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 work for a boss who is physically abusive. He’s never touched me, but I’ve seen him snap other female employees with rubber bands, leaving a bruise. He likes to punch the male employees and hit them in the head. He says he’s just “playing around.” “Barbara,” the owner of our small company, works closely with this man and relies on him a lot. However, she has no idea about his abusive behavior. I’ve started documenting his actions, but I don’t know how to tell Barbara. — Fearful
Question:  “I work for a boss who is physically abusive. He’s never touched me, but I’ve seen him snap other female employees with rubber bands, leaving a bruise. He likes to punch the male employees and hit them in the head. He says he’s just “playing around.” “Barbara,” the owner of our small company, works closely with this man and relies on him a lot. However, she has no idea about his abusive behavior. I’ve started documenting his actions, but I don’t know how to tell Barbara. — Fearful
Question: “Because of some recent accomplishments, I received a letter of recognition from the vice president of sales in our corporate office. The recognition was extremely motivating, but my name was spelled wrong on the letter. When I brought this to my immediate supervisor's attention, she said she would forward the letter to the VP and have it corrected.  That was a month ago, and I’ve heard nothing further about it. This letter would be very helpful in future job interviews, but not if it has the wrong name. Do you think I should bypass my manager, go straight to the VP and tell her she messed up and to fix it?” — Insulted
Question: “Because of some recent accomplishments, I received a letter of recognition from the vice president of sales in our corporate office. The recognition was extremely motivating, but my name was spelled wrong on the letter. When I brought this to my immediate supervisor's attention, she said she would forward the letter to the VP and have it corrected.  That was a month ago, and I’ve heard nothing further about it. This letter would be very helpful in future job interviews, but not if it has the wrong name. Do you think I should bypass my manager, go straight to the VP and tell her she messed up and to fix it?” — Insulted
Question: “I recently left a very toxic workplace. I never again want to work in such a fearful, backbiting culture. Next time, how can I make sure that I’m entering a healthy work environment?  Should I ask to take a tour or interview some co-workers?” — Cautious
Question: “I recently left a very toxic workplace. I never again want to work in such a fearful, backbiting culture. Next time, how can I make sure that I’m entering a healthy work environment?  Should I ask to take a tour or interview some co-workers?” — Cautious
Question: “I am a married woman who has fallen in love with my boss. He is also married with kids.  For about a year, we’ve been fighting a strong attraction for each other. Although we have tried to be professional and disregard these feelings, the mutual attraction is hard to ignore. We work together very closely, which makes things even more difficult. What can we do to put this behind us and move on with our lives?” — Lovesick
Question: “I am a married woman who has fallen in love with my boss. He is also married with kids.  For about a year, we’ve been fighting a strong attraction for each other. Although we have tried to be professional and disregard these feelings, the mutual attraction is hard to ignore. We work together very closely, which makes things even more difficult. What can we do to put this behind us and move on with our lives?” — Lovesick
Question:  “When my boss gives me a project, he never shares all the information that resides in his head, so I often fail to achieve his vision of the final results. Then I have to redo tasks that were already completed. If I try to get information in advance, he will never give it to me in an orderly manner. I’ve started e-mailing my questions with bullet points, so he can type the answers underneath. “Mr. Visionary” says he wants me to think outside the box, but I believe he really expects me to read his mind. How can I work with this person?” — Going Crazy
Question:  “When my boss gives me a project, he never shares all the information that resides in his head, so I often fail to achieve his vision of the final results. Then I have to redo tasks that were already completed. If I try to get information in advance, he will never give it to me in an orderly manner. I’ve started e-mailing my questions with bullet points, so he can type the answers underneath. “Mr. Visionary” says he wants me to think outside the box, but I believe he really expects me to read his mind. How can I work with this person?” — Going Crazy
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