Saturday, September 20, 2014

Another use for the fingernail polish remover in your personal drawer

Everyone has their calendar on Outlook. Those of us in constant contact all share our calendar views.

Why would boss XX want everyone's calendar's on a dry erase board in the middle of our hallways.

We all belittled it.

But you know what? It helps!

Sometimes we take a walk across the office without looking at our calendars and end up looking through doors and windows until we remember to walk over to the hallway dry erase board and read it. It's closer than going all the way back to our desks.  And while the support staff usually look at the calendars, for some reason the management and team leaders never - ever - seem to remember they have that ability. And now that they are trained that the hall board is there, they are less likely to come bothering the support staff in our cubicles.

The calendar itself is actually three very large dry-erase boards, and one of the staff is a car-guy who suggested using car pinstriping to delineate the rows and columns.  This worked great.  Then we used Sharpie markers to write the names in the left-hand column, and dry-erase markers to enter locations during the days of the week. When new staff come, we use the fingernail polish remover from my personal drawer to erase the names and re-do the list. Perfect!

We also use a dry-erase board to re-write the car-usage calendar for the 3 company cards that we share.  Even though that is on a shared calendar as well, no one (again, except the support staff) seems to get that they can reserve it from the comfort of their own seat.  They inevitably walk the hallways until they get to the location were the dry-erase board is, in order to schedule the use of a car.

Well, we're not all rocket scientists.

And that's why they have us, Stellar Support Staff.  Because without us, they wouldn't be able to do what they do!

Greeting card stash (why you need it!)

No, you don't need the Hallmark brand, but let me tell you, working in an office setting you will ALWAYS want to keep a stash of cards in file.  Whether your boss needs one, or a coworker surprises everyone with the news of an impending retirement (or a baby), a stash of cards will come in handy. And of course, this also is a trick that you can use at home. 

You will want to go to the Dollar General and pick up some cards, since they often have 2 for $1 cards that are so much better than the generic "in the box" packages. Just pick up a few happy baby cards, some birthday cards, some blank cards, and a bunch of SORRY for your LOSS cards.  Yes, before I started work I had no idea how many people lost family and friends so often. Clearly I was in my own little world, because these are the most needed cards in my stash.

Another thing to keep in your personal stash of cards is one or two small gift bags and tissue paper.  You will need this at least once a year.  While you can usually run out to get a one dollar lottery ticket for a card, or a $5 coffee gift card, there will be times that will require something a little weightier, and you won't want to have to stop at another store to buy a bag and paper. 

These are just a few of the necessities for looking like the most "together" staff member in your office. I'll have some more suggestions coming up.  In the meantime, feel free to add your tips in the comments.  I promise I'll read them. I might not publish them, but I'll read them!  :)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Where have you been? ...asks Rihanna AND your boss

When I first started with my company, I considered it a unifying act when I answered emails via my phone. I took work home with me (another subject we'll talk about later) and I checked my iPhone every time it buzzed. I was part of a team!

Two years went by, and my mother died. I went home for the memorial on a weekend before a big event that I helped to coordinate. Stressed to the max that I wasn't going to be in town, my boss was anxious about my leaving, though I only took off Friday and Monday around that weekend.

She thus emailed, texted, and called me every half-hour while I was gone. 

This was the beginning of the end for my love affair with getting emails from work on my iPhone.

Letting that simmer for a year, I went on vacation for a week. There was nothing going on that couldn't wait for my return. Except of course, other people who were not in the loop. And, of course, my boss, who is actually awesome, but who thought I had a document she needed.  I felt bad for her, but she emailed me imploring me to help her find this document. She was begging! Multiple times. All I could say was that I hadn't ever seen it, but if I had it then it would be in my to-do box.

We had awful phone reception where we were going, and our wifi was spotty at best, so after a few stressful email responses, I did the unthinkable.

I DELETED my work email from my iPhone!

I felt bad for a day or two, but I felt so free! No longer was I saying, "I'll get into the kayak when I'm done answering this email, honey".  I just GOT IN THE KAYAK!

When I returned, my boss apologized (I told you she was good) for the barage of worried emails. I now still do NOT have work emails on my phone, and I feel great. If something is important - for example, if it is during the work day and we are in different locations - she texts me.

However, I don't know that I could have deleted my work emails earlier in our relationship. So I will caution you - beware starting off your job with adding your work email to your phone, as it may be something that is hard to get rid of, once everyone sees how accessible you are.

And if you DO decide to remove it, consider your boss's attitude.  You may need to expound on a white lie, for example, "...I don't have enough data to get all of that on my phone..." which will work for most supervisors unless you are in the tech industry.  And if they insist that you are wrong, and they can help you with your phone, blame it on your mother (or father, or girlfriend, husband, or ??). Okay, just kidding about that last line. You're on your own there!

Do you have any experience with answering Emails from home or vacation?  Do you have any suggestions to share?  I am always looking for new, better, or different ways to do things, so don't hesitate to comment!

                      Thank you for stopping by!

While I'm still reading this, I'm looking forward to receiving this on Wednesday (its a gift for my hubby but I'll get to play, too!):

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Creativity and Your Role as Support Staff

This summer I was asked to teach a session on creativity during a day long event for support staff.  I was thrilled!  I am a secretary, and I enjoy my job, but I am also many other things... and the organizers asked me to to this because they know me well.

At the start of my session, the group made its way around a large table that I had previously set up with tablecovers, paints, and canvases, and I introduced myself. I told the participants that I had a four year degree in Art History, and that I enjoyed putting my research skills to good use as a secretary. At least one of the women took offense at this, and thought I was kidding - denegrating her position as a secretary.  Quickly disagreeing, I explained that I was quite serious. Every day in the work I do, I use some of what made me a great student.  My ablity to think creatively, my tenacity, and my skills researching.

And this is the point of this blog.

I would like to help everyone expand their skill sets for the office! Not that I am the end all, but I will share what I know, I hope you will share what you know, and that we can ask others to join us to share what they know.


Reading anything good?  Here is what I'm reading today: