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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Q: "Until two weeks ago, I had a nice working relationship with “Kate,” my administrative assistant. Then she suddenly stopped talking to me. Now she will only ask necessary business questions. She is fine with everyone else in the office, but won’t even look at me."
Question: “As a salesperson, I have tremendous talent and can run circles around almost anyone.  But about two months ago, I started a job where my abilities don’t seem to be appreciated. My manager feels the need to comment constantly on whatever I’m doing. He accuses me of thinking I know everything. He also says he can’t talk to me because I’m defensive ...
Question: “As a salesperson, I have tremendous talent and can run circles around almost anyone.  But about two months ago, I started a job where my abilities don’t seem to be appreciated. My manager feels the need to comment constantly on whatever I’m doing. He accuses me of thinking I know everything. He also says he can’t talk to me because I’m defensive ...
Question: “I am in a very strange situation. When I was recruited by this company, I was told I would be reporting to the vice president. But when I started work, the VP said that I would report to one of his Directors instead...
Question: “I am in a very strange situation. When I was recruited by this company, I was told I would be reporting to the vice president. But when I started work, the VP said that I would report to one of his Directors instead...
Question: “Last year, our company celebrated the holiday season at a bar near our office building.  This event was basically an “alcohol fest” that began after work and continued late into the evening. I never drink alcohol because my father died of alcoholism. Also, I really don’t care for the taste. However, I’ve found that when I decline a drink, people regard me as strange. Sometimes they become insistent and insulting, saying things like “What’s wrong with you?” or “Are you in recovery?”  Apparently, I am the only person in this entire group who doesn’t drink. It hurts to be called an oddball, so I’d like to be less conspicuous.  I was a new employee at last year’s party, but this time I want to be prepared.” —Abstainer
Question: “Last year, our company celebrated the holiday season at a bar near our office building.  This event was basically an “alcohol fest” that began after work and continued late into the evening. I never drink alcohol because my father died of alcoholism. Also, I really don’t care for the taste. However, I’ve found that when I decline a drink, people regard me as strange. Sometimes they become insistent and insulting, saying things like “What’s wrong with you?” or “Are you in recovery?”  Apparently, I am the only person in this entire group who doesn’t drink. It hurts to be called an oddball, so I’d like to be less conspicuous.  I was a new employee at last year’s party, but this time I want to be prepared.” —Abstainer
Question: “I sit next to a woman who spends a good portion of her day typing e-mails to friends and co-workers.  Sometimes these messages are a page long. This person and I have a history of communication issues. Our supervisor even said that our problems have been a distraction for the team. The relationship seems somewhat better now, so I don’t want to rock the boat. But she keeps typing, typing, typing, and it’s getting a little irritating.  How do I handle the sound of this typing all day long, especially when I’m trying to concentrate on my work?” —  Tired of the Sound
Question: “I sit next to a woman who spends a good portion of her day typing e-mails to friends and co-workers.  Sometimes these messages are a page long. This person and I have a history of communication issues. Our supervisor even said that our problems have been a distraction for the team. The relationship seems somewhat better now, so I don’t want to rock the boat. But she keeps typing, typing, typing, and it’s getting a little irritating.  How do I handle the sound of this typing all day long, especially when I’m trying to concentrate on my work?” —  Tired of the Sound
Qustion: “My boss hired her daughter, “Tammy”, to work part-time in the business. Before that, I was her only employee. Tammy is arrogant, foul-mouthed and a know-it-all. She spends most of the day surfing the Internet and texting her friends. Although she is supposed to help with office work, Tammy won’t even answer the phone. She does exactly what the boss tells her to do and nothing more. I recently discovered that she is being paid almost as much as I am, which is extremely insulting. My boss had told me she was making much less. I doubt that any criticism of the daughter would be well-received, so I don’t know how to address this issue without creating hard feelings. Until this happened, I really loved my job.  What should I do?” — Resentful
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