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 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
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
Question: ‘In my company, the only way to get a decent raise is to be promoted, so I decided to apply for a management job. I expected to receive the same salary as my friend, who has a similar position with another team.  When I got the promotion, my new boss didn’t say how much my raise would be. However, he asked me to commit to staying in his department.  I told him I would stay as long as the money was right. It turns out that I not only make less than my friend, but I also work about 50% more hours. This promotion has been bad for my health, my family, and the quality of my work.  At this point, even a huge raise would not make me happy. I want to transfer to a different department, but I am not sure how to go about it.” — Underpaid & Overworked
Question: ‘In my company, the only way to get a decent raise is to be promoted, so I decided to apply for a management job. I expected to receive the same salary as my friend, who has a similar position with another team.  When I got the promotion, my new boss didn’t say how much my raise would be. However, he asked me to commit to staying in his department.  I told him I would stay as long as the money was right. It turns out that I not only make less than my friend, but I also work about 50% more hours. This promotion has been bad for my health, my family, and the quality of my work.  At this point, even a huge raise would not make me happy. I want to transfer to a different department, but I am not sure how to go about it.” — Underpaid & Overworked
Question: “My manager encouraged me to apply for a promotion to senior accountant. Unfortunately, after I submitted my résumé, the position was changed to one with supervisory duties.  Although I was one of four finalists, the job went to an outside candidate. I feel that I was set up to fail. Now, much to my dismay, I’m expected to train my new supervisor when he starts work.  At the same time, I am single-handedly running a critical project and also training another employee. I feel that management is taking advantage of me, so I have begun to look for another job. Am I wrong to resent this situation?” — Fed Up
Question: “My manager encouraged me to apply for a promotion to senior accountant. Unfortunately, after I submitted my résumé, the position was changed to one with supervisory duties.  Although I was one of four finalists, the job went to an outside candidate. I feel that I was set up to fail. Now, much to my dismay, I’m expected to train my new supervisor when he starts work.  At the same time, I am single-handedly running a critical project and also training another employee. I feel that management is taking advantage of me, so I have begun to look for another job. Am I wrong to resent this situation?” — Fed Up
Question:  “I often feel like an outsider in my office.  I am 61 years old, slightly overweight, and have gray hair. All my co-workers are in their 20’s and 30’s. The whole group goes out for “happy hour” once every six weeks. My boss’s boss came up with this idea, and he always attends. I usually avoid these get-togethers, because I don’t feel comfortable with the youngsters. Recently, a good friend said that this is a mistake. She believes my colleagues and managers will think that I’m snubbing them. I had a pretty good time at one happy hour, but I’ve skipped the last two.  Do you think I should start going?” — Old & Gray
Question:  “I often feel like an outsider in my office.  I am 61 years old, slightly overweight, and have gray hair. All my co-workers are in their 20’s and 30’s. The whole group goes out for “happy hour” once every six weeks. My boss’s boss came up with this idea, and he always attends. I usually avoid these get-togethers, because I don’t feel comfortable with the youngsters. Recently, a good friend said that this is a mistake. She believes my colleagues and managers will think that I’m snubbing them. I had a pretty good time at one happy hour, but I’ve skipped the last two.  Do you think I should start going?” — Old & Gray
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