The Bad Assistant: When To Switch, When to Fire

When to Fire a Bad Assistant | CorporetteWhat should you do when you’re stuck with a bad assistant, secretary or subordinate — and your assistant doesn’t assist? When is just time to switch assistants, or even fire the person? Reader K wonders:

We are a small (12 people) conservative professional investment firm serving high net worth clients. I recently moved from front office to portfolio assistant. The young woman who replaced me thinks she is doing a great job even though she was told by management that she needs to work on skills. She says she has a photographic memory and doesn’t take notes on anything I try to explain. I prepared “how to'” notes for her, but have had to print them for her repeatedly. She makes “to do” lists but rarely does items on the list. When I try to explain something, she has gotten up and walked off or continues to stare at computer screen. Her history shows that she is constantly on the Internet. I was told to monitor these things, but feel uncomfortable. I am working an extra 15 hours a week trying to do my new job and picking up slack on hers. Needless to say, I am stressed. Management is aware of issues, but not that I am really stressed out over this. How should I handle this?

Wow — I’m sorry, K, that sounds like it really stinks. You say she’s been warned; you say management is already aware of these issues. That all leads me to the following advice:

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Becoming a Better Manager: Books and Online Resources

Become a Better Manager | Corporette2017 Update: We still stand by this advice on how to become a better manager (and links have been updated below), but you may also want to check out our latest discussion on online women’s management training

How do you become a boss and a more effective leader — whether you’re new to management or you’ve supervised people for a while and want to improve?

In the past, we’ve discussed various management books for women before, but readers recently discussed their favorites, so we thought we’d round them up, as well as some additional online resources for honing your skills.  (We’ve also discussed dressing like a managerimposter syndromedelegating work, and whether you should be friends with staffers.)

 

 

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Looking for the 25th Hour? Our Top Time-Saving Strategies

time saving tipsDays at the office can be incredibly long — made only longer by the fact that there are still chores, errands, and other life issues to be dealt with. We thought we’d start an open thread by listing some of the things that we do to save time on life tasks, and then see what your thoughts are.  (Pictured:  Hungry Mouse Timer, available at Amazon.com for $8.)

Cooking.
Plan ahead. Lately, we’ve been trying to save time cooking by only doing one order from Fresh Direct for the entire month.  We figure out what recipes we want to make/try, what ingredients we need, and order everything at once.  Then, we print the recipes (we tend to copy recipes into our Palm Pilot), staple them together, and keep that printout in the kitchen for the month.  (It helps to highlight any “fresh” ingredients that should be used sooner rather than later.)  When the FD delivery comes, we put almost everything into the freezer until we’re ready to use it.   (We’ve been enjoying crockpot recipes from Kalyn’s Kitchen, lately.)
– Have a snack mentality through the day — yogurt, cheese, nuts, fruit, so forth.  Our point isn’t that you should eat low-calorie foods (to each their own), but that you can save time by finding foods that are relatively healthy for you and easy to grab and go without a lot of prep work.  Focus on calcium content, fiber, and protein — make your snacks work for you.  Other times, we’ll bring “components” to the office — for example, a blue cheese that was not a hit a party (too strong) gets added to the plain spinach and tomato salad we pick up with the deli.  We save money, get the satisfaction of using a food we bought, and don’t have to slave over “lunch” in the morning. [Read more…]

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