Work Scenario #7 – Developing SOPs

September 23, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Posted in Business Ops, Work Scenerios | Leave a comment
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Disclaimer: So that some work scenarios make more sense, I’d like to describe the organization I worked with. A mobile mental health team served severe and persistent mentally ill people in a county in Maryland. Some descriptions may seem vague or cryptic; it is to preserve the identity of clients, organization, and co-workers. Some documents are redacted via pixilation. My specific duties will always remain intact.

My team was ramped up at a new office when I was hired.  Sometimes when this happens it takes workers some time to be assimilated into the organization’s rules, needs, and even the culture.  I found a way to take advantage of the situation.  I created and developed standard operating procedures for many of my responsibilities and documents needed to keep all aspects of our office organized from office supplies to recording received checks.

Here I like to briefly present the process I used to create an SOP, especially for the handling of Social Security checks.  The entire process is described in Work Scenario #5 – Entitlement Checks.  I’m not going to go over the process here, that can be reviewed in my earlier scenario, but rather how I used my background as a programmer to write a clear, concise, specific document.

As a programmer, I already knew the benefits of creating a flowchart for projects. [see figure below] As an administrative assistant, I used those benefits in creating standard operating procedures and documents.  SOP’s helped to increase productivity.  It’s best to remember before you write your flow chart and document that the people you are writing for need to understand priorities and the impact of a deadline, that they are part of a bigger picture, and it should explain the necessity of a certain step.
Once I got through the all the steps of the entitlement check process, from request to distribution and tracking I created a document in the form of an outline.  Steps on the flowchart are extremely general and short.  On the outlines in the SOP documents they were much more detailed, yet still short.  Notes can be added at the end to clarify certain more complex points.

The last step was a short training for my team to be sure everything was clear and team members had their own copy.  I assured them that I would be available for any questions.  Usually there weren’t any questions because the drafted versions included advice from the team.  I think it cuts down on interruptions if I include all users of a document or SOP in the beginning of the process.

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Websites for the Week of September 18th

September 18, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Previous weekly website lists can be found here.

Now that the parents with children in school are well into the ‘Back to School’ mode I thought I would list some websites that could be helpful for unemployed parents of school age children.  It’s been a little while for me, but as I recall this is the week where you’re getting more notes from the school with the lists of extra equipment and fees, placing additional burdens on the tight family budget.

You need get the kids back to school with less money this year.

If you’d like to send your child to a better school (K-12) and need some financial help.

For some help on budgeting the money spent on school clothing.

Need some quick tips on bargains for back to school spending.

Want one more site for ways to go back to school and not to the poorhouse?

To help make sure that the stress of going back to school doesn’t include your unemployment.

That’s it for this week. See what you like here. I’d love to hear from you about it. This week’s list is on a subject that I really think people can contribute to. Remember you can submit a website for the Sunday Readings on my How-To/Forum page.

Rejected – And Again

September 16, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Posted in Interviewing, Job Search | Leave a comment
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After only one week, I received a rejection notice via e-mail from the prep school I applied to last week.  This was a panel interview where I got three different feelings, one from each interviewer.  The HR person, was the most engaging and friendly, she asked most of the usual, but less intimidating questions.  The Accountant, who would be the second person I would assist didn’t seem very interested at all, she answered my questions clearly enough, but didn’t ask much of me.  The Director of Finance, the person I would report to directly, was very ‘severe’ in her line of questioning, asked the more intimidating questions including, “Why didn’t you move ahead in the field you got your degree in?”  That was a new one for me.  I couldn’t really read how the interview went, obviously it didn’t go well enough for me to get the job. I think that’s one thing I like the least about panel interviews, different personalities to connect with.  The better I read someone, the better I connect, and the more I can tell the best way to sell “me”.  It gives me a head start if I’m hired in my relationship with the person I’m supporting and assisting.

