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Alice Bumgarner, Moderator

Demoted

by Alice Bumgarner, Moderator on May 18, 2007 2:30am

in Admin Pro Forum

Question: Last year, my boss reassigned my direct report to a new supervisor
because it “wasn’t fair” that the supervisor didn’t have a
direct-report secretary while one of her peers did. The consequence of
my boss’s action stripped me of my supervisor status, thus preventing
me from attending any supervisor meetings and/or training sessions. Was
this a just act? I’ve had no performance issues and over 20 years of
excellent reviews. Any advice? — Anonymous

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Question: With the ever-rising cost of materials, especially gasoline, the need for
additional income has surfaced as a means of making ends go a bit
farther. As a single mother, I would like to do some work-at-home clerical
jobs to help with the budget. Has anyone had any experience with this
type of employment or do you know of any legitimate organizations that
offer at-home based work?  — Anonymous

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Question: I
recently worked on a “team project” that included giving a presentation
to an entire department (think “The Apprentice Lite”). We didn’t have a
project manager, but three out of the four team members worked night
and day for three weeks on this project.

The three of us did literally 99.9 percent of the work. The fourth
team member (we call her “The Albatross”) came up with the “concept”
but when asked to complete her portion of the presentation, she would
regurgitate what we had already done in a completely unusable format.

When we gave the presentation, she chimed in during our portions, making it look as though we had overlooked something and that she had “saved the day.”

Unfortunately, the Donald wasn’t there to ask us who should have
been fired. What is your advice on handling future projects such as
this, with a deadbeat project member who happily lets you do all her
work and takes all the credit? — Migraine Millie

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Question: I am looking for Web sites where I can compare telephone systems. We are
building a new facility and will be installing a new phone system. I
would like to compare the systems that I have bids on. They are ESI,
Nortel, ProCom and INTER-TEL. Does anyone have feedback on any of these
systems? — Melinda

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Question: I need to update all our procedures
and policies in a consistent format that the entire department can
access with read-only capabilities.

I need a program that people
can search by one word or the complete title. What works the best,
Excel or Access? Are there other programs that work better? We are a
large company and a large department.  — JG

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Question: Are “step-siblings”
considered “siblings” when independence or personal conflict is being
considered in a workplace environment? — Anonymous

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Question: I frequently send out meeting notices by e-mail to a large group of
volunteers, well in advance of the meeting date. While some of the
volunteers RSVP, many do not. I also send out a small reminder closer
to the meeting date.

Sometimes this helps, but quite a few volunteers never respond. This
is a problem because their attendance is very important, and I order
food according to how many people are coming.

How should I handle this in a courteous and professional way? You
can’t force people to respond to your e-mails. My last resort is to
call each person individually, but I feel like I’m being “pushy” when I
do that. Plus, that takes a lot of time. Any suggestions? — Anonymous

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Question: I
have an office mate who is very nosy. We have different positions. I
have a lot of traffic flow with vendors and other employees who ask me
for help or information. Invariably, she pokes her nose in and adds her
own comments or suggestions.


How
do I get her to stop interfering? We have shared this office for about
a year. Before we moved in together, we both told our manager that we
shouldn’t share an office. She is a very loud person and if I am
talking to someone, and she is talking to someone, I can’t hear the
person I am talking to. This is becoming intolerable.


We
are going through some downsizing, so I don’t want to mention it to my
manager right now. We work 10-hour days, and they are pretty long when
you have to continually bite your tongue. I’m afraid I will lash out at
her soon. 
Anonymous

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Question: I want
to learn more about contract management processes, from the perspective
of maintaining files and records. Can someone direct me to a Web site,
a book or an online course that would help?  — Marie

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Question: I’m an unemployed HR Manager and I recently interviewed for an Office
Manager position at a 45-person law firm. Believe it or not, the
Managing Partner asked me if I was married and had children. I really
think he didn’t know better because they don’t have any HR people
working at the firm.

Knowing
I shouldn’t respond to the question, but yet needing the job and not
wanting to blow my chances of being hired, I answered the questions.
How should I have handled it?

I’m
thinking that if I get the job, then I should point out the illegality
of what he asked and inform him what he legally can and cannot ask. It
also crossed my mind that he knew exactly what he was doing and wanted
to see if I would answer the question.  — Susan

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Question: We have
a manager who recently decided to look for a less-stressful career
path. She is young, early 30’s, and suffers from depression (she lives
alone, no children, very overweight and no friends/boyfriend or outside
work activities). She treated her depression up until about a year ago.

