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Posted: Tuesday 12 August 2014 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

As an administrative professional, you will often be the first contact for people who wish to work with your employer or with whom your employer wishes to do business. As a result, you will get a wide amount of exposure and likely have a number of contacts – or at least contact information – that many people would kill for. Now, ethically – and legally in many cases – you are bound contractually not to reveal that information to other people, and if you leave the company you may not be able to take that information with you. However, this does not prevent you from doing some highly valuable networking for you and your boss while you are doing the company’s work as wel

When it comes to initial contact, first impressions are everything. This is obviously not news. However, what you may not have considered is that you can make just as good an impression of yourself on someone while you are promoting your company as you can for the company. A professional demeanor should, ideally, cement a company in a new or potential client’s brain as an asset. However, if you are friendly, knowledgeable and interested (within the bounds of reason, of course) when you are working with clients, then they will appreciate this individual touch and remember you and your company fondly. As a result, you will be able to develop contacts who think as much of you and your administrative or networking abilities as they do of your employer.

Ideally, you will never have to leave an employer until you decide to do so. However, there will be instances in which you may lose your job due to economics or other factors. When this occurs, your networking and positive people skills will not only guarantee that you will be missed when you are gone, but that a number of other entities are just waiting to snatch you up off the job market before you have even had time to get your resume out there. Never forget that every connection you make is personal as well as professional, and you will find that your reputation is solid in every aspect.

Posted: Sunday 6 July 2014 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

Your relationship with your boss will be critical to your happiness and success in your tenure in a position. While there are times when you will immediately “hit it off” with a new employer, there will be many other times where you simply coexist at first. While this may be just fine with you and your boss, ultimately you will both get more out of your working relationship if it is a strong, trusting one rather than simply a relationship based on proximity to each other.

 

To this end, here are three ways to strengthen your relationship with your boss:

  • Report on yourself
    Make sure that your employer knows what you are up to all day. Even if they do not ask, provide timely updates on projects and deadlines so that they know where things stand. This not only keeps your boss informed, but it also shows initiative and demonstrates that you are taking the role that you have been assigned seriously.
     
  • Keep things in confidence
    Even if you have not been directly instructed to keep things quiet, do not talk about work at work. Your boss will appreciate your discretion and come to perceive you as a person who can be trusted with information rather than someone who talks a lot about work-related minutia that may not be able to keep their mouth shut when it matters.
     
  • Remember details
    Keep up with the little things. For example, if you are an assistant, then make sure you remember personal details like anniversaries and birthdays when that information is available to you. Format correspondence with your boss in the ways that he or she most prefers for easy, pleasant reading and make sure that you remain conscious of how he or she likes to receive information.

 

By carefully cultivating your end of the relationship between you and your boss, you will find that you are able to establish a stronger bond between the two of you that will help you remain happy and productive in your position.

Posted: Sunday 2 March 2014 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]
Category: Miscellaneous

When it comes to organization, it is hard to beat a good color coding system. It is one of the best ways to quickly access information and to set up a system that others can use even when you are not in the office to find items that you need. Color coding is a great tool, but you must use it effectively or you may find that you are spending more time deciphering your color code than you are finding your target information.

Here are three different ways to color code your files:

  • Code by number
    When coding by number, you assign a color for each number 0 through 9. This is a great system if your files are organized by number or if you use a lot of different dates to sort your files. However, if you have a complicated numeric system for your files, you may need to assign additional colors in the spectrum beyond the initial nine to help identify misfiles.
     
  • Code by letter
    If you categorize your files by letters – either names or other alphabetical designations – then color coding by letter can be useful. In this instance, you will need a spectrum of 26 colors in order to color code by letter. Some offices actually make the letters themselves large and colorful, while others opt to use the file folders to create the color spectrum. Color coding by letter can be combined with color coding by number to create a more elaborate system, but in this case the main benefit of this decision is that it creates a system in which misfiles are easily apparent. It can still be quite difficult to navigate.
     
  • Code by topic
    If you have a manageable number of topics of types of files, then you may choose to color code by topic. You simply need to assign a color to each type of file, then alphabetize within each color.

