Marie McIntyre, Ph. D, Your Office Coach

Question: “I am a single mother raising two toddlers by myself. This is held against me at work, because no one else has this problem. My co-workers are all happily married or have grown children.  With no family available to help, I often have to take time off for medical appointments, illnesses and other child care issues. My boss says if this continues, he may have to find someone else for my position. I feel desperate because I love my job. How can I make these people understand?” —  Worried Mother

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Question: “I’m not sure whether to trust one of my co-workers. ‘Amy’ is helpful and considerate to me. She provides useful information and makes friendly, encouraging comments. However, some co-workers say Amy stabs people in the back because she wants to climb the corporate ladder. If Amy really is a skillful manipulator, how do I avoid being hurt by her tactics, especially when management thinks so highly of her?”

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Question:  “After making a career change, I am six weeks into a new job at a large health care company. I hope to be promoted to a specific position in the next three years. In trying to get ahead, I understand the importance of all the basic stuff, like good attendance, proper dress, meeting deadlines and so forth. But can you suggest any other smart moves for career-minded new employees?” — Climbing the Ladder

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Question:  “After making a career change, I am six weeks into a new job at a large health care company. I hope to be promoted to a specific position in the next three years. In trying to get ahead, I understand the importance of all the basic stuff, like good attendance, proper dress, meeting deadlines and so forth. But can you suggest any other smart moves for career-minded new employees?” — Climbing the Ladder

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Question: “I was recently hired as a manager in a small family-owned business. I’m having problems with another manager who happens to be the son of our CEO. Last week, I gave the CEO some constructive criticism about her son’s performance, but she made it clear that critiquing him was a big mistake. I quickly got the message that her son can do no wrong and any discussion of his performance is off-limits. Now I feel that I can’t say anything about him, even though he’s my co-worker.  How can I deal with these frustrating family dynamics? — Not a Relative

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Question: “I was recently hired as a manager in a small family-owned business. I’m having problems with another manager who happens to be the son of our CEO. Last week, I gave the CEO some constructive criticism about her son’s performance, but she made it clear that critiquing him was a big mistake. I quickly got the message that her son can do no wrong and any discussion of his performance is off-limits. Now I feel that I can’t say anything about him, even though he’s my co-worker.  How can I deal with these frustrating family dynamics? — Not a Relative

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Question: "I realize this sounds like a Jerry Springer episode, but … My husband and I work in the same office. A new co-worker has been openly flirting with him. She hugs him, rubs his shoulders and is constantly touching him. And she frequently does this in my presence! I know it’s silly, but her behavior really bothers me. What should I do?" – Worried Wife

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Question: "I realize this sounds like a Jerry Springer episode, but … My husband and I work in the same office. A new co-worker has been openly flirting with him. She hugs him, rubs his shoulders and is constantly touching him. And she frequently does this in my presence! I know it’s silly, but her behavior really bothers me. What should I do?" – Worried Wife

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Question: “I work for a manager who thinks I can read her mind. She rushes up to my desk and says something like, ‘Did he come pick it up?’ Because I have no idea what she’s talking about, I ask what she means. Then she looks at me like I’m an idiot for not understanding. This happens all the time, and I’m starting to get really irritated. How do I deal with her weird communication pattern?”

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Question: “I’m not getting any decent salary offers during my search for a new job, so I need to figure out whether my expectations are reasonable. I do know that I’m being underpaid in my current position. I served in the military for several years and currently work for the federal government. Next year, I will complete my business administration degree.  Do you think I receive low offers because I have not yet obtained my degree or because I’m not marketing myself well?”  — Worth More Money

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