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: “‘Megan’ has started dressing exactly like me and even went to my eye doctor to get the same glasses. She always duplicates my order at lunch and has items similar to mine on her desk. Last week, I happened to meet someone who is friends with Megan. This complete stranger knew a lot about me because Megan apparently talks about me all the time. Should I be worried?" Uneasy

Q: “As part of my performance review, I have been asked to write a self-evaluation, which makes me very uncomfortable. For the past eight years, my manager has completed the appraisal form by himself, so this process is new to me. Since I tend to be very self-critical, how do I keep from sabotaging myself?” Apprehensive

Q: “I teach at an international school which employs people from several different countries. ‘Owen’ likes to create friction and is especially rude to our Asian staff members. Some good teachers have left because of Owen, yet no action is ever taken action against him. Whenever Owen is on vacation, we are like one big happy family. But as soon as he returns, the tension starts again. What can we do?” Fed Up

Q: “After being promoted and given a raise, I discovered that I was actually making less money. Because I am now an executive assistant, I have been reclassified from hourly to salaried. This means that I no longer receive overtime, so my take-home pay is less than before. How should I approach my manager about this?” Better Job, Less Money

Q: “Our team recently had a lot of problems while one person was on vacation. No one had been given responsibility for ‘Beth’s’ duties, so her calls were transferred to anyone who was available. Unfortunately, some of the calls were not handled well, and that’s when the finger-pointing started. Our supervisor is blaming the team for these problems, even though she never gave us any direction on how to handle the calls. What should we do now?” Blameless

Q: “Recently, my supervisor abruptly terminated one of my co-workers in front of me and another employee. She then asked the two of us to give her written summaries of what we had witnessed. After reading our reports, she told us to rewrite them based on her version of events, which is basically a lie. Lying is against my principles, so this is totally stressing me out.”  Honest Abe

Q: "My assistant, 'Amy,' is a brilliant manipulator. She claims to get along with everyone, but with me she is disrespectful, arrogant, and intimidating. To make matters worse, Amy has become friendly with my boss, so he thinks I’m exaggerating when I describe her behavior. What can I do?"  Hopeless

Q: “I just had a horrible performance review in which I was given thirty days to improve as a supervisor. If my boss would stop micromanaging, I feel sure that I could demonstrate better leadership skills. How can I get her to change her management style? I love this job and don’t want to lose it.”  Anxious

Q: “I recently learned that one of our new employees has a bad work history, but I’m not sure what to do about it. This woman was involved in embezzlement and fraud while working at a small retail store. She has access to petty cash and a company credit card. I don’t know whether I should talk with her myself or have my source call the company. What do you think?”  Concerned

Q: “My boss’s arrogant and pushy daughter is one of my co-workers. ‘Belinda’ orders us around and challenges anyone who disagrees. The biggest problem, however, is that she gets involved in other people’s work without asking permission or telling anyone. How can I stop her?” Helpless

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