You will need to take a close look at your file contents to determine what is needed for your personal color coding system. Color coded filing prevents misfiling since an out-of-order file is immediately apparent, and you will love the ease with which you can file things and find things at your fingertips.

Posted: Tuesday 7 January 2014 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

As an assistant – your job is to make things run smoothly. However, if you are good at your job then your boss may end up not “seeing” your hand in things at all, which can be frustrating for you and lead not only to a lack of appreciation, but a lack of salary-related compensation.

When I first started, I took great pride in my ability to make things run so smoothly that my boss actually thought he was in charge. I chuckled to myself that he had no idea it was me, behind the scenes, who had taken his schedule in hand and arranged it in such an organized and efficient fashion. I chuckled right up to the day of my first review, when he gave me all “adequate” scores for my, quite frankly, incredible ability to keep that man on time and in the places he was supposed to be.

I was livid. I almost quit on the spot. However, one of my good friends saved me from that mistake of temper. “How is he going to know what you do if you don’t tell him?” she asked me. “After all, you talk all the time about how he thinks he’s the one in charge.”

Well, that made me stop and take a few deep breaths. I had to admit she was right. I had basically done my job “too well,” and rendered myself invisible on my employer’s radar. I decided then and there that I would make some changes.

You may be thinking that I let him foul up on his own a couple times to show him how important I was. I was tempted, but I knew that would only make me look badly for not keeping the schedule and the boss on track. So instead I tracked my successes and kept notes on exactly what I accomplished each day. As the days passed, I developed quite a portfolio of achievements, so when my next review came around, I was ready to show my employer just exactly what it is that I do all day. I got my raise and almost more importantly, I got my recognition. Now even though I need to be invisible on a daily basis – if I’m doing things right – I know that my employer recognizes just how active I am behind the scenes.

Posted: Tuesday 29 October 2013 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]
Category: Miscellaneous

While generally you read about how you need to keep social networking out of the workplace, in one instance my ability to navigate Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and the like actually snagged me a job over some pretty tough competition. As more and more employers start focusing on the internet as a source of business, you will find that a careful and strategic presentation of your ability to connect with people via social media can actually enhance your resume rather than hinder your chances at getting a job. In some cases, your time online might even be all the employer is really looking for.

When you are presenting yourself and your job skills, however, be judicious. Do not simply announce that you spend hours a day on Facebook, for example. Instead, point out that you are fluent in “Web 2.0” or that you have experience in social media and marketing. You can use the number of friends that you have on Facebook or the number of followers you have on Twitter to help back up your claims that you network effectively in these media.

If you want to use this type of social networking to your advantage, then you need a professional, “work profile” as well as your personal profile. The work profile should be used for building a base of clients and potential clients as well as friends. It generally will not include the pictures of you with a lampshade on your head in a bikini at that beachside pool hall last spring break, although you should include pictures of yourself having fun and enjoying life because research shows that you will likely accumulate more friends if your profile is not “all business.” Just be careful not to post anything in this profile that you would not want a prospective employer to see, and remember that if they can find one profile, they can find another – so keep your personal profile private!

Make sure that if you are hired for your social networking abilities that your employer is very clear with you about what he or she expects from your networking. Some employers really just want you online building a rapport with potential customers. They may want a certain number of posts or a certain number of friends added each day. You need to know how your progress is being measured so that you can adjust your social media habits accordingly.

Posted: Wednesday 2 October 2013 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

Whenever you start out at a new job, getting used to the new environment can be a bit intimidating. However, there is nothing more important to your success in a new position than settling in smoothly, efficiently and effectively into your new role. One of the best ways to accomplish this in short order is to take some proactive steps to get to know your new boss.

 

For starters, you may wish to set up a “getting to know you” meeting with your new employer. Let them know that you would like to familiarize yourself quickly with their working habits and preferences and that in your experience, the best way to do this is to take a little time to simply set them out in a straightforward manner. This probably should not need to take more than about 30 minutes. During the meeting it is important to remember that the meeting is about your boss, not about you and your working preferences. Ask simple, straightforward questions about how they like things to be handled. Examples might include, “Do you want to be notified immediately of all messages or do you prefer an itemized hourly (or other interval) summary via email or written on paper?” and “How do you prefer your appointments to be handled – with the traditional 30-minute break in between each or do you like them scheduled back-to-back or with more time in between?” Getting clear on these things up front will help you make your employer’s work life smoother and more pleasant, which will, in turn, lead to your work life also being smoother and more pleasant.

