Admin Pro Forum — Page 53
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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: “My worst fear whenever we hire a new person is that he or she will work here for a few days but decide not to stay—sometimes people just don’t get a great first impression of a job, its workload, or particular people. What can we do to make the first week of work rewarding and even fun for a newbie?” —Teri, Loans Administrator
Question: "The company I've started working for can't afford to give me a dual monitor setup to work with, and after using two for so long I suddenly feel stymied. Does anyone know some ways to keep as many applications as possible easily visible and flowing smoothly given only a single screen?” - Patti, Word Processing Specialist

Question: “How do you become a virtual assistant? I am very interested.” – Leslie, Marketing Coordinator

Question: "On our admin team we have 'Karen'—a good worker except when it comes to helping out others if they haven't met her precise expectations. Her view is that if people don't follow procedures to the letter, then their problems should be ignored in order to teach them a lesson, even if this means a deadline is missed, a report goes out incorrectly, or a very minor mistake that could easily be fixed is left to become a bigger one through her inaction. I know she has a point about showing people the need for order, but aren't we here to help those we work with above all things?" — Christine, Operations Clerk

Question: "My department has been sharing space with another one. Their admin support is in a remote location out of state. Employees from this other department constantly interrupt me to ask where other employees are, where office supplies are, for help with a printer or scanner that isn’t working, taking delivery of their packages and lunches, etc. My boss has instructed me not to help them, as they technically have their own admin support. I have made them aware of my boss’s wishes, but they continue to ask me for help rather than relying on each other or the remote admins. I’m struggling with a response I can give when I get these requests that would be polite and friendly, but might help shut the door on future requests." — Kathy, Administrative Assistant

Question: "I don't mind doing a lot of the repetitive and humdrum things that need to be done as an admin, but once in a while things come along—like cleaning the windows of my boss's office or running out to buy ice cream for a meeting that went on longer than it should have—that make me feel like they're really just personal favors I'm obligated to do. Does anyone else get frustrated with the truly petty tasks?" - Barb, Customer Service and Fulfillment

Question: "Two of my co-workers frequently have personal conversations about five feet away from my desk area. The sound is very annoying and distracting to me. How should I approach this concern with them?" - Pat, Accounts Receivable

Question: "I've noticed recently that one of the managers here seems to be trying to use me as a window into my boss's habits and decisions. He's always politely prying for a little more information about what she's thinking than I'm comfortable giving, but at the same time, he's even higher up the ladder than my boss is, so I don't want to offend him. What should I do about this?" - Caitlyn, Events Assistant

Question: "Any tips on how to organize my day to be most effective? Also, how do you keep abreast of new changes in the admin world—concerning tasks like how to fold letters for envelopes or how to place your initials on correspondence; the kinds of general administrative duties we all have?" - Angela, Administrative Assistant to an Associate Dean for Academics and Student Service Specialist

Question: "I’m looking for a project tracking program for my department. We handle high volumes of licensure and construction projects for many different facilities, and they are very detailed with lots of moving parts. What software do you use for tracking your projects?" - Laura, Assistant VP

Question: "I actually stress out a little when my vacation rolls around, because I feel I should work far ahead as a courtesy to the team so they don't have to do anything for me that I could conceivably do in advance. Without them ever asking me to make that effort, sometimes I wind up working frantically because I don't want to burden anyone during those two weeks. Am I doing the courteous thing, or am I unnecessarily taking on too much?" - Shayley, Tax Preparation Assistant
Question: "Our office has a pretty decent budget, and I'd like to convince our manager to get us a really nice high-volume, state-of-the-art photocopier. Ours is eleven years old and really basic, and I'm hoping these things can work wonders by now. Are there any snazzy but useful features I should be keeping in mind when I shop around, ones that can really help an admin?" - Clarissa, Guest Accounts Rep
Question: "What do you do to prevent/avoid aggravating carpal tunnel? It seems to me that stress aggravates it more than the actual repetitive stress action. When I’m relaxed/happy it doesn’t seem to flare up or bother me at all. But it’s returned lately in my mouse hand, which is often so weak I can’t open a jar. Have you invested in any special equipment that actually works? (A wrist brace made it worse for me and bothered me as I tried to type/move the mouse.) Hot or cold gel packs? Something else?  I appreciate any suggestions that have provided relief." —Ergonomically incorrect

Question: “My boss is incredibly difficult to work with, especially after I filed a gender discrimination complaint a few years ago.  He invades my personal space, tosses papers all over my desk, postures aggressively, deliberately tries to upset me, and has hurt the atmosphere of cooperation I once shared with my colleagues. I’m close enough to retirement so that I can’t realistically quit, but how do I foster a working relationship with someone who causes such stress?”   – Sonia, Casper, Wy.

Question: “I always leave my interactions with the IT department feeling a little foolish about tech, and with the sense I’ve interrupted them with my needs. Since I always have to ask IT’s help for everything from reviving a dead keyboard to getting the network to behave, are there ways I can present my daily problems to them so that both our jobs are made easier?” – Ronald, Mail Coordinator

Question: “Someone in my office is considering having a little minor cosmetic surgery done—solely because, she says, she thinks there’s a little age discrimination always going on among co-workers, not just in hiring. She made such good points that I’m at least thinking of dressing ‘younger’ and getting my hair dyed. Am I going too far to fight ageism? (And would I actually be part of the problem at that point?)” – Penny, Facilities Planner

Question: "I’ll sometimes have weeks when I feel like I’ve totally lost my spirit and enthusiasm, only to bounce back the following week when things at work go well. It seems like every time I think I just don’t have what it takes to keep going with this job, it was just a phase—but I sure do keep experiencing those phases! What are the signals that I need to move on because the point of real, no-going-back burnout has finally come?” — Tula, Administrative Assistant of Budget

Question: “I work in a very small office where I am receptionist, administrative assistant, office & kitchen manager and supplies procurement manager. I order lunches, make dinner reservations, coordinate office functions and parties, pick up, handle and distribute mail. I help the accounting department and administer to all who need help. I am fine doing all these tasksbut I hate going into the kitchen to find it a mess! People spill coffee and milk all over the counters, leave bread and cookie crumbs on the counter and on the floor …  what do I do?” — Carol

Question: "When I was asked to put together the company newsletter, I was sad to find out it was just a sheet of paper showing upcoming holidays, a list of sales goals, and reminders from HR about this and that. In my previous job, we would write offbeat articles, interview people about their hobbies, even have a haiku contest! Everyone looked forward to it. Shouldn't the point of a company newsletter be to tell employees something they don't already know, and create a sense of camaraderie?" - Dale, HR Documentation Assistant
Question: "How have larger companies solved all-hands meetings? We have about 3,000 associates at our primary location, and about 2,000 divided among three ‘remote’ locations. How have you leveraged technology to reduce the number of all-hands meetings but still keep them engaging for all of the sites?" - Angela, Senior Executive Assistant
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