Your Office Coach — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Page 23
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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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Question: “One of my co-workers seldom talks to me anymore.  She used to joke and laugh all the time.  When I ask, ‘What’s the matter?’ she says, ‘Nothing.’  What do I do? — Frozen Out
Question: "My wife seems to be trapped by her fear of looking for work. She used to do freelance projects, but she has never had to find a permanent position 'from scratch.' Her idea of conducting a job search is to stay home and complete online applications. Because of my job, we recently moved to a new city where she doesn’t know anyone.  If I suggest making phone calls or visiting potential employers, she breaks down..."
Question: “Last year, when family matters required my attention, I left my full-time job as a graphic designer.  I have now decided to semi-retire and would like a part-time position with flexible hours. I am 53 years old and don’t need a lot of income. I would like some advice on how to state my preferences to potential employers.”  —Ready to Cut Back
Question:  “Since taking this job four months ago, I have been bothered by a co-worker’s relationship with my manager. This woman does everything for him. She even writes his emails and drives him on personal errands. In return, he occasionally covers up for her and handles some of her responsibilities when she has a deadline to meet. He also shares a lot of information with her...
Question: “In our four-person office, one employee is habitually late every morning. The rest of us work a full eight hours, so we are tired of her tardiness. Otherwise, we all get along fine. Our boss doesn't see us arrive, so he has no clue that she is always late. We believe she is taking advantage of this situation.  What should we do?”  —Punctual Co-workers
Question: “The five part-time people in this office don’t like our manager. However, my co-worker and I, who work full-time, like him very much. We wanted to take him to lunch for Boss’s Day, but the part-timers wouldn’t agree, so we did nothing. For the holidays, we wanted to give our manager a group gift, but...
Question:  “Our new director wants to be 'more available by being less available.' He says we must make an appointment to meet with him, then he will come to our office at the scheduled time. His explanation is that managing our time will increase everyone’s productivity.  As an example, he describes how people used to line up in front of the former director’s door, waiting to talk to her...
Question: “I work for a small hospital where I have been treated quite unfairly. For example, I am the only person in my department who has to carry a beeper, because I live nearby and can get here quickly... I was also repeatedly denied overtime pay until...
Question: “When I was hired six months ago, I tried to negotiate my salary. My manager said pay was not negotiable, but I have since learned that this is not true. Recently, another person was offered the same position and initially turned it down. I know for a fact that human resources negotiated her pay...
Question:  “I recently learned that my manager may be planning to replace me. I work for an art museum and am very active in my professional association.  A fellow member called to inquire about an opening here after he saw an ad on the association website. I told him that I wasn’t aware of any vacancies, but when I looked up the ad, I essentially found my own job description under a different title. The address for responding is our museum. Although no one has mentioned any problems with my performance, I am apparently in danger of being fired. I can’t believe my boss thought I wouldn’t find out about this. Should I talk to him? Or should I just apply for my own job?  —Betrayed
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