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Marie McIntyre, Ph.D.

Q: “If a person is fired because of their attitude or behavior, what can they do to keep this from happening again when they get a new job?” Christine

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Q: “After a recent meeting, my boss called me into his office and slammed the door. He got right in my face, backed me against the wall, and said, ‘Don’t ever make another comment like the one you just made in that meeting!’ When I stated that I was only expressing my personal opinion on a business issue, he shook his finger at me and repeated ‘Don’t ever, ever do that again!’ His anger scared me, so I left quickly. Nothing like this has ever happened before. Do you think I should discuss this with my boss or just report him to Human Resources?”  Confused

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Question: “We have a boss who doesn’t act like a boss. Although he listens to our suggestions, he never follows through with them. He seems hesitant to involve upper management in any issue. This is driving us crazy, so your advice would be appreciated.”  Frustrated Employees

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Q: “Our company has a dress code, but you’d never know it from looking at our employees. Many of them come to work wearing old clothes that are sloppy and baggy. Prospective customers often visit this office for product demonstrations, so I have said many times that everyone must dress in a professional manner. The offenders reply that if I expect them to look better, I need to give them more money. How do I deal with this attitude?” Irritated Manager

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Q: “About seven years ago, I worked part time at an after-school daycare program. My employment was terminated after I complained to a parent about her child’s unruly behavior. I have recently heard that the daycare company now claims I never worked there. If I list this job on applications, I’m afraid employers may think I’m lying about my work history. I could show my old pay stubs as proof during an interview, but how do I avoid being screened out during the application process?” Erased

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Q: “After my manager resigned, I began reporting directly to the vice president of our department. For the past few months, she has praised my outstanding performance and frequently asked for my advice. A few weeks ago, she hired a new manager who is likely to become my boss. She is now consulting him instead of me. I have also been removed from the weekly meetings. No one has told me what’s going on, so I’m becoming concerned about my future. Does this situation sound normal?” On the Outside

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Q: “A few months ago, the small business where I work was sold. Everything was fine at first, but then the new owner moved me from the day shift to evenings and reduced my weekly schedule from 38 hours to 15. This guy clearly doesn’t like me, so the environment has become very unpleasant. Should I just give up and quit?” Cynthia

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Q: “Can you suggest a nice way to interrupt during a business conversation? For the past week, I have been meeting with vendors who hope to sell their products to our company. Some of these people spend a lot of time chatting or giving me unnecessary information. I am a polite and courteous person, but this is sending me over the edge. These incessant talkers are wasting time that I do not have. How do I get them to focus on the business at hand?” Trapped

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Q: “After our former boss was promoted, his ‘favorite’ became our supervisor. Gina avoids chatting and doesn’t even say good morning when she arrives. She just keeps her head down, walks straight to her desk and gets to work. If she does talk, she’s usually complaining about the other supervisors. I recently told my previous boss that I’m not optimistic about this management change. My former teammate cannot help me develop into the leader that I want to be. What should I do?” Discouraged

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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

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Q: “The mother of one of my employees recently called my boss to complain that her daughter, ’Sarah,’ was being overworked. Sarah was upset because some required training made it difficult for her to complete her regular duties, so I quickly resolved the problem by changing her training schedule. However, I was completely shocked that Sarah had been afraid to talk to me directly and that her mother felt a need to contact my manager. As Sarah’s supervisor, I feel I should have been given more respect. What should I do?” Bypassed

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Q: “I’m having a communication problem with a co-worker, ‘Angie,’ whose father owns our company. Angie repeatedly oversteps her bounds and tries to do my job. I had a direct talk with her in a kind and gentle tone, but this made her angry. When I tried to smooth over her feelings, she refused to speak and has avoided me ever since. I don’t see any way to fix our relationship as long as Angie is acting like a sulky child. The fact that her dad is the owner doesn’t help. We were great co-workers until this one little incident. What should I do?” Shut Out

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Q: “My co-worker eats soup in his cubicle three times a day, despite the fact that office policy prohibits eating at your desk. This soup has a very strong, unpleasant odor, and on top of that, he repeatedly clanks his bowl to get every single drop. Our manager has sent everyone reminder emails about the policy, but this guy is still eating his soup. How do we get him to stop?” Holding My Nose

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Q: “My manager says she wants to help me get promoted, but she doesn’t seem to be doing anything about it. For the past two years, she has said that my position should be reclassified as an assistant director. However, our company requires assistant directors to have people reporting to them, and I don’t have any employees. When I first came to work here, I supervised five people, but now I’m in a program manager position which has no staff. If my boss truly cared about my advancement, I believe she would either get an exception made to the policy or reorganize to give me some employees. What can I do about this?” Held Back

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Q: “Our new regional manager was transferred here after being demoted from a higher-level position. This guy has no idea what our jobs involve and apparently doesn’t care. He seems to feel that cutting costs will help him return to the corporate ‘ivory tower,’ so he has started randomly reducing our work hours. Previously, schedules were posted two weeks in advance, but now they can change at a moment’s notice. Employees are frequently called at home and told not to come in the next day or instructed to leave as soon as they arrive at the office. Meanwhile, the work is piling up. How can we end this nightmare?” Frazzled

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Q: “On a recent employee opinion survey, my staff gave me a terrible rating on favoritism. I have no idea why they feel that I’m biased, since I try to be very consistent in applying policies and enforcing rules. I do have a closer connection with certain employees, because we share common interests, but no one receives any special treatment. What can I do about this?” Misunderstood Manager

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Q: “Every Friday, a few of us meet in the office kitchen for drinks after work. Last week, two of my co-workers got up and left while I was in the restroom. Since I consider them to be friends, I was quite offended that they didn’t wait to say goodbye. I know this is not a big deal, but now my feelings about it are interfering with our previously productive relationship. How do you think I should handle this?” Abandoned

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Q: “In my job as an executive administrator, I have two support employees who technically report to me, though they have never really accepted me as their supervisor. One of them, ‘Carol,’ spends hours chatting with her friends and family on the phone. I discussed this problem with my manager, but he told me not to do anything about it. Because Carol’s cubicle is located next to mine, I can hear her talking all day long, which makes it hard to concentrate on my work. As a supervisor, I feel that I should be allowed to move into an office, where I could have some peace and quiet. However, management still seems to see me as support staff, so how can I convince them to give me an office?” Powerless

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Q: “I am an administrative assistant to my manager, who is constantly coming to me with questions and little tasks. These interruptions make it hard to concentrate on my work. When she asks me to phone someone or find something for her, I lose my focus. How can I get her to stop bothering me?” Annoyed

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Q: “Our boss frequently requests contributions for a charitable group that she supports. Is this acceptable management behavior?” Feeling Harassed

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