Marie McIntyre, Ph. D, Your Office Coach

Q: “I seem to be at a crossroads in my career. My boss recently told me that I am on track to become a partner in our firm in two to three years. However, my husband and I are also ready to start a family. Although cutting back to 20 or 30 hours a week would not be a problem financially, I’m afraid it might endanger my ability to make partner. All of our partners are men who work very long hours and may not understand my need for a reduced schedule. Ideally, I would like to have both a successful career and time with my family. Does that seem possible or will I have to give something up?” Future Mom

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Q: “During a staff meeting, ‘Michael’ suddenly stood up and began shouting insults and shaking his fist at our supervisor, which was totally out of character. Then he stormed out of the room. Although Michael’s behavior was clearly inappropriate, I was surprised by our supervisor’s reaction. Instead of going to him and asking what was wrong, she became combative, giving him extra work and expecting unrealistic results in an effort to get him fired. Michael told me in confidence that he doesn’t want to leave, but feels the stress is affecting his health. We are losing a valuable, experienced employee because my egotistical boss never cared enough to try to help him. I realize the workplace is not a social services agency, but management almost seems to encourage supervisors to be arrogant and obnoxious. Shouldn’t they be expected to show some humanity?”

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Q: “After being promoted to manager, I began supervising my former co-workers, including my friend ‘Alicia.’ Everything was fine until Alicia had a major conflict with an employee who complained to higher management. I was told to resolve the issue, so I had to reprimand Alicia for the way she handled the situation. Alicia now seems very bitter and is obviously unhappy with me. I would like to talk with her about this, but I’m not sure what to say. Do you have any suggestions?”  New Manager

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Q: “If a person is fired because of their attitude or behavior, what can they do to keep this from happening again when they get a new job?” Christine

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Q: “After a recent meeting, my boss called me into his office and slammed the door. He got right in my face, backed me against the wall, and said, ‘Don’t ever make another comment like the one you just made in that meeting!’ When I stated that I was only expressing my personal opinion on a business issue, he shook his finger at me and repeated ‘Don’t ever, ever do that again!’ His anger scared me, so I left quickly. Nothing like this has ever happened before. Do you think I should discuss this with my boss or just report him to Human Resources?”  Confused

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Question: “We have a boss who doesn’t act like a boss. Although he listens to our suggestions, he never follows through with them. He seems hesitant to involve upper management in any issue. This is driving us crazy, so your advice would be appreciated.”  Frustrated Employees

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Q: “Our company has a dress code, but you’d never know it from looking at our employees. Many of them come to work wearing old clothes that are sloppy and baggy. Prospective customers often visit this office for product demonstrations, so I have said many times that everyone must dress in a professional manner. The offenders reply that if I expect them to look better, I need to give them more money. How do I deal with this attitude?” Irritated Manager

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Q: “About seven years ago, I worked part time at an after-school daycare program. My employment was terminated after I complained to a parent about her child’s unruly behavior. I have recently heard that the daycare company now claims I never worked there. If I list this job on applications, I’m afraid employers may think I’m lying about my work history. I could show my old pay stubs as proof during an interview, but how do I avoid being screened out during the application process?” Erased

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Q: “My co-worker, ‘Carly,’ has very bad breath. If she comes into my office for even a few minutes, the odor is still there after she leaves. This is really bothering me, but I don’t know how to tell her about it.” Gagging

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Q: “After my manager resigned, I began reporting directly to the vice president of our department. For the past few months, she has praised my outstanding performance and frequently asked for my advice. A few weeks ago, she hired a new manager who is likely to become my boss. She is now consulting him instead of me. I have also been removed from the weekly meetings. No one has told me what’s going on, so I’m becoming concerned about my future. Does this situation sound normal?” On the Outside

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