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Your Office Coach

This Starbucks drama invites tattling … but hold on

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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. I’m the receptionist, so I know when he leaves the building.

"The vice president is a stickler about not wasting productive time, so I’m sure he would be outraged if he knew about this. The sales engineer’s boss is aware of these trips and even asks the engineer to bring back coffee for him and the office manager.  

"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

A: Step back from your irritation for a moment and ask yourself this question: Would ratting out the coffee hounds help your own career? Or might it have the opposite effect?

Keep in mind that the sales engineer is not only getting his own coffee, but feeding the habit of two managers as well. If you come between them and their special brew, they will not view you kindly. Making enemies in management is not usually a wise political move.

You should also consider that different jobs have different requirements. Because sales employees often have to work odd hours or be on call for customers, they are frequently given more flexibility. A good receptionist, on the other hand, must always be present to greet visitors.

Tattling on your caffeinated colleagues will only make you seem like a hall monitor, so my advice is to just let this go. And if you would like some refreshment yourself, simply place an order with the sales engineer.

Do you find yourself dealing with petty conflicts on your team? If so, that could be a bad sign. Here are a few others - Seven Signs that Your Team Will Fail.

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