd left hers at home and had become shaky with hunger. Fortunately the situation resolved itself (sort of), but now I really have to know what people say is the most jaw-droppingly irritating thing one of their co-workers has ever done!”  —  Reese, Closed Captioning Transcriber

Question: "Our admin team is compiling one list each month of 10 tips to get better at a certain skill. We simply post these on our walls at work to always keep us in learning mode. This month's list is about time management. For the first time, we're not filling up a list very quickly—we keep rejecting ideas because so many of them haven't really helped us that much in the past. Does anyone have any gems they can share?" - Samantha, Customer Service Dispatcher

Question: "I think I'm in need of some sort of training that will teach me to turn down tasks and projects that gobble up too much time, or that I just don't want to get involved in. I fear that as an admin for 15 years, I've been conditioned to say 'Yes' to whatever comes my way. Has anyone out there made a conscious effort to break from the agree-then-regret trap? How did you go about it?" - Monica, Email Marketing Account Coordinator
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