 

Next, find out (gently) if your boss has any pet peeves. For example, I once worked as a receptionist in a large office building. For much of the day, I had little to do as the phones did not ring often and handling calendars and sending visitors to various workers’ personal receptionists was about the extent of my duties. I was pretty bored, and often read or did class work for a continuing education class during this time. My employer happened upon me engaged in these activities once and demanded that I cease immediately. I offered to take on more work so I would have something to do, but his exact words were, “I just need you to look busy. You can play games online as long as it looks like you are working if someone walks in. No reading!” Needless to say, that job was not a permanent stop for me, but it does clearly illustrate a surprising peeve that I had not been expecting. You need to be aware of any unusual things that may upset, annoy or embarrass your new boss so that you can avoid them.

 

Once you get settled in at your new job, you will find that taking the time to get to know your new boss early in your relationship has established your reputation as a professional, knowledgeable employee. Your future efforts will benefit from this and you will likely find that you advance more quickly due to your early groundwork.

Posted: Sunday 8 September 2013 - 1 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]
Category: Etiquette

We all know that our clothes play a very important role in how people perceive us. However, while you probably know not to wear a mini-dress to a job interview at a law firm, you may not have considered what the colors of your clothes could mean for a job interview or even in terms of how you are perceived on a daily basis. There are some surprising connotations – both positive and negative – for some popular “work colors” that can actually undermine your professionalism. Here are a few examples:

Blue and gray are great for focus

Blue and gray are actually the most popular job interview colors, according to employers. This is because they are not distracting (avoid turquoise and edge toward the darker blues) but do help you project an image of calm, stable control. Color experts also believe blue can make you seem more trustworthy, which is always desirable during a job interview and after.
 

You can wear too much black

While the “little black dress” and the “sharp black suit” do help you appear commanding, in control and representative of authority, did you know that black also connotes drama for many people? If you overdo on it, you could actually be subconsciously implying that there is a little more drama to you than meets the eye. Avoid this by accenting with this popular color (an unusual touch) rather than drenching yourself in it.
 

Red and white aren’t just for tablecloths

While both red and white should be used in moderation to avoid projecting too much aggression or simplicity, respectively, these are great accent colors because they represent things to interviewers such as energy, precision and positivity.

Ultimately, whether you are going to a job interview or going into work for the tenth year, it pays to think about what your clothes might be “saying” behind your back.

Posted: Sunday 28 July 2013 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]
Category: Miscellaneous

As an administrator yourself, you probably are fully familiar with the feeling of being underappreciated. Since part of your job is to make things in the office flow smoothly, when you do it successfully you may find that people fail to recognize just how hard you have worked to “make the magic happen.” Unfortunately, sometimes this can actually spill over onto your own assistants who may themselves feel that you have overlooked their efforts in the hubbub of making the office run smoothly.

 

Here are three ways to make sure that the administrative staff on your team feel appreciated:
 

  1. Just Say “Thank You”
    It sounds too simple, but many times a simple, “Thank you, I know how hard you are working,” can go a long way toward making someone feel like you recognize their efforts.
     
  2. Feed Them
    Remember how much better you used to feel after Grandma gave you a glass of milk and a cookie? Well, doughnuts and coffee work too! A five-dollar box of doughnuts at the end of a particularly tough week can let your staff know just how much you appreciate their efforts and keep them working hard for you.
  1. Remember the Little Things
    While it might seem silly, letting people know that you are listening when they talk lets them know that they are important and appreciated. For example, if you know that "Betty's" son has a ballgame on Thursday afternoon that she opted to skip in order to meet a deadline, be sure to thank her for that sacrifice specifically. Even if her decision is no less than anyone else is doing, letting her know you are aware of the sacrifice will help keep her from resenting you for it.

 

You know just how important it is to you that your efforts do not go unnoticed. Make sure that your team gets the same courtesy from you that you want from your supervisors and your productivity will skyrocket.

