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 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
Question: “After many years in the medical field, I suffered an injury that forced me to stop working with patients. I moved into an office job handling insurance claims. I was given three weeks of training and told that I would have time to “fit into the job comfortably.”  However, at the end of my 90-day probationary period, I received a terrible evaluation. This has never happened to me before. My supervisor apparently has documented all the times that I required assistance. I viewed this as learning, but she views it as an inability to do the work. I now have two weeks to improve or be fired. This seems unreasonable, but I like this job and want to keep it. What do you suggest?” — Afraid of Failing
Question: “After many years in the medical field, I suffered an injury that forced me to stop working with patients. I moved into an office job handling insurance claims. I was given three weeks of training and told that I would have time to “fit into the job comfortably.”  However, at the end of my 90-day probationary period, I received a terrible evaluation. This has never happened to me before. My supervisor apparently has documented all the times that I required assistance. I viewed this as learning, but she views it as an inability to do the work. I now have two weeks to improve or be fired. This seems unreasonable, but I like this job and want to keep it. What do you suggest?” — Afraid of Failing
Question:  “Our store manager and assistant manager recently ended an extramarital affair after the assistant’s wife discovered it. Everyone at work had been aware of the relationship for quite awhile.  Although they’ve agreed to stop seeing each other, the situation is still very uncomfortable. Our regional boss just wants the whole thing to go away. Sales have improved since these two started working together, so he doesn’t want to transfer either of them out. We’ve been told that any employee caught gossiping about the affair could be terminated. The assistant’s wife is furious that management won't force a transfer, but she doesn't feel that she can speak up. I would like to contact human resources on her behalf, but I’m afraid of getting in trouble. What should I do?” — Disturbed
Question:  “Our store manager and assistant manager recently ended an extramarital affair after the assistant’s wife discovered it. Everyone at work had been aware of the relationship for quite awhile.  Although they’ve agreed to stop seeing each other, the situation is still very uncomfortable. Our regional boss just wants the whole thing to go away. Sales have improved since these two started working together, so he doesn’t want to transfer either of them out. We’ve been told that any employee caught gossiping about the affair could be terminated. The assistant’s wife is furious that management won't force a transfer, but she doesn't feel that she can speak up. I would like to contact human resources on her behalf, but I’m afraid of getting in trouble. What should I do?” — Disturbed
Question:  “I sit near a human resources employee who talks very loudly on the phone. She gossips about confidential personnel matters, such as the amount of someone’s bonus check or which employees are being pursued by collection agencies. Everyone in the group can hear her, even if we try not to listen. We are all afraid to go to her boss, because they are good friends. What can we do?” —Concerned
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