Marie McIntyre, Ph. D, Your Office Coach

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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Q: “A few months ago, the small business where I work was sold. Everything was fine at first, but then the new owner moved me from the day shift to evenings and reduced my weekly schedule from 38 hours to 15. This guy clearly doesn’t like me, so the environment has become very unpleasant. Should I just give up and quit?” Cynthia

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Q: “Can you suggest a nice way to interrupt during a business conversation? For the past week, I have been meeting with vendors who hope to sell their products to our company. Some of these people spend a lot of time chatting or giving me unnecessary information. I am a polite and courteous person, but this is sending me over the edge. These incessant talkers are wasting time that I do not have. How do I get them to focus on the business at hand?” Trapped

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Q: “After our former boss was promoted, his ‘favorite’ became our supervisor. Gina avoids chatting and doesn’t even say good morning when she arrives. She just keeps her head down, walks straight to her desk and gets to work. If she does talk, she’s usually complaining about the other supervisors. I recently told my previous boss that I’m not optimistic about this management change. My former teammate cannot help me develop into the leader that I want to be. What should I do?” Discouraged

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Q: “My office will probably be closed by the company sometime next year. I would like to continue my career here, so I’m quite willing to relocate. However, I don’t know how to get the attention of anyone in corporate management. I have assisted several corporate employees with special projects, and I believe they would describe me as conscientious and reliable. I also have many ideas for streamlining processes and increasing efficiency. How can I find another position within the company?” Job in Jeopardy

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Q: “The mother of one of my employees recently called my boss to complain that her daughter, ’Sarah,’ was being overworked. Sarah was upset because some required training made it difficult for her to complete her regular duties, so I quickly resolved the problem by changing her training schedule. However, I was completely shocked that Sarah had been afraid to talk to me directly and that her mother felt a need to contact my manager. As Sarah’s supervisor, I feel I should have been given more respect. What should I do?” Bypassed

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Q: “I’m having a communication problem with a co-worker, ‘Angie,’ whose father owns our company. Angie repeatedly oversteps her bounds and tries to do my job. I had a direct talk with her in a kind and gentle tone, but this made her angry. When I tried to smooth over her feelings, she refused to speak and has avoided me ever since. I don’t see any way to fix our relationship as long as Angie is acting like a sulky child. The fact that her dad is the owner doesn’t help. We were great co-workers until this one little incident. What should I do?” Shut Out

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