I was very intrigued while I listened to your recent cast on admins & trip reports.

Couldn't agree with you more, on the value proposition, or as you say the manager economics 101.

I work for a very large multinational IT organization, and am paid very handsomely for my services.

Admins for us, went the way of the do do many years ago.  I travel each and every week to my current engagement.  I have to book my own travel (air, travel, car rental) each week.  Yes the firm provides us tools, but again to the value proposition you point out, it's pretty lame for us to be doing this.

Furthermore, I then have the privilege each and every week, of entering in my expenses, printing them off and forwarding to HQ for reimbursement.  If I deviate from approved levels for any expenditure, I must then plead my case to the accounting Nazi's.  More non-value add time.

I'd be curious, if you had any insights to how one might turn this leviathan of an enterprise around, to examine these most idiotic practices.



ken_wills's picture

Truly - don't even bother.  Yes, you might have logic on your side, and you certainly can try to make the case that it's a ridiculous use of your handsome pay.  But in some twisted view of reality it IS an economical's why:

The dirty little secret is that many managers do these administrtivia things on "their own time" - outside the normal business week.  And so the company ISN'T paying anybody to get this done - they've eliminated the cost of the admin who used to do it, and they haven't added cost by pushing it off to the professional who's already putting in a 48, 55, 60+ hour workweek and being paid for 40.

And here's where they have you over a barrel: there's NO WAY you're going to fall short on your "professional" responsibilities because of the added workload (Oh yeah: "sorry boss, I missed that client deliverable because I had to spend too much time on my travel reports...").

Fact of life.  Move on.

mmann's picture
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I believe to a large degree Ken_Wills is correct, but I really don't have any solid evidence to verify it.  If you want to try some benign methods to test the waters:

Ask your boss if you can share a few cycles of her Admin Assistant.  Of course, this assumes your boss has an AA.

Another alternative would be to hire one out of your own pocket, either a part time college student or someone from BrickWorks.  Once you have them trained and efficiently making you effective, show your boss what your AA does for you.  Generate some envy in your boss.  When budgeting season comes around, ask your boss if she'd be willing to add an AA to the staff and share them with you.  If the college student you hired is doing well you may already have someone on your bench that can fill the position.

Crazy ideas, but they have no reverse career implications.


  Good luck!