Your Office Coach

Each Wednesday, nationally syndicated workplace columnist Marie G. McIntyre, Ph. D., answers your “in the trenches” workplace questions on everything from team-building to getting a raise to dealing with difficult people.

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Question: “Because I used to work in human resources, co-workers often come to me to vent. Now my manager says someone has complained about the amount of time that people spend chatting in my office. He said that he doesn't blame me for this and that it isn’t hurting my work. However, he has asked me to start telling people 'my boss wants us to stop chatting.'  I don’t feel that it’s my place to deliver this message, especially since my job performance isn’t suffering. Shouldn’t the other managers tell their employees to talk less?” —Not My Fault
Question: “In addition to doing annual employee reviews, our company requires employees to provide a review of their boss. Since my current manager took over our department a year ago, she has created a very negative environment for everyone. My manager’s boss recently sent me an email asking for feedback about her, and I don’t know what to do. Is there a correct way to give your boss a bad review?” — Afraid to Speak Up
Question: “In addition to doing annual employee reviews, our company requires employees to provide a review of their boss. Since my current manager took over our department a year ago, she has created a very negative environment for everyone. My manager’s boss recently sent me an email asking for feedback about her, and I don’t know what to do. Is there a correct way to give your boss a bad review?” — Afraid to Speak Up
Question: “I have a small sales agency with only two employees. Both have been with me for more than ten years.  Last week, I learned that our agency had qualified for a substantial bonus, which I decided to share with the staff.  As they left on Friday, I gave each one a check worth about three months’ pay. I was disappointed when neither one called over the weekend to thank me.  Do I have a right to feel hurt or am I taking this too personally?"  —Ignored Manager
Question: “I have a small sales agency with only two employees. Both have been with me for more than ten years.  Last week, I learned that our agency had qualified for a substantial bonus, which I decided to share with the staff.  As they left on Friday, I gave each one a check worth about three months’ pay. I was disappointed when neither one called over the weekend to thank me.  Do I have a right to feel hurt or am I taking this too personally?"  —Ignored Manager
Question:  “When I was turned down for a job recently, I was told that another applicant was more qualified. I feel that I was perfect for the position and I don’t see how anyone could have better qualifications. Is it acceptable to ask why I was 'not qualified'”?  — Puzzled Applicant
Question:  “When I was turned down for a job recently, I was told that another applicant was more qualified. I feel that I was perfect for the position and I don’t see how anyone could have better qualifications. Is it acceptable to ask why I was 'not qualified'”?  — Puzzled Applicant
Question: “I work closely with a young woman who is a complete drama queen. Every day, without fail, she has to tell me about some new issue in her life. She is constantly on the phone with her children or extended family. This is driving me crazy. Do you have any suggestions for saving my sanity without jumping out a window or putting this woman in a choke hold?  I have complained to my manager, who encourages me to vent in her office whenever I get too frustrated.” —Had Enough
Question: “I work closely with a young woman who is a complete drama queen. Every day, without fail, she has to tell me about some new issue in her life. She is constantly on the phone with her children or extended family. This is driving me crazy. Do you have any suggestions for saving my sanity without jumping out a window or putting this woman in a choke hold?  I have complained to my manager, who encourages me to vent in her office whenever I get too frustrated.” —Had Enough
Question:  “Employees in our small company have been told that we will get no raises because sales have dropped off. However, the three owners keep spending money like there’s no tomorrow. These men drive company cars costing over $100,000 apiece, take their wives and girlfriends to Europe at company expense, and pay big bucks for a VIP box at the stadium.  They also charge their kids’ cell phones and computers to the business. They tell us to cut back, yet they keep flaunting their spending.  Do they think we won’t notice the double standard?  No money for us, but plenty for them. Most employees think the owners are lying about low sales to avoid giving raises. Can we do anything to stop this or should we just leave?”  —Offended Workers
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