 



 

Posted: Monday 24 June 2013 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

When it comes to working with a new boss, things can get a little hairy. I will never forget the job that I took where I thought that it was my job to handle calendars, set meeting agendas and develop flyers and brochures for my department’s PR efforts. Turned out, my real job was to make my boss coffee, pick up dry cleaning, babysit kids when they were out of school and in general perform as a glorified personal assistant. It was a little frustrating for all of us starting out because we had such different ideas about what I had been hired to do. Since often administrative assistants are not hired directly by their supervisors but instead through human resources, it is important when you start working with a new boss that you take some steps immediately to clarify exactly what your job responsibilities will be.

Here are three steps to working with a new boss successfully from the word “go”

  • Get an itemized list of responsibilities

    Ask your new employer for a short list of what he or she expects you to do. Explain that while you understand the official job requirements, you are eager to make sure that you are meeting their needs and want to guarantee that you are not overlooking anything. They will likely be happy to provide this, and it will also give you some insight into how close the job description on the “wanted” page matches what you have actually been hired to do.
     
  • Take a “tour” of your personal space

    Get clear on where things are. You do not want to have to ask each time you need a stapler, ink cartridge, access to a calendar or to view a file. Get all of this out of the way at once by going through every inch of you personal office space to get familiar with the layout and location. If your boss wants to do this with you, that’s fine, but usually you can do this on your own.
     
  • Establish priorities

    Establish a clear concept of what is most important to your boss. Is it the primary project that everyone is working on or is it getting the latest technology into the office immediately? This will help you determine how to best allocate your time and efforts to make things happen for your employer.

Working successfully with a new boss in a quick, effective manner can set the tone for your entire future working relationship. Taking the time and making the extra effort early to get this relationship off to a smooth, productive start will make your tenure in any  position a more positive, rewarding experience.

Posted: Friday 3 May 2013 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]
Category: Miscellaneous

I have been slacking, so here is something written awhile back.  I hope I didn't post it already!

As an administrator, you may sometimes feel that you need some extra support. One of the best ways to support yourself and your staff is to create an admin support group within your office. You may meet on a regular basis or only once in a while when things get hectic, but having a support group of other administrative staff will help you all identify issues and solutions in the workplace.

Once you have determined that you have a need for an admin support group, make sure that your employer is okay with you taking time out of your day for this. Generally, these types of groups meet during a lunch hour on business property. However, some employers think that these groups are so useful that they allow them to meet on company time.

Establish clear goals for your group. It can be easy to allow a support group to deteriorate into a “complaint fest” if the group does not have a common goal. While you may wish to discuss problems, the goal should always be to find a solution for those problems, not to just air “dirty laundry” for everyone else to hear. Your group should have a clearly stated goal and mission statement so that people who participate know what they are getting into.

Finally, your admin support group can benefit from training opportunities in the workplace. This is an ideal way to support your staff and make them better prepared to help you as well. Find out if you can get some training in basic software or in new technology that could help in the daily life of an administrative professional. Then, through the support group, consider offering training to help members participate more fully in their jobs as administrative professionals.

Posted: Wednesday 20 March 2013 - 1 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]
Category: Employment

 

Your cover letter is, in some ways, even more important than your resume. If you do not write an effective cover letter, you may soon find that no one is even taking the time to look at your resume. In today’s competitive job market, there are so many people applying for jobs that often employers are only reviewing the applications that really stand out. And, in many cases, this means only the applications with really stellar cover letters…

Here are three ways to make sure that your cover letter makes an impression:

  1. Don’t be afraid to brag
    Your cover letter is supposed to show how great you are, so make sure that it does. Now is not the time to be humble. You need to make sure that everyone understands just how good your accomplishments are.
     
  2. Relate yourself to the job
    Review the job listing and make sure that you tell the reader exactly why your accomplishments mean that you fit their requirements to a “T.” Just bragging is not enough; for each item that you list on your roster of accomplishment, make it clear why that item should matter to your future employers.
     
  3. Be professional!
    Take the time to format your letter, check spelling and punctuation and make sure that your syntax is correct and appropriate. While it may be okay to use industry jargon, avoid slang, contractions and conversational language.

