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: “I used to have the same salary as my male co-worker 'Chuck,' but I recently learned that he now makes more than I do. I have more work experience, but he gets more face time with our manager. Our boss is frequently in Chuck’s office discussing ordinary issues that everyone encounters. He seems to be her pet. In my area, I try to handle problems myself so as not to trouble her with them. Since we have exactly the same duties, I believe Chuck has been given more money simply because he’s a man. I love my job and don’t want to leave, but I feel this is wrong. What do you think is going on?”  —Sherry
Question: “I used to have the same salary as my male co-worker 'Chuck,' but I recently learned that he now makes more than I do. I have more work experience, but he gets more face time with our manager. Our boss is frequently in Chuck’s office discussing ordinary issues that everyone encounters. He seems to be her pet. In my area, I try to handle problems myself so as not to trouble her with them. Since we have exactly the same duties, I believe Chuck has been given more money simply because he’s a man. I love my job and don’t want to leave, but I feel this is wrong. What do you think is going on?”  —Sherry
Question:  “I am a professional, focused, detail-oriented employee who is often described as a “quiet person”.  Instead of seeing my calm reserve as an asset, my colleagues tend to criticize me for it.  One of my co-workers, who is also a good friend, is very outgoing and frequently outspoken.  Management recently named her the “point person” while our boss is out on medical leave, which means she will be supervising me. In my work, I am much more precise than she is. Also, I have worked here for 11 years, while she has been here only six. This betrayal has made me incredibly angry. I may not be as outgoing, but I am a better worker and have been here longer.  What should I do about this?”  —Betrayed & Bitter
Question:  “I am a professional, focused, detail-oriented employee who is often described as a “quiet person”.  Instead of seeing my calm reserve as an asset, my colleagues tend to criticize me for it.  One of my co-workers, who is also a good friend, is very outgoing and frequently outspoken.  Management recently named her the “point person” while our boss is out on medical leave, which means she will be supervising me. In my work, I am much more precise than she is. Also, I have worked here for 11 years, while she has been here only six. This betrayal has made me incredibly angry. I may not be as outgoing, but I am a better worker and have been here longer.  What should I do about this?”  —Betrayed & Bitter
Question:  “Every day, I have to work with a group of rude and catty women. They call me a tattletale, even though I’m not.  When I’m around, they make whispered remarks to each other.  I tried to fit in by chatting and having lunch with them, but that didn’t work. Now I’ve adopted the attitude of “speak only when spoken to.”  I limit my comments to “good morning” or “how is the weather?” Then I listen to my IPod all day. Although I like my work, I dread going to the office. The tension is taking a toll on me emotionally. Our manager is no help at all, and I can’t move to another position. What should I do?” — Hate My Coworkers
Question:  “Every day, I have to work with a group of rude and catty women. They call me a tattletale, even though I’m not.  When I’m around, they make whispered remarks to each other.  I tried to fit in by chatting and having lunch with them, but that didn’t work. Now I’ve adopted the attitude of “speak only when spoken to.”  I limit my comments to “good morning” or “how is the weather?” Then I listen to my IPod all day. Although I like my work, I dread going to the office. The tension is taking a toll on me emotionally. Our manager is no help at all, and I can’t move to another position. What should I do?” — Hate My Coworkers

Question: “I am sick of the job I’ve had for the past seven years. I’m planning to apply to other companies, but I’m not sure how to answer the question ‘Why do you want to leave your current position?’ I can’t say, ‘Because I hate my job.’ So how do I get around that?”  —Puzzled Job Seeker

Question: “I am sick of the job I’ve had for the past seven years. I’m planning to apply to other companies, but I’m not sure how to answer the question ‘Why do you want to leave your current position?’ I can’t say, ‘Because I hate my job.’ So how do I get around that?”  —Puzzled Job Seeker
Question: “One of my employees, 'Kristen' used to confide in me frequently about her personal life, but lately she’s stopped sharing any information at all. Although she assures me that nothing is wrong, she still doesn’t talk to me. She’s also stopped chatting with her coworkers, and she doesn’t smile and laugh like she used to. My other employees told me that she got upset when she overheard someone talking about her. Now I’ve learned from human resources that Kristen has inquired about a lateral transfer to another department.  I don’t want her to leave, but I also don’t want her attitude to infect the rest of my staff. Do you have any suggestions for getting her to open up?”  — Puzzled Manager
Question: “One of my employees, 'Kristen' used to confide in me frequently about her personal life, but lately she’s stopped sharing any information at all. Although she assures me that nothing is wrong, she still doesn’t talk to me. She’s also stopped chatting with her coworkers, and she doesn’t smile and laugh like she used to. My other employees told me that she got upset when she overheard someone talking about her. Now I’ve learned from human resources that Kristen has inquired about a lateral transfer to another department.  I don’t want her to leave, but I also don’t want her attitude to infect the rest of my staff. Do you have any suggestions for getting her to open up?”  — Puzzled Manager
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