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: “After working as an administrative assistant in human resources for fifteen years, I recently transferred into the finance department. The two co-workers assigned to do my training have completely ignored me. The vice president’s executive assistant makes negative remarks about everyone and has an inflated sense of her own importance. These women seem to enjoy making others feel bad, and I believe they are threatened by my knowledge and experience. How should I handle this?” Unwelcome Employee

Q: “My manager and I are concerned about one of my long-term employees who has a very negative attitude. ‘Jerry’ has been here for more than twenty years, but has not been promoted because of his job performance. He sometimes lets his resentment about this come to the surface. We recently got a new department head, and Jerry is having trouble adjusting to the change in management style. He doesn’t seem to understand that his poor attitude is going to cause him problems with the new boss. What can we do to help him?” Worried Supervisor

Q: “I work with a woman who seems unwilling to learn anything on her own. About twelve months ago, ‘Tanya’ transferred back into our department after being gone for five years. Although we are now using completely different software, she refuses to take classes or consult the manual. Tanya constantly asks me to help her and often wants to copy my work. She shows no interest in the online training that I have suggested. Her endless requests are driving me crazy. What should I do?” Not a Teacher

Q: "I recently learned through the grapevine that an account manager who is assigned to work with me has said he would much rather work with someone else. Supposedly, he feels this other person is a lot more professional. Now my supervisor says that I’m being reassigned to a different group of accounts. If the account manager had problems with me, I wish he would have talked to me directly. I assume this means the writing is on the wall, so I have begun to look for other employment opportunities. I would like to leave gracefully, but I also want to tell someone what this individual said about me. Is that a good idea?"  Dazed & Confused

Q: “After two days at my new job, I have not yet signed a payroll form or been told about my work hours. This is a small family business which has been quite successful, but seems very disorganized. I have made two appointments with the owners to discuss my schedule, but they forgot both times. Is this a bad sign?” Worried Newcomer

Q: “Last week, one of my co-workers handed me my annual performance appraisal and said my boss wanted me to sign it. When I saw that he had given me a below-average rating, I felt really hurt. I told my co-worker that I would not sign the form because I did not understand the reasons for my rating. Apparently, my manager doesn’t think I’m important enough to spend five minutes explaining it to me. Do I have a right to be angry about this?” Offended

Q: “The woman whose desk is next to mine is pals with our network administrator, who supposedly likes to read every email that comes into the company. I recently figured out that these two have been reading my personal email whenever I access my account at work. Even more alarming, they apparently tried to log in to my online banking. What can I do about this?” Harassed

Q: “I seem to be experiencing an increase in responsibility without any change in title or pay. I work for a large healthcare company which is headquartered in another state. In addition to myself, our office includes a part-time assistant and a newly-hired employee. Although the new employee and I have the same title, our boss has made me the lead person in the office. He expects me to coordinate communications and ensure that everything runs smoothly. We will soon be hiring another person, making me responsible for three employees. This would seem to warrant a promotion, but I’m not sure how to broach the subject.” Hesitant 

Q: "My co-worker, ‘Angie,’ sent me a seething email saying that I talk about teamwork, but don’t act like a team player. This was a completely unexpected slam against me. I told our manager, and he spoke to Angie about it, but nothing else was done. Now, whenever I encounter Angie anywhere in the building, she immediately turns around and walks the other way. My boss says, ‘That’s just the way she is,’ but Angie doesn't seem to act like this with anyone else. She doesn’t have to like me, but we do have to work together, so I can’t take much more of this." Ignored

Q: “Two years ago, my immediate boss, with whom I had a great relationship, was forced to resign. Shortly thereafter, I had a serious conflict with a colleague who was extremely close to our department vice president. After that incident, my career went downhill, although I had previously received high performance ratings and a promotion. I began to look for another job, but the economy took a nosedive and my wife was diagnosed with cancer, so leaving was completely out of the question. Now my wife is well again, and the economy has improved. But after having my self-esteem pounded on a daily basis, I no longer feel confident that anyone will hire me. Can you offer any advice?” Hopeless

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