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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: "I am currently working in Word 2007 and we are getting ready to update to Word 2010. Will there be a lot of changes to get used to?"  - Sharon, Office Manager / Financial Secretary

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: "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

Question: “The harassment charge against me was false, but I was fired anyway. When applying for a new job, how will I explain how my years of loyal service ended?” – Michael D., Purchasing Assistant

Question: "Our HR department is thinking of levying a policy that would discipline an employee for ‘raising his or her voice in anger’ when involved in a verbal exchange inside the office. Some here say it’s high time that hotheads learn to debate respectfully so as not to poison the atmosphere, but this seems to reach too far to control worker behavior. I’d love to know what others think before I vote on the policy!” — Cassandra, Accounts Payable Specialist

Question: "I know I’m supposed to send a thank-you email after I go in for a job interview, but I’m not sure of exactly when to send it. An hour afterward? A day? And what exactly does this note need to contain for me to stick in the mind of the person who might hire me?” – Blake, Hospice Coordinator

Question: “Is it a HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) privacy violation for your employer to ask for your diagnosis on your excused absence letter from your physician?” – J., Texas

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: “Ugh! It looks like if I’m ever going to get more pay, I need to be the one to bring up the issue. I think what I need when I sit down with my manager to start the dialogue is one effective, attention-getting line that will start things on the right foot. What should it be?”  – Faye, Legal Assistant
Question: "I know that I make my fair share of grammar mistakes, but it just makes me crazy when people get 'their' and 'they're' confused in a document (although it's not nearly as bad as seeing 'for all intensive purposes'). Do other people get irrationally irritated by certain little grammar goofs as much as I do?" - Marilu, Tax Processor
Question: "I've been at the same job for more than 25 years, and now my memory seems to be failing more and more. Lately it's gotten very noticeable by others. I'm still several years from retirement, and I'd like to know what others have tried to either improve their memory or create ways to make the natural loss of it less of a problem." - Gloria, Records Supervisor

Question: "I'm starting to read that in addition to having a good résumé when you're looking for a job, it's becoming important to have a solid 'social media presence.' I'm sure that by now hiring managers are taking a look at whatever they can find out about us online—but how do I build this 'presence' when I haven't really had one before and need to start looking for a job in January?" - Eva, Transcription Editor

Question: "My company is gearing up to get into social media. They seem pretty open to creativity, so I'd like to know if anyone's noticed any companies out there that really seem to know how to get people's attention on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. I'd like to start following and befriending them to learn the tricks of the trade." - Everett, Admin Team Lead

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've been at my new admin job for three months now. It's going fine, except the place where I work has to be the stuffiest, least fun company ever. It's totally quiet all day with almost no interaction, and there's no real culture, no fun events to look forward to. If it weren't for brief friendly words in the kitchen with co-workers now and then, I think I'd go nuts! I don't expect to be able to change the office's ways—I'd just like to know how others have managed to stay upbeat and energetic in a sleepy atmosphere like this." - Madison, Contracts Researcher
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 work in a small office of 10 employees (an insurance company).  I work 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; all the other employees work full time. At times I need to pass work to others to handle in the afternoon hours. When I take the issues to the supervisor, she directs me to distribute the work to other employees, which they don't appreciate. I get that. But my absence in the afternoon means that others are fielding my return customer calls. Regarding accountability and productivity, I feel that my boss and the owner want to see completion of a full-time work load in 62.5% time. Any advice on the best way to handle this? —B.B.
Question: “I’m an hourly employee, but with email, smartphones and remote network access being facts of life, my workplace seems to assume I’m occasionally checking in when I’m away ‘in case something comes up.’ I want to curb these unpaid, ever-accumulating minutes – or are they just the new reality of being employed?” – Darcy W., Tax Processor

Question: "Sometimes I like to work on projects at home, away from the pressure of the cubicle, but I don’t want to spend money on Microsoft Office or other expensive software if I don't have to. I’ve heard that open source software is getting more and more capable of handling all the usual tasks a typical admin faces on the job. What are the best free or very inexpensive offerings out there today?” — Kathleen, University Teaching Assistant

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