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Your Office Coach

A sudden plunge into a backwards department–is there a way out?

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Q: “After working as an administrative assistant in human resources for fifteen years, I recently transferred into the finance department. I thought that changing jobs in the same company would be easy, but was I wrong!

“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. If I mention my previous department, she says, ‘I don’t care what you did over there, because we do things differently here.’

“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

A: Even within the same company, different departments often have very dissimilar cultures. Unfortunately, as you have learned, they can also become territorial and competitive.

Along with the apparent departmental rivalry, you are also dealing with some extremely childish adults. Co-workers who greet newcomers with hostility and Queen Bee assistants who bask in the reflected power of their boss are not exactly role models for maturity.

To avoid antagonizing these juvenile colleagues, steer clear of pointless power struggles and stupid arguments. Just remain friendly, focus on your tasks, and don’t say much about your previous position. If this place continues to feel like a kindergarten, you can always apply for another transfer.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of annoying people in the workplace. Here's how to deal with some of them: How to Manage Your Boss.

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