Workplace Coach

Monthly Archives: March 2016

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Question: What rights do I have when our receptionist intentionally, repeatedly invades my privacy by opening my personal mail? Because I don’t always want my husband to have advance knowledge of some of my purchases, I’m forced to use my work address. Despite the fact that most of these packages have return addresses that should clearly cue the receptionist that they’re personal, she opens at least half of them. At our recent… Read More

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Question: Our employer regularly asks us to fill out online surveys through SurveyMonkey, and says they’re anonymous. Are they? If we fill them out at our work stations, they’re linked to our computers. How is that anonymous? Answer: Although online surveys can provide anonymity, they don’t always. Since our company regularly administers such surveys for our clients (we use the popular SurveyMonkey platform, too), I asked our team how they — and your… Read More

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Question: Soon after I started a job as an HR generalist, my new peers came to me saying, “I don’t envy you, your boss is evil.” During my hiring interview, this boss had told me, “Your predecessor loved her job, but quit suddenly for personal reasons.” I soon learned he’d lied, that my predecessor had cried in the bathroom on a daily basis before she quit. Unfortunately, this evil boss is the… Read More

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Question: Our organization is in charge of remodeling a facility for an organization that serves disabled people. We recently held a client briefing outlining our plans and experienced an awkward incident. One of our representatives came into the room to meet with the client group and was shaking hands until he realized that the man next in line had a deformed hand. At that point, our representative stopped shaking hands and didn’t… Read More

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Question: When ABC excluded Carly Fiorina from Saturday night’s debate, it ignited a fierce dispute among several of our employees. The arguing broke along male and female lines, and two men made statements the women employees said “crossed the line.” Until this happened, I had encouraged and participated in the political discussions. They were fun, as our group was almost evenly divided between Sanders, Trump, Clinton and Fiorina advocates. Now, to make… Read More

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Recently one of my employees began to argue with me and another employee in a staff meeting. When I told him to stop, he argued more loudly and it became an awful scene. We both wound up yelling. What should I have done instead? Answer: If one of your employees raises an opinion contrary to yours in a meeting, defuse potential conflict by asking him questions to understand his views. Once he’s… Read More

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Question: I was badly bullied in my last job and know I need counseling. I keep reaching out and making appointments with counselors and then, at the last minute, I decide not to go. Sometimes I call and cancel the appointments. Sometimes I just pretend I forgot and when they call me, I say that I’ve made other arrangements. Am I crazy? Answer: You’re suffering. You want to get help but you’re… Read More

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Question: My first day on the job, I exited the building at the same time as the woman I was replacing. As I wished her well in her new job, she said, “You seem like a nice person. Whatever you do, don’t cross Heather. And if you do, get out before she destroys you like she did me.” As I stood there shocked, she said, “You don’t understand now, but you will.” I wish… Read More

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My boss figured out I was job hunting during the work day. I don’t know how he discovered this as he’s normally clueless. I think someone ratted me out. I was afraid he was going to fire me on the spot, but he told me he was going to “take pity” on me and give me two weeks’ notice. I think he’s just keeping me around until he hires my replacement. I… Read More