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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:  “After my supervisor retired, I was promoted to fill his position. He had a special arrangement with one employee, allowing her to come in early and leave early. No one knew exactly what time she arrived. When the owner promoted me, he said I must put this woman on the same schedule as everyone else. However, I’m not sure how to approach her.  How can I fix this without losing the employee?”  —Caught in the Middle

Question:  “In my company, applications for promotion are not confidential. If I apply for a position in another department, human resources will send an automatic e-mail message to my boss. The policy also says that I must let her know if another manager invites me to interview. I have a degree in management and several years of supervisory experience, so I am interested in becoming a manager. Should I tell my boss that I plan to apply for jobs in other departments?" --  Looking for Promotion

Question:  “In my company, applications for promotion are not confidential. If I apply for a position in another department, human resources will send an automatic e-mail message to my boss. The policy also says that I must let her know if another manager invites me to interview. I have a degree in management and several years of supervisory experience, so I am interested in becoming a manager. Should I tell my boss that I plan to apply for jobs in other departments?" --  Looking for Promotion

Question: “The vice president of our department recently sent an email forbidding all conversation that is not directly related to work. If she finds someone in another person’s office, she says "What's going on here? I hope you’re talking about work!"  No other group has a rule like this. This woman has a longstanding reputation for being unreasonable. No one likes her except the CEO, but his opinion counts for a lot. We’ve thought about talking to the human resources manager. Is that a good idea?” — Afraid to Speak

Question: “The vice president of our department recently sent an email forbidding all conversation that is not directly related to work. If she finds someone in another person’s office, she says "What's going on here? I hope you’re talking about work!"  No other group has a rule like this. This woman has a longstanding reputation for being unreasonable. No one likes her except the CEO, but his opinion counts for a lot. We’ve thought about talking to the human resources manager. Is that a good idea?” — Afraid to Speak

Question:  “I am the public relations director for a group of radio stations. Out of the clear blue, we were bought by a wealthy television entrepreneur who has no experience in radio. I immediately e-mailed him a brief overview of my background, to which he replied in a positive and professional way.  However, I’m concerned about my future. Can you offer any suggestions for enhancing my visibility and promoting my importance with the new owner?” — Newly Acquired

Question:  “I am the public relations director for a group of radio stations. Out of the clear blue, we were bought by a wealthy television entrepreneur who has no experience in radio. I immediately e-mailed him a brief overview of my background, to which he replied in a positive and professional way.  However, I’m concerned about my future. Can you offer any suggestions for enhancing my visibility and promoting my importance with the new owner?” — Newly Acquired

Question: “I am a single mother raising two toddlers by myself. This is held against me at work, because no one else has this problem. My co-workers are all happily married or have grown children.  With no family available to help, I often have to take time off for medical appointments, illnesses and other child care issues. My boss says if this continues, he may have to find someone else for my position. I feel desperate because I love my job. How can I make these people understand?” —  Worried Mother

Question: “I am a single mother raising two toddlers by myself. This is held against me at work, because no one else has this problem. My co-workers are all happily married or have grown children.  With no family available to help, I often have to take time off for medical appointments, illnesses and other child care issues. My boss says if this continues, he may have to find someone else for my position. I feel desperate because I love my job. How can I make these people understand?” —  Worried Mother

Question:  “After making a career change, I am six weeks into a new job at a large health care company. I hope to be promoted to a specific position in the next three years. In trying to get ahead, I understand the importance of all the basic stuff, like good attendance, proper dress, meeting deadlines and so forth. But can you suggest any other smart moves for career-minded new employees?” — Climbing the Ladder

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