Marie McIntyre, Ph.D.

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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Q: “My co-worker eats soup in his cubicle three times a day, despite the fact that office policy prohibits eating at your desk. This soup has a very strong, unpleasant odor, and on top of that, he repeatedly clanks his bowl to get every single drop. Our manager has sent everyone reminder emails about the policy, but this guy is still eating his soup. How do we get him to stop?” Holding My Nose

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Q: “My manager says she wants to help me get promoted, but she doesn’t seem to be doing anything about it. For the past two years, she has said that my position should be reclassified as an assistant director. However, our company requires assistant directors to have people reporting to them, and I don’t have any employees. When I first came to work here, I supervised five people, but now I’m in a program manager position which has no staff. If my boss truly cared about my advancement, I believe she would either get an exception made to the policy or reorganize to give me some employees. What can I do about this?” Held Back

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Q: “Our new regional manager was transferred here after being demoted from a higher-level position. This guy has no idea what our jobs involve and apparently doesn’t care. He seems to feel that cutting costs will help him return to the corporate ‘ivory tower,’ so he has started randomly reducing our work hours. Previously, schedules were posted two weeks in advance, but now they can change at a moment’s notice. Employees are frequently called at home and told not to come in the next day or instructed to leave as soon as they arrive at the office. Meanwhile, the work is piling up. How can we end this nightmare?” Frazzled

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Q: “On a recent employee opinion survey, my staff gave me a terrible rating on favoritism. I have no idea why they feel that I’m biased, since I try to be very consistent in applying policies and enforcing rules. I do have a closer connection with certain employees, because we share common interests, but no one receives any special treatment. What can I do about this?” Misunderstood Manager

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