Question: “Once or twice a year, I wake up and just really, really don’t feel like going to work. But it feels like the system is set up to make us lie about our absences if they’re not illness-related or scheduled well in advance. Does anyone work in a place where you feel free to tell your boss, ‘Not today, sorry, it’s been rough recently and I need a mental health break?’ How often do other admins escape for a day, and do they feel the need to be less than honest about it?” – Jane, Departmental Aide
Question: “Where I work, there are six admins, but in the ten months I’ve been here, we’ve never met as a group once. Everything gets done and nothing falls through the cracks, but I think it would really help us all get on the same page if we have regular meetings just like any other department. Before I talk to my boss about this, what’s an efficient (and enjoyable) structure and frequency for an admin team this size? Any tips to make our meetings productive?” – Barbara, Wholesale Operations Team
Question: “What do you worry about most during the workday? Is it a specific task, dealing with a specific person, or maybe fear for losing your job? What’s the one pressing concern you can’t ever quite shake?” – the editors of Administrative Professional Today
Question: “How do you tell your corporate office, kindly, that the holiday wreath they send each year doesn’t survive the shipment? We are located in Florida and every year the corporate office in Louisville sends us what was once a beautiful wreath with fresh fruit, nuts and berries. I am sure in the colder weather they hold up great … but here in Florida the fruit is already molded by the time I open the box!” – Jeannie, EA
Question: “As soon as I got my new admin job, I was deluged by office supply vendors with deals and offers to switch, and I’ve also been asked to explore ways to save money in catering, shipping, courier services, etc. But I have no experience in dealing with vendors and I don’t want to wind up making some deal I later regret. Does anyone have any advice on how to make (or refuse) new deals, and what I should be suspicious of?” – Margaret, School Board EA
Question: “Recently I found out that my boss is clearly engaged in some things at work that aren’t illegal but are unethical. I’m not supposed to know about them; I came across the information completely by accident. I’m not sure what to do. I think he’s a decent person who’s just gotten desperate about keeping his job, but I don’t know him very well. Any advice?” – Shaina, Executive Assistant
Christi Labs is the assistant to the president and CEO of Omaha Public Power District in Omaha, Nebraska, which is one of the largest publicly owned electric utilities in the U.S.
What guidelines are there for sending email invitations for a formal event?
Question: “I am responsible for keeping the keys and the scheduling calendar book for our two company vans. I constantly have employees walking into my office, e-mailing me or calling me to see if a van is available. They are used by employees for going on sales calls, running company errands or attending meetings, conferences, etc. I would like to automate this process so everyone can view a calendar on their computer to check availability and reserve a van on their own. Could we use Outlook or SharePoint? What method would you use?” – Lisa, Administrative Assistant
Question: “Is there a particular boss from your past whose antics absolutely drove you up a wall? One whose behavior was off-the-charts annoying, and whose methods made you wonder how a person like that could ever become a boss in the first place? We’d love to hear your story!” – the editors of Administrative Professional Today
Question: “I have worked as an administrative assistant for seven years with the same boss. I have constantly asked for more responsibilities, as I feel I could do more—I’ll be graduating with my master’s degree in December. My boss seems to just brush my request off. At what point should I start seeking opportunities elsewhere?” – Natarsha, Administrative Assistant
It’s hard enough to pass off a task without being physically disconnected from someone. But in the modern age, you don’t always get to delegate face to face.
April is National Stress Awareness Month, making it a good time to take stock of how you feel at work and figure out if you’re dealing with stress properly so you don’t burn out or wear yourself down.
When you’re communicating with your colleagues, managers or clients, it’s important to keep these four modes—conceptual, analytical, social and structural—in mind and tailor your message to reach each one of them.
Question: “I answer a high volume of phone calls while handling multiple other duties. Because my time greeting guests is so brief and repeatedly interrupted by calls, I sometimes have trouble remembering their names. I appreciate any advice or tricks to help me with this dilemma!” – OMM, Administrative 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 think I’ve got a good handle on what to include in my résumé; my concern right now is being behind the times and possibly making a subtle layout, content, or phrasing mistake that may immediately red-flag me. What are the current trends in what hiring managers do not want to see?” – Anita, Oakland, Ca.
Question: “I work for a small business and I keep thinking it might be time to start saving all our files to the cloud instead of our hard drives, paper, our small network, etc. Is everyone really starting to get on board with cloud computing, or am I being too hasty?” – Ilsa, Legal Assistant
Question: “Like many companies, mine differentiates between sick time and personal time. Sometimes, I wake up in the morning and just feel like spending the day at home or running errands, but because we’re supposed to schedule personal time in advance, I’m stuck with having to invent an illness or some emergency. How can I just take a spur-of-the-moment ‘well’ day without having to lie and feel ridiculous?” – Marla, Bel Air, Md.
Question: “I really learn best by watching a video of a task being performed rather than reading dry instructions, particularly when it comes to software applications. Does anyone have any suggestions on where to find helpful videos for admin procedures?” – Jason J., Data Researcher