Of course, your cover letter should not spend a lot of time doing anything other than telling the reader why they cannot afford to let you slip away. Save your life history for another day. Cover letters have to be short in order to get attention, so limit yourself to one or maybe two pages at maximum. You will find that with a good cover letter, your foot is already in the door!
 

Posted: Friday 8 February 2013 - 2 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

Part 2 or in addition to tips I wrote about awhile back...

How to Take Control of a Meeting

One of the most important skills that you can develop as an administrator is the ability to control a meeting. We have all been at meetings that ran amok. They are dreadful in every sense of the word and often contribute to poor office moral. If you can control a meeting – or take control of a meeting that has gone “off the rails” then you will dramatically increase your value to any office or employer. Here are some tips for taking control of any meeting:

  1. Don’t be afraid to interrupt
    If you notice that the meeting is going off course, grab the mike and steer it back .This is easier to do if you set parameters for the meeting ahead of time so that people are clear about what is to be discussed and what topics are off the board for the meeting.
     
  2. Use commanding body language and tone
    Position yourself at a place where everyone can see you and make sure to sit/stand straight and maintain eye contact and focus on the speaker. Do not raise your voice at the end of a statement, which makes you sound unsure of yourself. Instead, speaking firmly and clearly at all times.
     
  3. Mediate when appropriate
    If two parties or factions in the meeting become involved in a debate that does not contribute to the meeting, call a halt. Inform them that the topic is closed and that they must resolve it outside the meeting rather than in the middle of it.

 

Frequently, simply having the ability to stand up for yourself and your meeting agenda is enough to keep everyone in line. Following these simple tips will keep your meetings running smoothly with you at the helm.

Posted: Monday 21 January 2013 - 4 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]
Category: Employment

When you go to a job interview, you know it is important to look your best. However, many people forget that they also need to sound their best. This does not mean take voice lessons; it means you need to be able to show that you are better prepared than anyone else to assume the responsibilities of the position for which you are interviewing. To this end, you should do some background research before the actual interview.

The most important thing to do when doing your background research is to take note of company policies and accomplishments. This way, you can relate your job skills and accomplishments directly to company goals. For example, if you have a lot of experience with social media, you can point out that you have noticed that the company is expanding in this area and give one or two concrete but brief examples of things that you have done in the past that would work within this company as well.

Next, be sure that you think of one or two relevant questions. There will be a time in the interview where the interviewers ask you if you have any questions. This may be the time to discuss salary – it depends on the company – but it is also a great time to show that you have thoughts and interests in common with the company. Ask about a project or about your involvement in an area of work should you accept the position. Turning your interview into a chance to interview your employer not only gives you a better idea about whether or not you want to work at that company, but it also turns the tables on the interviewers, which can work to your advantage if they feel that they have to impress you.

Finally, make sure that you are aware of anything that could potentially go wrong during your interview. For example, you should make sure that you are physically prepared to tour the facility (at least bring appropriate clothing even if you are not wearing it) and that you have plenty of time should the process run long. Bring a copy of your resume and cover letter along with any other relevant information that you feel shows how qualified you are for the job.
 

Posted: Tuesday 18 December 2012 - 1 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]
Category: Career

I used to work for a really – and I mean REALLY – demanding boss. She always wanted everything that she had just assigned me done yesterday, and she constantly showered me with new projects that I was not ready for or that I did not have enough training to complete. However, in her defense (sort of) she was always willing to put up whatever money or time was necessary to get me the skills I needed in order to get her stuff done – as long as I learned on my own time, and did it fast.

As you can imagine, this situation quickly became untenable. I was stressed out, and even when I wasn’t officially working, I was unofficially training – off the clock, of course. My husband and kids never saw me, and when they did I was usually in a foul mood because I was tired, irritated and under a lot of pressure. I felt like I was always running behind.

Finally, I snapped. I couldn’t take it anymore. I still feel like I was totally justified in the earful that I gave that woman when she berated me for not completing a project properly – and early – because I had not yet completed the course that I was taking that would teach me how to manage the software. And I hadn’t completed it because of something else that she had assigned to me last-minute! Needless to say, I let her know just how much of a nightmare boss she really was, and then I hung up on her and that job…

…which left me in the unenviable position of being unemployed. However, I spruced up my resume and set out on a job hunt. I was in for a big surprise. All that training had paid off! I had more qualifications than I could have dreamed of, and there was not a single interview in which I was forced to say “I’m sorry, but I’m not familiar with that system.”

