Marie McIntyre, Ph. D, Your Office Coach

Question:
“I was recently let go from my position as a Division Manager. I’ve
never been fired before, so this is a new situation for me. I need to start
looking for work soon, and I’m not sure how to discuss my unemployment in an
interview.  Since I’m in my late 40s, saying that I wanted to take time off to
travel would sound funny.  Do you have any suggestions?” — Middle Age
Job-Seeker

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Question:
“My team recently got a new boss who is very green as a manager. Although
I have 20 years’ experience, she makes it abundantly clear that she feels
superior to me in every way. She talks incessantly about her credentials and all
the ‘important’ tasks she has been given.  I find her condescending,
unapproachable and inflexible. Staff meetings have become a painful experience
because they accomplish nothing.  Our new boss will not discuss projects in
detail nor take any direction from ‘subordinates.’  I have known her manager for
a long time and have a good relationship with him.  He’s a fair guy, and he
respects my opinion. Should I tell him how I feel about my new boss?” — The
Underling

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Question:
“I have worked with another manager for a long time. Until recently, we
got along just fine, but now ‘Sharon’ seems upset and angry with me. A few weeks
ago, an employee complained to me about a member of Sharon’s staff.  I had a
friendly chat with Sharon’s staff member to pass along the feedback. Initially,
he was defensive, but then he corrected the problem. Now, Sharon is giving me
grief about my conversation with him. I was simply trying to be helpful and
‘keep things small.’  What should I have done differently?”
Dumbfounded

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Question: “After only five days in my new
management job, my boss says I’m changing things too fast and need to slow down.
But I haven’t changed anything. I’ve just been asking a lot of questions, yet
people still seem upset with me. This is a small company, and they’ve never had
a manager in this department. The company hired me to implement new policies and
procedures. I’m confused about how to handle this situation. What should I do?”
Ready to Take
Over

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Question:
“Our department head refuses to allow telecommuting. He will not accept
that people can work productively at home even though other department heads
occasionally permit it. My commute is an hour each way, so eliminating drive
time one or two days a week would greatly improve my quality of life. My
immediate supervisor favors the idea, but she knows the department head won’t
approve it, and if he does it for me, he’ll have to do it for everyone. I would
like to offer myself as a telecommuting test case. How should I present the
idea?” — Tired of Driving

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Question: 
“Our new department head makes many inappropriate comments. For example,
he told a co-worker that because I’m really old, he doesn’t know how I will fit
into his future plans. Later, he directly asked me if I was thinking of
retiring. I’m 53 and have worked here for 21 years. The thought of retirement
has never crossed my mind. Another incident occurred when a young co-worker and
I were laughing about something. The boss said that we got along very well
considering our age difference. He also makes comments to women about their
anatomy or weight. Everyone finds his remarks offensive. He’s our top manager,
so what can we do?” — Insulted

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Question:
“My boss is promoting me to supervisor, but several co-workers are
unhappy about it. Ever since he told them, a few people have been very nasty to
me. None of these co-workers showed any interest in the position, yet they now
find fault with everything I do. I feel like I’m under a microscope. I don’t go
to work every day to make friends. My goal is to do a good job and earn a
living. After I’m promoted, should I talk to these people about their behavior
or should I act like it never happened?  How do I squash this jealousy and nip
this behavior in the bud?” — New Supervisor

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Question: “My boss hired his ‘good friend’
as a top-level manager. This woman has no qualifications for the job, and she’s
making costly mistakes.  She also pawns her work off on others and treats
everyone rudely. We’ve tried talking to the boss about this woman’s inexperience
and offensive behavior, but he refuses to listen.  Some long-term employees are
considering leaving.  How can we explain this without putting our jobs on the
line? This woman’s behavior has had a major impact on our work and may do
long-term damage to the company.” – Afraid to Speak Up

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