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I work with 3 other administrative assistants who support 8 professionals. I get along well with them, and I am very good at what I do. The problem is that one of the other administrative assistants frequently gets behind and asks me to help her out. I have done so on many occasions, but this makes a huge amount of work for me, and it's been happening more and more lately. She is becoming a real problem for me.

It certainly sounds like she is becoming a real problem, but the reality is that you are part of the problem too. You have been a supportive, helpful, caring, and likable colleague, and that is commendable.

However, by always being there to help your associate and bail her out every time she falls behind, you may have inadvertently removed any incentive, desire, or motivation for her to improve. In a buzzword, you have played an enabling role. You have provided such a comfortable safety net for her that she would rather jump into it than jump into her job.

This does not mean that you should not help her any more, but it does mean that you should spend more time doing your work, and less time doing hers. The next time that she comes to you for a bailout, you can still provide some direct help, but try to put more emphasis on demonstrating how to get the work done. If you truly want to help her, you should do so as her mentor, not as her savior.

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