Marie McIntyre, Ph. D, Your Office Coach

Q: “My 19-year-old son spent six months in jail for a probation violation. He was on probation because he took our neighbor’s car without permission so that he could go see his girlfriend. Recently, he was turned down for a warehouse position after the employer learned about his arrest during a background check. How should he handle his record when looking for a job?” Concerned Mom 

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Q: “For three years, I have been stuck with an irritating co-worker who loves to aggravate me. Although I try to hold my tongue, I can’t seem to stop myself from responding to her personal digs. I’ve told her numerous times to leave me alone, but to no avail. My boss says I’m too sensitive and that I should just ‘suck it up.’ I tried complaining to Human Resources, but they were no help. Quitting my job isn’t possible, so what can I do?” Harassed

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Q: “The manager who hired me resigned a few months ago. His replacement is a great guy, but he is not familiar with our organization. Since he doesn’t understand my role, he gives me assignments that are well below my level. I’ve recently learned that less qualified people are working on projects which should have been mine. I’ve also heard that my boss goes to other departments for information that he could easily get from me. It’s no secret that our company may have layoffs this year, and I’m afraid I might be on the list. I obviously need to have a conversation with my manager, but I’m not sure what to say.” Overlooked

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Q: “After three months on the job, I have concluded that this is a toxic workplace. I originally took this position just to have a paycheck, but now I feel trapped, because my long hours leave me no time to look for another job. Even though I’m a new graduate, I have enough savings to last for a year. Should I consider quitting?” Fed Up 

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Q: “Our manager is involved with a lot of community groups and charitable organizations. The problem is that whenever she participates in something, she sends the staff an email asking for contributions. We see no reason why employees should be expected to support their boss’s outside activities, but we don’t want to offend her and jeopardize our job security. Is there a polite way to tell our manager to stop these requests?” Intimidated 

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Q: “I share an office with a very nosy woman. ‘Tricia’ constantly monitors my activities and asks what I’m doing. My job involves spending time on the Internet, so she probably thinks I’m Web surfing. Tricia seems jealous of my friendship with other co-workers and frequently inquires about their personal business. Although I love my job, I’m becoming paranoid about my office mate. What should I do?” Tricia’s Target

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Q: “Without meaning to, I have created a big problem with my manager. I have doubts about his technical skills and feel that he needs more training. Since I didn’t want to tell him this, I decided to take some of my technical concerns to his boss. His boss escalated our conversation into a formal discussion with human resources. As a result, my manager is now aware of my feelings about his technical ability. How can I repair our relationship?” Worried

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Q: “Management allowed my boss to hire one of her relatives, even though this is against company policy. My manager and ‘Wendy’ were not close before, but now they carpool, eat lunch together, and even plan joint family vacations. My concern is that Wendy is not being properly supervised. Her work is often incorrect, but my boss constantly makes excuses for her. The executive who approved Wendy’s hiring has left, so our current management may not be aware of their relationship. I don’t know whether to report this policy violation or just ignore it and focus on my work.” Wendy’s co-worker

 

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Q: “Because my English is not very good, I have a hard time contributing in management team meetings. I often feel ignored because the other managers don’t understand what I mean. I have a lot that I want to say, but my English always lets me down. Can you help?” Tongue-tied

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Q: “Although I have no problem getting job interviews when I send out my résumé, these conversations always end the same way. Interviewers praise my experience, but say they would prefer to hire someone with a college degree. I don’t have time to go to school, so how do I get around this degree problem?” Qualified Applicant

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