30 December 2007

A Group Called Skeleton Staff (and more...)

I was part of the “skeleton staff” in my office between Christmas and New Year’s so I have not had a continuous break, but came in the few working days last week.

We are a very interesting group of people us “skeleton staffers”. We wore jeans! Don’t tell anyone as that is not allowed on any day other than Friday. We are obedient in this rule at every other time of the year, but at this in-between time we are emboldened because we are the “skeletons” and we know we can get away with it.

At one place I worked they even provided pizza and pop to reward us for this sacrifice we were making so everyone else could take the time off. Yes, we are a very humble group of volunteers! You should consider joining us next year. Of course if you do then we will probably stay home so you will be better able to appreciate this special role you can play in your office.

A New Year and Lots of Work

As we begin this New Year there is a lot of work for the administrative assistant. We need to open new administrative files for 2008. We have to finish off any year-end expense reports and any other accounting that needs to be entered to close off 2007, and we have to do our regular work. It will be a busy week when we get back to work in 2008.

Performance Appraisals and the New Year

Something we should start thinking about as we start this New Year is our next performance review.

I don't look forward to filling out my performance appraisal form. Especially the self evaluation part. My mind seems to go completely blank when it comes to things I have achieved and what goals I want to accomplish. It reminds me of when I was pregnant and I went to a doctor’s appointment. The doctor would ask me if I had any questions, and I knew I did, but just when he asked me my mind went blank. All the books I had read recommended that you write your questions down and bring them with you. Simple, but effective.

I read of a similar idea in regards to the performance review in an article entitled, "The Performance Review: An Opportunity in Disguise" (Domeyer, Diane, OfficePro, November/December, p. 5).

The author recommends one way to prepare in advance of a performance review would be to keep a folder with emails, notes and reminders of your accomplishments throughout the year.

After reading the article I just happened to get a nice email from a client and thought that this email was something that I should keep for appraisal time. What I have decided to do to keep track of these types of emails is to open a subfolder in Outlook called Performance Review. In the future I will drag and drop these into this folder as a reminder of comments people have made about my performance and also some of my accomplishments. For instance, if I arrange a successful conference or if I'm involved in a project that I am proud of, I will send myself a short reminder email detailing that, which I can then drag and drop into my Performance Review subfolder. This will be a reminder system for me and when it comes time for my next review then I can read over these emails and remind myself of some of my accomplishments so I will be better equipped to fill out a more thorough and well thought out self evaluation.

If you get a chance to read the article, I would recommend it.1

Resolutions and Reflection!

I also received a Get Organized Now e-Newsletter and I thought I would pass an article from it on to you at this time of resolutions and reflection. Maria Garcia has written 11 tips in her article "Your Life...Simplified". Please click here to read the article on her website (you need to scroll down just a bit to see the article).

I thought it was an appropriate check list as we start this New Year to reflect and think about our work and home lives and how we can better organize and de-stress our lives.

Happy New Year everyone and remember to date all your letters and documents "2008". I find the first few weeks of the New Year will be the time I will forget. A good suggestion would be to write "2008" on a yellow sticky and stick it on your computer where you can see it as a reminder.

If you are interested in subscribing to the Get Organized Now e-Newsletter, please click here.

1 Domeyer, Diane, ``The Performance Review: An Opportunity in Disguise``, OfficePro Magazine, November/December, p. 5, A publication of IAAP
2 Garcia, Maria, "Your Life...Simplified", Get Organized Now e-Newsletter (accessed December 30, 2007)

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