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Workplace Issues

Office Coach: Don't play colleague's silly 'superiority game'

Q: I have an older co-worker who constantly tries to prove that he's smarter than I am. "Tom" never went to college, while I have an advanced degree. Although I never mention my education, he brings it up all the time.

July 10, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

Office Coach: 'Basket case' must restrain emotions or face dismissal

Q: I recently hired an employee who appears to be a high-strung basket case. "Shannon" is experienced and intelligent, but working with her is almost unbearably exhausting. Every phone call lasts at least an hour, and most of our face-to-face meetings end in tears. Her lengthy emails are all…

June 19, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

Office Coach: Good employment history should overshadow firing

Q: Six months ago, I was fired from a company where I worked for two years. My co-workers were a tight clique of women who blamed me whenever something went wrong. The supervisor supported them, and human resources didn't seem interested in my side of the story.

May 01, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

Office Coach: As co-owner steps in, office secretary acts out

Q: My husband and I own a business that has seen some difficult economic times. For the past two years, we have had to reduce staff and cut salaries just to stay afloat. Now that our children are older, we have decided that I should start working in the office, especially since I have previo…

April 10, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

Office Coach: Set boundaries to avoid unpaid work

Q: I believe my employer is taking advantage of me. This company hired me to do telephone sales as an independent contractor, which means that I am paid strictly on commission with no benefits. There are no other contractors in the office where I am located.

March 20, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

Office Coach: Don't put up with worker's tardiness

Q: One of my employees constantly calls at the last minute to say she will be arriving late or not coming in at all. "Ginger" also leaves early on a regular basis, so she seldom works a full eight-hour day. Although she has no health problems, her absences average about one day a week.

January 24, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

Office Coach: Wife's employer gets to decide if there's a conflict of interest

Q: My wife's boss has accused me of a conflict of interest. I am a self-employed notary public, and my wife is a bank loan officer. For years I have been notarizing signatures on her loan documents. To be clear, I do not notarize her signature, only those of the borrowers.

January 10, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

Office Coach: Manager's backing imperative to supervising difficult team

Q: My manager, "Ray," recently asked me to begin supervising the clerical staff. This is a troublesome group of five women who have a history of slacking off. They always arrive late and leave early, but put a full day on their time cards. Ray knows about these problems, but has done nothing…

November 22, 2012 12:00 amLoading…

Office Coach: Co-worker's romance at work presents a sensitive problem

Q: Two of my co-workers, "Jake" and "Cheryl," sit next to each other and spend a lot of time whispering and giggling. They often leave the office together and are sometimes gone for hours. Jake's wife recently told me they have separated because he is having an affair with Cheryl.

October 18, 2012 12:00 amLoading…

Office Coach: Don't be childish over tardiness issue

Q: My manager recently gave me a performance warning for coming to work late. She has started monitoring me very closely, which makes me feel like some sort of criminal. I don't think I deserve to be treated this way just because I have poor time-management skills.

September 27, 2012 12:00 amLoading…

Office Coach: Don't jump to conclusions about peer who is now boss

Q: After our new CEO reorganized the company, one of my peers became my boss. "Barry" was promoted primarily because he had worked with the CEO at another business. Before this change, Barry and I collaborated on several successful projects and worked well together as colleagues.

September 20, 2012 12:00 amLoading…

Office Coach: Consider carefully before filing discrimination case

Q: I am trying to decide whether I should file a discrimination charge against my employer. For the past year, I have had a temporary job as a counselor with an employee assistance program. When a permanent position became available, my supervisor encouraged me to apply, praising my counseli…

September 13, 2012 12:00 amLoading…

Office Coach: Finding a mentor is essential in a sink-or-swim job

Q: I'm afraid that I might be fired from my first professional job. Four months ago, after finishing law school, I was hired by a very large firm that has no orientation or training program. My boss keeps saying "just figure it out" and gets angry if I ask other attorneys for help.

September 06, 2012 12:00 amLoading…

Office Coach: County agency unlikely to change toxic culture

Q: I am the executive director of a small community mental-health center. Recently, the county department of social services (DSS) contracted with us to provide counseling to children in foster care. Shortly after beginning this collaboration, we were blindsided by the negative organizationa…

August 16, 2012 12:00 amLoading…

Office Coach: Readers sound off on bodily noises in the workplace

A recent letter from a woman who was stressed out by her co-worker's bodily noises generated quite a reaction from readers. Here are some of their comments:

August 02, 2012 12:00 amLoading…

Office Coach: Overworked? First get your priorities straight

Q: When my previous employer went out of business, I was relieved to find a very similar position with another company. However, I no longer feel quite so lucky. Over the last six months, my duties have gradually increased to the point where I could easily work 12 hours a day, seven days a w…

May 24, 2012 12:00 amLoading…

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