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Marie McIntyre, Ph.D.

Q: “I feel fairly certain that I’m not being paid what I am worth. When I was hired by this start-up company, the salary offer seemed quite low for someone with a Master’s degree. I only accepted because asking for money makes me very uncomfortable. Now I feel even more underpaid because I have been given so many responsibilities. I can’t help resenting my minimal paycheck. How can I correct this?” Below Market

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Q: “I am extremely organized and always plan my work carefully. I know exactly which tasks I must complete every day in order to meet my deadlines. The problem is that my boss constantly comes up with ad hoc requests and expects me to immediately drop whatever I’m doing to focus on his latest whim. Instead of rewarding this impulsive behavior, I usually put his requests aside until I can work them into my schedule. He doesn’t like this, so he has given me a bad performance review. I really can’t figure out how to work with him.” Hopeless

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Q: “Lately, I have become short and snappy with my co-workers. I am the secretary for a medical group, and this job is very frustrating. I have to answer the phone, respond to patients, transmit doctors’ orders, look up information, run errands and answer stupid questions. I don’t want to be rude, but it’s getting harder to bite my tongue. How can I stop being so irritable?” Not a Grouch

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Q: “My boss appears to be taking credit for a difficult project that I am working on, even though it does not involve him in any way. The vice president of our department recently sent out an email in which she congratulated both my manager and me on the project’s success and expressed appreciation for our hard work. However, he hasn’t worked on it at all. Now I wonder if he may be exaggerating his role. What should I do about this?” Unrecognized

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Q: “One of my employees, ‘Katrina,’ has some performance issues which I am trying to resolve. However, some of her co-workers have apparently decided to collect their own ‘evidence’ against her. They record Katrina’s arrival and departure times, track how often she leaves her desk, and scrutinize her emails for grammatical errors. My boss and I want to stop this harassment, but our human resources manager supports the perpetrators and says they are being helpful. What should we do?” Powerless Supervisor

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Q: “I’m planning to enroll in an MBA program that allows me to continue working while attending school. After putting so much time and money into my education, I would hope for some sort of financial reward, but my company does not give pay increases for master’s degrees. I would be willing to change jobs or relocate if it meant that my degree would be recognized. How beneficial is an MBA?” Working Student

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Q: “My wife is a nanny who works for a married couple. She recently told me that the husband, who is a doctor, has been making sexually inappropriate remarks to her. I called the doctor’s wife and told her about the situation, but nothing has changed. Although this seems like harassment, I’ve been told there’s nothing I can do about it. This guy apparently thinks he’s untouchable, but he needs to be stopped before he harasses someone else.” Furious Husband

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Q: “My parents and I disagree about how I should follow up on job applications. They feel that after I have sent in a résumé, I should call the company and request an interview. I’ve tried to explain that employers don’t want phone calls, and verbal communication isn’t required in the age of technology. However, based on their years of work experience, my parents insist that personal contact is the best way to stand out from the crowd. Who is correct?” Son Against Parents

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Q: “My husband and I want to move from Wisconsin to either Florida or Texas. I’ve been responding to online job ads, indicating that I will pay my own relocation expenses. Despite my twenty years of experience, I have not even had a nibble. Do you think out-of-state applicants are taken seriously?” Ready to Move

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Q: “When I started this job, my boss asked for my cellphone number in case of an emergency. After awhile, he began sending text messages that had nothing to do with work. Even though this seemed unprofessional, I answered to avoid offending him. Recently, I discovered that my inbox was full, and almost all the messages were from him. This has become really annoying, so I’d like to put a stop to it. What should I do?” Besieged

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Q: “Our human resources manager recently said I should consider seeing a therapist because I might be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Last year was difficult because my husband lost his job, then was diagnosed with cancer. I was appalled by her suggestion and told her that she was completely out of line. A few weeks later, she emailed me to say that she felt we did not finish our conversation and was open to talking if I was interested. I did not reply, and now she will barely acknowledge me. I really don’t care, but it’s somewhat awkward because we work in a small company.” Insulted

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Q: “Instead of addressing me by name, our new director calls me ‘Princess.’ She also seems to enjoy aggravating me. When she walks by my desk, she will push my chair, rub the top of my head, or hit me with a stack of papers. I have tried not to react, since I figure that a reaction is exactly what she wants. My supervisor told her that I don’t like being called Princess, but this just seemed to make matters worse. I have been a model employee for twelve years, so I don’t understand why I’m being treated this way.” Not a Princess

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Q: “Our staff was recently asked to attend a ‘professional development’ session put on by a comedy group. The topic was supposed to be communication. Much of the material was funny, but there were also lots of crude and offensive jokes. Although our work environment is not normally like this, management did nothing to stop the inappropriate comments. Do I have the right to walk out of a meeting where people are making objectionable remarks?” Disheartened

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Q: “I have learned about some unethical behavior in the small community bank where I work. The CEO’s son was hired as a loan officer. He drives the bank car to lunch and takes it home every night. His secretary says he uses a bank credit card to fill up his truck and has even charged some personal items. This amounts to stealing from the bank, which is especially annoying because employees received no raise last year. I would like to report him to the Board of Directors, but my only evidence is what his secretary told me. I’m also afraid that I might jeopardize my job. What should I do?”

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Q: “For the past few weeks, one of my co-workers has been watching me closely and finding fault with my work. She keeps telling me what to do, even though she’s not my supervisor. I actually have more experience than she does. Should I tell my manager about this? I don’t want him to think I’m complaining.” Jenny

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Q: “I supervise a data clerk who is rude and uncooperative. She acts independently, as if I don’t exist, and snaps at me whenever I tell her something. My manager and I have discussed this, but have not been able to come up with a solution. There is just no way to communicate with her. Any suggestions?” Defeated

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Q: “I work the morning shift as a waitress in a small, privately-owned restaurant. We have a new cook, ‘Chuck,’ who works in the afternoon. When I’m trying to leave at the end of my shift, Chuck starts telling me to make egg salad or bring him cheese from the cooler. Chuck also tells me to clean the meat slicer, which also is clearly part of his job. When another waitress and I work on the night shift with him, he never helps us clean up after closing. He just plays video games and waits for us to give him a ride home. The owner is not usually around to see these problems. How should I handle this?” Overworked

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Q: “Everyone in our eight-person office uses my desk, even though they all have desks of their own. They say that I have the fastest computer. While sitting there, they also go through my desk drawers, which seems disrespectful. I realize that I don’t personally own this equipment, but as an administrative assistant, I have to be at my desk to work. I don’t think my boss knows about this, because I’ve never told him. What should I do?” Edged Out

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Q: “My boss, who owns the business, recently added her daughter to our staff. At first, ‘Tammy’ and I had a good working relationship. However, I soon began receiving complaints from clients about mistakes that she had made. When I mentioned these issues to my boss, she seemed to understand and did not overreact. The problems continued, so I finally had to call Tammy in for a performance discussion. She said I was picking on her and complained to her mother. When I provided documentation of Tammy’s errors, my boss became furious and said I should not be keeping a file on her daughter. Now I’m not sure what to do. How can I manage Tammy without committing career suicide?” Mystified Manager

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Q: “My 19-year-old son spent six months in jail for a probation violation. He was on probation because he took our neighbor’s car without permission so that he could go see his girlfriend. Recently, he was turned down for a warehouse position after the employer learned about his arrest during a background check. How should he handle his record when looking for a job?” Concerned Mom 

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