I must say that the letter I received was refreshing, it was personally written to me and I appreciated the feedback.  When I do get a rejection via e-mail I reply with a thank you and a request that they keep my resume and application materials on file. Interesting it’s the two schools that I’ve applied to that have seemed to have the common courtesy of contacting me personally, the first by phone while he was on vacation.

Websites for the Week of September 11th

September 11, 2011 at 10:39 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

No matter who you are, no matter if you’re employed or not, and no matter what your job title, today’s date is one that rings in every America’s mind and heart.
This week’s theme has nothing to do with help if your on a tight budget or looking for work.  Below is a list of individual bloggers who have written about how they feel when they hear someone says “ September  11th”  There were many to choose from, but I enjoyed these the most.

Reading some of these articles may be disturbing or unsettling.  I believe that those articles and reports should always be that way.  You should cry, be outraged, proud, and emotional.

Previous weekly website lists can be found here.

That’s it for this week. See what you like here. I’d love to hear from you about it. This week’s list is on a subject that I really think people can contribute to. Remember you can submit a website for the Sunday Readings on my How-To/Forum page.

Two More Interviews

September 9, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Posted in Interviewing, Job Search, Opinions | Leave a comment
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I just got back from my second interview of the week.  Yesterday my interview was with a local prep school for the position of administrative assistant to the Director of Finance and Accounting.

Today’s interview was with a local hospital for an ‘as needed’ medical records clerk.

I severely sprained my ankle last Friday and I still can’t put my full weight on it.  I’m limping along using a cane.  I didn’t want to cancel my interviews so I gritted my teeth and went to both, chauffeured by my husband since I can’t drive yet.  What better way to look dependable!  In both interviews I was asked about  my attendance at work, which has always been excellent, I stressed that and then said, “I even come to work with a sprained ankle”.

The interviews this week both were panel ones, three and four people.  I’ve heard this is becoming more and more common, but hadn’t experienced it before.  At first I thought it would be more daunting, but in the long run I think I like them.  I’ve dealt with the Human Resources person, the direct supervisor, and the department head or director all at once.  I like dealing with the different personalities and different types of managing.  I like the different types of questions I got from the different points of view of what may become my working relationship with the panel members.  I think it’s good for the prospective employee because more than one opinion is used in the final hiring decision.  I suggest to anyone who knows this type of interview is coming up to prepare by thinking of the typical interview questions, then think about the different ways they may be asked depending on which management person you may be dealing with.  For example: one person may ask “Tell me about one of your weaknesses at work”, another may say, “What are you doing to correct your weaknesses on the job?”  There is a difference here between recognizing a problem and solving one.

At least for the next 48 hours I’ll rest my foot, cross my fingers, and hope for the best.

Websites for the Week of September 4th

September 4, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Posted in Weekly Readings | Leave a comment
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Previous weekly website lists can be found here.

I’m doing a theme again this week.  I like the idea and will probably do this from now on.  If you have an idea for a theme, or any suggestion for a website you can send them along here.
This week, I’m focusing on my fellow administrative assistants.  Below are some of the better sites, other than mine of course, that help unemployed admins.
I am assuming that most you have done what you need to do on Linked In, Indeed, CareerBuilder, other job boards, and temp agencies.  This may help you go one step further.

  • If you need to make a change.  As an administrative assistant, you may have skills you’ve never thought of.  You may have many more career choices than you realize.
  • If you want more admin resources.  A simple site full of links to resources, professional organizations, and career links.
  • If you want to replace all those tools in your toolbox with just one.  This site helps whether you’re employed or not. Skills, resources, trainings, and creativity are all covered here. Plus there’s an iPhone app that includes all the information on the site.
  • Just when you think you’ve looked at all the job sites.  This is not only an employment sight, but a great community. It’s called the administrative arts, it makes me feel better whenever I visit it.

That’s it for this week. See what you like here. I’d love to hear from you about it. This week’s list is on a subject that I really think people can contribute to. Remember you can submit a website for the Sunday Readings on my How-To/Forum page.

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