I am not alone in thinking that she is making a mistake by leaving
the position and taking a large pay cut when the job is not that
stressful. She may not realize how depressed she is and that more than
just work is making her unhappy.

I know that I can’t change her decision. But I care about her
personally and want to make sure she is OK and getting help for her
depression. Am I stepping over boundaries? — Anonymous

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Question: Last
week, I responded to a question about training by suggesting a free Web
site that allows you to train yourself in various Microsoft Packages
(Word, PP, Excel, etc.). However, I supplied the wrong Web site
address. The address should be www.gcflearnfree.org. —
Valerie

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Question: Last
spring, the company hired an AA. She conducts her personal business
loudly so it echoes down the hall, slams doors and comes to my desk in
the front office to share her personal problems (with a new drama each
week). She also complains that the fumes from the copier and shredder
make her “nauseous.” Everyone knows all her personal business (and
problems) even when they would rather not (like me).

When her manager is out of the office, she spends her time on the
phone conducting personal business with the door open so everyone can
hear. I have gone to her office and closed the door on a couple of
occasions and just today she snapped at me saying if she wanted the
door closed she would do it herself.

Another AA and I have tried talking with her manager, but this person won’t listen to us.

Any suggestions about how to get her to keep her personal business
(and drama and problems) in her office behind closed doors?  — Anonymous

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Question: When responding to an e-mail, should the response be placed above or below the original message? — Anonymous

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Question: Our company president and two VPs (her sons) have a business trip planned
to a posh resort in the Riviera Maya, Mexico. They have asked me to
reserve private/limo transportation to and from Cancun Airport and the
resort. The trip from the airport to the resort is about 45 miles.
Their flight arrives late, so they need reliable, comfortable transport
and preferably a bi-lingual driver.

I have e-mailed the hotel
concierge twice requesting transportation information, with no success.
How can I locate a reliable transport provider? I’ve searched the
airport’s Web site and they offer private transportation, but no
business name or contact information is provided, just a PayPal link.

Does anyone have contacts in the travel industry that might be able to assist me with this request?  — Travel Planner

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Question: I’m helping to plan an event in
April for Administrative Professionals and we’d like to create a
“goodie bag” with different treats.

We’d like to include a tag
with each item referencing each treat, such as a pack of Extra gum with
a tag saying “Thanks for going the EXTRA mile” or a miniature Crunch
bar and a note saying “You always help out in a CRUNCH.”

Has anyone done this before? Do you have any ideas you’d like to share?  — Ann

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Question: I have a boss who is very “hands on.” As a result, I lack the skills necessary
for advancement. Can someone tell me a quick and easy way to become a
PowerPoint expert? Is there a Web site that I can use for tutoring?  — Anonymous

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Question: I work part time in a clinic
setting. A co-worker (I will call her Katie) has really made a name for
herself as a constant gossip.

Katie also is in charge of
scheduling for the non-technical staff. She shares private information
with everyone in the office about why you called in sick, who you are
dating or what you did on the weekend. It upsets me that she shares
everyone’s medical problems, not to mention the errors they’ve made on
the job. Does this violate some ethical standing?

I’m not sure
how to approach the topic with Katie and/or the office manager. I have
a good standing with the office manager but since I only work part
time, I don’t feel that I have much say in day-to-day operations.

A
few co-workers have attempted to talk to the office manager about Katie
but nothing has been done about it. Any suggestions?  — Lori

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"FISH!"

by Alice Bumgarner, Moderator on March 16, 2007 4:00am

in Admin Pro Forum

Question: Has anyone implemented “FiSH! Philosophy” in your workplace? Other than parties
and luncheons, in what ways has it been integrated into the work or workplace?
What has been the employee response?  — Lisa

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Question: I work in a five-person branch office, and the
lease on our office space expires at the end of December. As a result, a person
from the home office will be coming to my office to determine whether our lease
should be renewed (in other words, whether we’re worth the money) or whether our
responsibilities should be absorbed into the home office. If any of you have
been through a similar situation, I’d love to hear your suggestions regarding
what I should say when the decision maker speaks to me.  — Lisa

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