Hi, this is my first timepisting here...I'll to be brief.
I am currently an office manager in a 50 person sales office. We call on our company's largest corporate customer. I've been increasing my responsibilities for the past 2.5 years. Been flagged as a high potential/promotable employee. Currently managing 2 large project in addition to my normal role: designing and managing a $2MM office building/training facility build. Also planning a week long, 500 person, $1MM offsite meeting. I really like my job, even the random merchandising reports or sales databases and managing marketing/promotional items. I have gotten lots of props from most people in my office and corporate. Unfortunately, these 2 projects run parallell so I've been forced, for the first time, to decline a request for help w a office charity event. My manager was totally ok with that and defended me when the person showed disappointment.
Recently, my manager retired. His replacement comes from a company where she was used to an executive admin - she expects someone to book travel, do expenses, calendar management, register for conferences, buy her planner refills, etc. my direct report is the office admin asst. Admittedly, she is older and sort of grumpy but she is capable of doing this work. In fact she is the go to person for eexpenses.
When I sat down w new manager, she asked me to do travel and I told her I hadn't done it before so I might be rusty. She asked why i was rusty, i explained b/c none of the former VPs required it. And I told her the admin asst does expenses. She seemed surprised and said "so what do you do?" And I gave her my laundry list of office manager tasks. I'll admit I was kind of offended by her tone and the question, my job spec (and most office manager jobs descrips) never included those tasks soI never did them yet i felt like I had to defend myself. 
Knowing she has been on the job for 3 wks, i haven't had time to sit w her much and I know she is still checking out the lay ofthe land. However, with my current workload at max capacity, I have been doing whatever she needs and staying late to finish other tasks. This is all good - temporarily. 
My annual review will be in Nov/Dec and one of the goals for the year was to hire additional admin support. I worked w department heads to create a job description and got approval from my old manager. Handed it off to HR who said bc of hiring freeze and new VP starting, she'd hold onto it. I think this is the perfect opportunity for my new manager to create the sort of exec admin she wants. We are setting 2015 budgets right now, do I mention the additional headcount now or wait until it comes up in my year end review?
I guess my concern is, I hate to ask for help so early after her start date but I also 
a) have no time to do exec admin tasks as it is but I'm willing to do it if there's an end in sight. Especially knowing once we move to new facility, which is double the size of current building and requires a lot more management on my part. It has a ton of bells and whistles that I will expected to administer.
b) i worked as exec admin for 4 years and hated it. I made great money but it was soul sucking, hence why i took current role that did not requirethose tasks. i just don't thrive at it, that sort of responsibiliy gives me anxiety. I wake up worrying about flights and car service and meetings :( New manager deserves to know that it's not my strength.
C) I want to be promoted. i currently am doing tasks for all departments and proving myself capable. If I had to take on exec admin duties, I'd have no choice but to push back and tell those departments I can no longer help them. Also, i think it would undermine the respect of the office staff I've gained so far.
D) i do not get paid for office manager & exec admin roles. I am not given a company cell like other exec admins at corporate. But even a pay raise or cell wouldn't sway me to accept the role, it would just help me squirrel away money while i find a new job. 

Any ideas on how to address this with my manager? HR director is a snake in the grass so I'd rather go through manager, she seems fair and I have no issue with her. She needs whatever resources to get her job done, I want to help but I don't think piling onto my position is the fair or efficient answer. Is there a right time or way to address this? Thanks!! 

mattheww's picture


A couple things come to mind for me. 

One is that you can in fact deliver the things your manager wants, only you are doing it through your team of two, so indirectly, rather than handling it yourself. So you can answer her positively, but with a slight correction, "Sure I'll get xxx to handle that for you, let me know if you need anything else." I think this is important as she has a problem and you don't want to be the obstacle.

The other is that your manager needs to understand the value of what you're doing and why two people are filling a role she might think only one is needed for. Bearing in mind she has a lot to understand at the moment, perhaps you can make this easy. Maybe a weekly one-page summary of projects statuses, and perhaps an offer to sit down for half an hour and talk through what you're working on. It might be better to talk about work than role, as if you talk about role then she might just insist on her template, but if you talk about work then she may come to understand the value of that work to her and to the company and then...of course you need to do that! 

What do you think?











Bluegreyeyes's picture

I have directed her to use the admin for expenses, but she has asked me to handle it at least twice. I will delegate it to the admin myself and see if there's any issue.

It's very hard to get a meeting w/her, even as a direct report who is working on larger projects.... HR was "guarding" her time initially and now she's travelling to other offices/sites. I will schedule something to go over my primary job functions and let her know updates on each...thanks.