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:  “In our company, employees never receive raises. We only get quarterly bonuses for meeting specific goals. Although the CEO says "we couldn't do it without you," he makes no effort to improve our salaries. This job provides valuable experience in a profession that I love, so I hate to think about leaving. I really enjoy my work, my co-workers and the relaxed environment. On the other hand, my pay is still very low after two years. Any advice?” — Worth More

Question:  “In our company, employees never receive raises. We only get quarterly bonuses for meeting specific goals. Although the CEO says "we couldn't do it without you," he makes no effort to improve our salaries. This job provides valuable experience in a profession that I love, so I hate to think about leaving. I really enjoy my work, my co-workers and the relaxed environment. On the other hand, my pay is still very low after two years. Any advice?” — Worth More

Question:  "Although I’m viewed positively at work, I believe my reserved demeanor is holding me back. I’m not shy, but I have trouble making small talk. In meetings, I give input whenever I’m asked, but seldom volunteer information. As a result, I’ve been labeled a quiet person. Although I prefer working alone at my computer, I know that won’t get me where I want to go. Can you suggest some communication strategies for meetings and social situations?" -- Not a Talker

Question:  "Although I’m viewed positively at work, I believe my reserved demeanor is holding me back. I’m not shy, but I have trouble making small talk. In meetings, I give input whenever I’m asked, but seldom volunteer information. As a result, I’ve been labeled a quiet person. Although I prefer working alone at my computer, I know that won’t get me where I want to go. Can you suggest some communication strategies for meetings and social situations?" -- Not a Talker

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:  “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

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