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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Q: "My office will probably be closed by the company sometime next year. I would like to continue my career here, so I’m quite willing to relocate. However, I don’t know how to get the attention of anyone in corporate management. I have assisted several corporate employees with special projects, and I believe they would describe me as conscientious and reliable. I also have many ideas for streamlining processes and increasing efficiency. How can I find another position within the company?" Job in Jeopardy

Q: “Several months ago, half the people in our office were laid off, and the remaining hourly workers were cut from 40 hours to 32. The salaried employees had their pay reduced by 8% and assumed some of the hourly duties. As a salaried person, I am now doing more work for less pay. The owner said everyone would be affected by this downturn, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. I am extremely angry about this and tired of being abused.” Disgusted

Q: “My boss told me to always be direct with him. However, he has been avoiding me ever since I made some very frank comments about a serious problem. I have left notes asking to speak with him, but he ignores them. I don’t understand how a manager can be so childish. What should I do?” Snubbed Employee

Q: "The vice president of our group only works at this office in the afternoon. In the morning, when he’s not here, the sales engineer often goes to Starbucks for coffee. The vice president is a stickler about not wasting productive time, so I’m sure he would be outraged about this. I would be reprimanded if I left to run an errand, so I don’t see why the sales engineer has this privilege. Should I tell the vice president, or am I just being petty?" Stuck at My Desk

Q: "One of my co-workers has absolutely no work ethic. 'Carly' comes in late every day and leaves right at quitting time. During work hours, she calls her family, texts her friends, shops online, surfs the Web, reads the paper and listens to ballgames on her computer. I have frequently talked to the office manager about Carly’s activities, but nothing seems to change. I should mention that Carly and I get along well and even socialize together outside of work. However, her office behavior is extremely irritating. Do you have any suggestions for dealing with this?" Frustrated

Q: “An obnoxious co-worker was recently made the working supervisor of our nursing unit. In addition to being loud and slow, 'Ellen' is not as knowledgeable as she pretends to be. A few of her patients have asked for a different nurse. My problem is that while Ellen is in her learning curve, the rest of us have to pick up the slack and correct her mistakes. Every day, I tell myself that I won’t let Ellen get to me, but then she says something stupid, and I go crazy. I really loved my work before this woman was promoted. What should I do about this?” Dedicated Nurse

Q: "I recently became the manager of a senior center, and ‘Sharon’ is my assistant manager. Although Sharon has a lot of experience, she never shares any information with me. She also picks and chooses the things she prefers to do. Whenever I’m out of the office, Sharon receives extra pay to serve as the acting manager, but she never performs any of my duties. She just sits at my desk and takes messages. I feel that when Sharon has down time, she should come and ask if I need help with anything. On several occasions, I have found her reading a novel or playing cards on her computer. How should I handle this situation?" Irritated Manager

Q: “How do I keep an uninvited co-worker from joining my conversations? Whenever anyone stops to talk with me, the woman in the next cubicle interjects herself into our discussion. This is extremely annoying. Can I politely tell her to butt out without damaging our relationship?” No Privacy

Q: “For the past five years, I have worked as a reporter for a daily newspaper. My manager corrects my work in front of others and will sometimes intercept my stories to keep them from being published. He never includes my writing in submissions for national contests. He often talks to me about ‘doing things right’ and has recently taken away some of my responsibilities. This man has been with the company for 25 years and no matter what he does, the publisher backs him all the way. Do I have to take this kind of treatment?” Discouraged

Q: “Our new Executive Director wants to change my job title from ‘communications director’ to ‘communications manager.’ I don’t believe the title of ‘manager’ accurately reflects the complexity of my work. When I meet with my boss to discuss this issue, I plan to show him my current job description and explain how my work is instrumental to achieving his vision for the company. Do you have any other suggestions?” More than a Manager

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