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 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
Question: “I am a store manager in a fast-growing retail company. A few months ago, a new CEO was brought in to run our business. Since his arrival, the company seems to be headed in the wrong direction. However, the CEO apparently believes everything is fine and no mistakes are being made. I contacted our former president to discuss my concerns; he suggested I request a meeting with the CEO. But a colleague who works with the CEO said I’d better have a new job lined up if I plan to complain ..."
Question: “I am a store manager in a fast-growing retail company. A few months ago, a new CEO was brought in to run our business. Since his arrival, the company seems to be headed in the wrong direction. However, the CEO apparently believes everything is fine and no mistakes are being made. I contacted our former president to discuss my concerns; he suggested I request a meeting with the CEO. But a colleague who works with the CEO said I’d better have a new job lined up if I plan to complain ..."
Question: "My new job has been very disappointing. I was hired to write communication materials and help support the department, but I seem to have become my boss’s personal assistant..."
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