Your Office Coach

Marie McIntyre,Ph.D., has more than 20 years experience as a manager, business owner and the HR director at a Fortune 500 company. She’s authored two business books and writes a nationwide newspaper column. Her web site,, offers a variety of career success strategies.

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Beware the sullen co-worker’s sinister quicksand

February 9, 2018

Q: “Ever since I came to work here a year ago, I have gotten nothing but attitude from the woman in the next cubicle. I keep trying to be nice to ‘Mandy,’ but she refuses to develop any kind of relationship with me. Sometimes she doesn’t speak to me at all. Our supervisor told us that we needed to work on our communication problem, but that didn’t help at all. This situation has me ready to explode, but I know that getting angry will only make me look bad. What should I do?”

When do you tell the boss about a diagnosis of depression?

January 2, 2018

Q: “For the past five years, I have suffered from depression. During that time, I have been on and off medication. However, I have never told my employer about this problem. During my recent performance review, I received a ‘needs improvement’ rating for the first time, which was very upsetting. Do you think I should tell my manager about my depression?”

When you have to tell an employer that you were axed

October 24, 2017
Q: “Are applicants required to tell a potential future employer that they were terminated from their previous job? If so, how should this be done?”

A colleague is bugging us … literally!

October 23, 2017
Q:  “A co-worker told me that he brings a voice recorder to work to catch people talking behind his back. He will tape it underneath a desk or hide it behind a picture. We used to be friends, but I now seem to be on the list of people that he hates. I’ve started searching my work area every morning to be sure his recorder isn’t there. Should I bring this to the attention of human resources?”  —Nervous in Indiana

I discovered an ad for my own job!

September 20, 2017
Q: “I recently learned that my manager may be planning to replace me. 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. 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

When grownups bring the playground into the office

September 7, 2017

Q: “I am 28 years old and currently serving in the US Army. In the shop where I work, we have a lot of younger guys. They act so childish that it’s embarrassing to call them soldiers. They think everything is a joke and have no clue when to back off. Being deployed away from my wife and family is tough enough without having to deal with these immature, smart-mouthed kids. I mentioned this to our sergeant, but he just brushed me off. What can I do?” Grown-up Soldier

‘Different’ management style doesn’t mean ‘wrong’

August 24, 2017
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. Now I’m afraid that when I have a question or problem, I won’t be able to get an answer. What do you think about this?”

When vagueness is your friend

August 15, 2017

Q: “I share an office with a very nosy woman. ‘Tricia’ constantly monitors my activities and asks what I’m doing. My job involves spending time on the Internet, so she probably thinks I’m Web surfing. Tricia seems jealous of my friendship with other co-workers and frequently inquires about their personal business. Although I love my job, I’m becoming paranoid about my office mate. What should I do?” – Tricia’s Target

Back away from the keyboard — email isn’t the place to decry a boss

July 27, 2017

Q: “After joining this company six weeks ago, I quickly learned that my new boss is a tyrant. ‘Doug’ constantly makes insulting and demeaning remarks, to the point that I am almost in tears every day. I am considering sending the vice president an email with the truth about Doug, but I’m afraid this might backfire. What do you think?”

Why you might want to give an annoyingly loud co-worker a pass

July 14, 2017

Q: “’Paula’, one of our team members, talks so loudly that we can hear every word of her phone conversations and discussions with other co-workers. The constant sound of her voice is both distracting and annoying. I personally believe this is just Paula’s pathetic attempt to show us how busy and important she is. Everyone walks on eggshells around Paula, including our team leader, because she is very defensive and can be downright mean if someone rubs her the wrong way. To make it worse, Paula is good friends with the human resources manager, so no one is willing to complain about her. What can we do about this?”

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