Marie McIntyre, Ph.D.

Q: “About a month ago, the owner of our company removed me from my position as division manager and brought in an outside hire. Although ‘Jeff’ is clearly unqualified for the job, I am now reporting to him. Jeff does not understand our business, but he tries to impress the owner by asking for unnecessary reports and copying him on every email. I am becoming increasingly angry, because I do not feel that Jeff should be my boss. How can I convince the owner that this guy is basically worthless?” Fed Up

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Q: “I’m afraid I may have screwed up an interview for a really good job. Everything was fine until the recruiter asked ‘What do you do in your spare time?’ The question caught me off guard, because no interviewer has ever asked me that. I mentioned a couple of activities that are perfectly legitimate, but not as noble as volunteering at a soup kitchen. I was not offered the position, and I believe my ‘free time’ response was the reason. What do you think about this?”

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Q: “I work with a woman who is extremely nosy. ‘Shelly’ has read my email messages and looked at my cellphone to see who I am calling and texting. She has also tried to find out about medications that I am taking. Yesterday, I received roses at the office for my birthday, and Shelly actually opened the card to see who they were from. I want to do something about this invasion of privacy, but I don’t want to sound childish. What do you suggest?” Violated

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Q: “My team leader has started asking one of my co-workers to make changes to my projects. We are all software programmers, but we work on different products. Since I’m never told about these requests, the changes catch me off guard. When this started, I asked the team leader to keep me in the loop, but he hasn’t done that. How should I handle this?” Left Out

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Q: “Several months ago, half the people in our office were laid off, and the remaining hourly workers were cut from 40 hours to 32. The salaried employees had their pay reduced by 8% and assumed some of the hourly duties. As a salaried person, I am now doing more work for less pay. The owner said everyone would be affected by this downturn, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. I am extremely angry about this and tired of being abused.” Disgusted

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Q: “My boss told me to always be direct with him. However, he has been avoiding me ever since I made some very frank comments about a serious problem. I have left notes asking to speak with him, but he ignores them. I don’t understand how a manager can be so childish. What should I do?” Snubbed Employee

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Q: “The vice president of our group only works at this office in the afternoon. In the morning, when he’s not here, the sales engineer often goes to Starbucks for coffee. The vice president is a stickler about not wasting productive time, so I’m sure he would be outraged about this. I would be reprimanded if I left to run an errand, so I don’t see why the sales engineer has this privilege. Should I tell the vice president, or am I just being petty?” Stuck at My Desk

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Q: “One of my co-workers has absolutely no work ethic. ‘Carly’ comes in late every day and leaves right at quitting time. During work hours, she calls her family, texts her friends, shops online, surfs the Web, reads the paper and listens to ballgames on her computer. I have frequently talked to the office manager about Carly’s activities, but nothing seems to change. I should mention that Carly and I get along well and even socialize together outside of work. However, her office behavior is extremely irritating. Do you have any suggestions for dealing with this?” Frustrated

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Q: “I recently became the manager of a senior center, and ‘Sharon’ is my assistant manager. Although Sharon has a lot of experience, she never shares any information with me. She also picks and chooses the things she prefers to do. Whenever I’m out of the office, Sharon receives extra pay to serve as the acting manager, but she never performs any of my duties. She just sits at my desk and takes messages. I feel that when Sharon has down time, she should come and ask if I need help with anything. On several occasions, I have found her reading a novel or playing cards on her computer. How should I handle this situation?” Irritated Manager

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Q: “How do I keep an uninvited co-worker from joining my conversations? Whenever anyone stops to talk with me, the woman in the next cubicle interjects herself into our discussion. This is extremely annoying. Can I politely tell her to butt out without damaging our relationship?” No Privacy

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