This is not to say that you should take loads of abuse and work yourself to the bone for no pay in order to build your resume, but I do think it bears pointing out that sometimes, a little unpaid overtime can pay off big time. I have a decent boss now who doesn’t usually hit me with surprises that I can’t handle, but if he does, I always check to see if the training is available and workable for me before I tell him that I can’t do something. Because in the end, the more you know, the more you are worth.

 

Posted: Friday 5 October 2012 - 7 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]
Category: Miscellaneous

If you don't have something nice to say, don't say nothing at all.

Posted: Friday 21 September 2012 - 6 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

Because email is such a conversational medium, many people have a tendency to overlook some basic rules for professional communication when they email. While this may be just fine with an employer or client who has known you for years, it can create problems when you are corresponding with someone new. In fact, you can even end up alienating a potential project-manager or future boss if your emails are too familiar or casual.

If you have known an individual for some time or their own email style is extremely casual, then you are probably safe to mimic their emailing habits. However, when emailing strangers on a professional basis, follow these rules to keep your emails looking sharp:

Use effective subject lines

When you are emailing for work purposes, your email subject line should clearly convey exactly what the email is about. Give your email a subject that lets your intended reader know what project you are dealing with, and avoid cute phrases or commentary. Let your work speak for itself.
 

Stay on subject

If you are like a lot of people, you write your emails much in the same way that you converse. This often can mean that you may tend to wander off subject or include more information than is absolutely necessary for the correspondence. When writing professional emails, only include information and opinions that are relevant to the topic.
 

Punctuate – correctly!

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: you must punctuate your emails correctly! It is so important to use professional punctuation, which means that not only should you avoid misuse of punctuation, but also overuse of it. Keep sentences simple and to the point. You will convey information more accurately and your emails will be easier to read and understand.

Professional-sounding emails can play a major role in your success in any business. Make sure that your emails are impeccably constructed to insure that everyone reads your every word.

Posted: Monday 13 August 2012 - 2 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

Most of us don’t think much about a short drive to work. If we drive 15 to 20 miles, it may not seem like that much of a commute. And if it’s less than that, then we probably hardly counted it at all when we moved into our home or evaluated that aspect of our current job. However, a short distance during “off hours” for traffic can turn into a nightmare during high-volume traffic times of day. All that sitting and waiting, stopping and starting, and idling could be costing you a lot more than you think.

Commuting has a lot of costs outside of the monetary ones that we often don’t factor in. Assume, for the moment, that you know what terrible gas mileage you’re getting because of all the traffic  and you understand the wear and tear on your car that the odometer won’t reflect because it doesn’t tally minutes sitting and idling – and all too often, overheating! Let’s look at the other costs of commuting that I know I, for one, did not even notice until I started telecommuting several days a week:

Fatigue
It sounds crazy, but sitting in traffic will wear you out! This leads to less energy for the family and interferes with your focus when you finally get to work. It can also cause you to neglect health issues like daily exercise and healthy eating in exchange for a fast, easy out like fast food and no cardio at all.

Stress
People who sit in traffic on a regular basis, according to some studies, are a full three times more likely to experience heart attacks in their lifetime. Sound overblown? Think about the stress and the utter futility that you experience when you are trapped in your car on the freeway – or even just when you are navigating city streets with low speed limits and lots of twists and turns trying to get to work on time. That is indisputably stress on your heart!

Loss of personal time
You don’t get paid for that commute, and you don’t get much good out of it either. Many people attempt to override this problem by listening to soothing music and trying to relax while they drive or by trying to get some form of work done in the car. Either way, however, it is personal, unpaid time that you put in for work every time you sit in that car and wait for the light to change or the wreck to clear.

This is not designed to make you hate your job and its commute. Rather, I just want you to think about the time and toll that your commute may be taking. Possibly you can work out a way to make that time more useful for yourself or even determine a way to save all sorts of trouble and money by working from home.


