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, http://www.YourOfficeCoach.com, offers a variety of career success strategies.

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In over your head? Take a deep breath, evaluate

May 18, 2017

Q: “After working as a temporary administrative assistant for a small company, I was recently promoted to office manager. My boss said that she liked my professionalism. However, I’m beginning to wonder if I’ve gotten in over my head. I’m being given unfamiliar tasks, no one ever explains anything, and I’m not sure exactly what my job includes. Now I’m constantly stressed out from worrying about whether management is unhappy with me.” – Afraid of Failing

How do you speak up about a boss’s affair?

May 4, 2017
Q: “Our new manager is having an affair with a young woman in our office. The two of them often disappear for hours at a time. Since this relationship began, our co-worker has become arrogant and rude. She used to be polite and helpful. Everyone is upset about the change in our office atmosphere, but no one will speak up. I seem to be the only person willing to address the issue, but I don’t know how to do it diplomatically. Where do I go and what do I say?”  —A.P.

Starters vs. Maintainers: Which one are you?

April 20, 2017

Q: “I work as an office manager in a pleasant, stress-free environment. The pay is good, the schedule is flexible, and the staff is productive. Everyone gets along well. So what’s the problem? For the past two years, I have been bored out of my mind. I tried asking for additional responsibilities, but nothing ever happened. My friends say I have the perfect job, but it sure doesn’t feel that way. Any thoughts?”  Underutilized

When you learn that your salary is less than the untested newbie’s

April 7, 2017
Q: “When I asked about a raise several months ago, my manager said no money was available for pay increases. However, I was recently told in confidence that a newly hired co-worker has a much higher salary than mine, even though I am our department’s top producer. How can I tactfully tell my manager that I am aware of this discrepancy without revealing my source to him?”

Successful, rich, secure–and bored. What to do?

March 24, 2017

Q: “I am a happily married man in my mid-forties with three young children. During my career, I have built a successful business and accumulated enough wealth so that I have no worries about money. My problem is that I really don’t know what motivates me anymore. None of the traditional types of motivators—like achievement, social interaction, or service to others—seem to apply to me. Can you help me figure out what I’m missing?”  Apathetic Business Owner

When you’re no longer a jerk at work–but someone remembers

March 9, 2017

Q: “In my previous job, I gossiped, backstabbed and yelled at important people. I eventually realized that I was creating my own problems, but changing was difficult as long as I was in the same environment. After finding my present job three years ago, I worked hard to avoid conflicts, improve my behavior and become more politically astute. Unfortunately, however, one of my former colleagues has now joined our staff, and I’m afraid she will tell people about my past. Should I go to her and make amends or just wait and see what happens?” Reformed Jerk

When the boss is all vision and no end result

February 23, 2017

Q: “Our micromanaging boss makes it difficult to accomplish our team goals. When we start a new project, she never discusses her expectations or her vision of the end result. She often shifts direction on a whim, leaving us feeling that we’ve done a lot of work for nothing. Do you have any suggestions?” Frustrated Team Member

Oh, so it’s the old ‘my co-worker provoked me’ excuse

February 10, 2017

Q: “My boss recently moved my desk so that I would be farther away from my co-worker, ‘Tamara.’ Tamara’s annoying behavior causes me to react, and our conflicts have been getting progressively worse. I’m worried about my upcoming performance review, because I know I have not handled this situation well. Our boss recently said ‘this problem will be eliminated within the next month,’ so now I’m afraid that one of us may be terminated. What should I do?”

When you’re doing contract work, know the limits of your influence

January 26, 2017
Q: “Six months ago, I started a contract job with a small software group. The lead developer is a control freak who has taken over some of the tasks listed in my contract. I talked with the lead developer about his attitude towards me, but nothing changed. Next, I went to the manager of our group and explained that this guy was taking part of my job. Now the lead developer is being given work that clearly should be mine, so I feel that management is siding with him. How do I keep them from reducing my responsibilities?”

Fixing a fallen superstar

January 12, 2017

Q: “One of my star employees has developed a very negative attitude. During the past three years, I have assigned ‘Kevin’ to desirable projects, given him special bonuses and made him a team leader. However, in the past few months, he has become increasingly arrogant and uncooperative. Kevin does not reply to my emails and withholds important information. He often comes late to meetings and sometimes skips them altogether. Yesterday, he said that he does not respect my leadership style. If I officially reprimand Kevin, I’m afraid he might leave. How should I handle this situation?”

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