 


 

Posted: Sunday 22 July 2012 - 4 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]
Category: Leadership

Delegating work can get a job done more quickly or it can turn in to a huge pain in the neck. If you are like most people, you have delegated work out to a team at least one time after which you thought to yourself, “That sure would have been easier if I had just done that on my own.” All of us have had times where the idea of teamwork just didn’t pan out, but on the whole, the ability to delegate effectively will still save you a great deal of time and enable you to get more done in the long run.

When you are delegating, think hard about the work you are assigning to people and how it fits their personality. For example, while a young intern who is just happy to have a paying job that is gaining them experience in their field is going to feel very differently about filing than another administrator who has been essentially running her half of the office for 30 years. In this scenario, it makes sense to assign the filing to the intern, then find something for the secretary that demonstrates your recognition of the fact that he or she knows the “in’s and out’s” of the office better than most.

Also, when you delegate think about yourself. If there are projects that you are going to try and micromanage no matter how hard to try to resist, then you should keep those projects. Assigning them to others will just create bad feelings when you are constantly breathing down their necks about their work. You should keep projects that you are sure that you cannot let go of.

Delegating work is a fine line. You have to be fair and you have to also make the best use of everyone’s talents, regardless of what those talents might be. Do your best to explain why you have assigned certain work items in a positive light, emphasizing that you think that the person doing the job will perform extremely well.

Posted: Thursday 28 June 2012 - 3 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]
Category: Miscellaneous

Particularly in the summer months, many offices adopt a “Casual Friday” or other “Casual Day” during which employees can dress down from their usual professional attire. Often these days are designed to bring a little fun into the workplace, but a mistaken idea about what is appropriate for Casual Day could end up with you cooling your heels at home early or making a horrible first impression on someone that you will be working with. If you have not experienced a casual day in the office before, make sure that you err on the side of caution when you are dressing down.

In many offices, casual day simply means that you do not have to wear a suit (and tie) if you are a man and that you do not have to wear the equivalent level of dress if you are a woman. However, for women, the line is less distinct, since many women wear skirts and blouses on a regular basis, which slightly lowers their level of professional dress already. So before you wear jeans in to work, make sure that this is acceptable and that Casual Day is not really just “ditch your tie and/or heels day.”

Another way that offices may try to make Casual Day fun is by giving it a theme. For example, there might be “Hawaiian Shirt Day” or “Luau Day.” As with any other casual day, be moderate in your interpretation of what is appropriate. Avoid coconut bikinis and other beachwear, including flip flops, unless there has been a precedent set for this type of behavior! Even then, tread lightly so that your behavior is not misinterpreted.

Casual days can be a great way to lighten a mood or reward an office that has really had its nose to the grindstone. Just always be careful to keep propriety in the back of your mind, and think carefully about whether or not you will be participating if the day is not officially sanctioned.

Posted: Wednesday 13 June 2012 - 1 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

When you are an assistant, it can be very tempting to put your employer’s needs entirely over your own. To some extent, this is your job, since your role as a virtual assistant is basically to help keep things running on schedule, pay bills and generally smooth the way for your employer and his or her business. However, if you completely eliminate your professional needs from the equation, a job that starts out as a great opportunity can start to feel like a real dead end.

In order to keep the “spark” in your  job, you need to make sure that you are working toward your goals as well as those of your employer. And you should also make sure that your employer is working toward your goals too. You can accomplish this harmonious relationship by talking to your employer about how you can better help the company and yourself in the process.

Request a meeting with your employer when he or she has some time to talk. You can present it as a performance review if you like, since these types of reviews are often the point at which goals for the future are discussed. With your employer, review what your role in the company is and how that role might grow to expand the productivity of the company as well as yourself. Often, that expansion might require training, extra hours or additional education – all of which your employer may be willing to fund and which will make you more marketable and more valuable to the company.

Before the meeting, decide what you want to accomplish. Do you want more hours? More responsibility? More education? A higher salary? Determine how to best present your needs so that your meeting these goals actually furthers the progress of the company. Then, ask your boss to help you identify the company’s goals and how you can further them. Together, the two of you should be able to identify ways in which you can grow while at the same time supporting the growth of the company that requires your main focus.


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