Workplace Coach

Monthly Archives: April 2017

You have two job offers – so how do you choose? Are you torn between two potential jobs, both of which you might be able to land? Do they both have pluses and minuses, but choosing between them feels like choosing between apples and oranges? If you’re stuck in indecision and long for clarity, try this two-step process. Or, if you’re considering whether to leave your current job and seek a new… Read More

When United Airlines employees heard the now-famous statement from Dr. David Dao, “Nope. I’m not getting off the flight. I’m a doctor and have to see patients tomorrow morning,” it could — and should — have triggered an immediate re-evaluation. Except United’s employees weren’t given the freedom to situationally re-evaluate — even if their individual Richter scales screamed “trouble!” Instead, United Airlines’ employees lived according to rigid company-serving policies. [A man wouldn’t… Read More

When an apparently suicidal pilot flew his plane into the side of a mountain, he killed 150 people, and devastated the lives of those who loved them. The pilot, Andreas Lubitz, did online research into suicide methods in the days leading up to the fatal flight. Lubitz battled depression for years, relapsed with severe depression and stress in late 2014, and concealed recent medical leave notes declaring him unfit for work. An… Read More

Question: As head of accounting, I’m the office watchdog and expected to enforce my boss’ quirky policies, even the ones I don’t agree with. He doesn’t, however, back me up when the employees get angry with the policies. Instead, he says, “Accountants are like that,” as if I create policies for my own enjoyment. I’ve told my boss I resent this but he says enforcing policies goes with the job. Am I… Read More

Question: My office mate hums every so often. It’s really annoying and totally breaks my concentration. It’s not like she hums a tune, she just does a little hum when she stands up, sits down or hangs up the phone. I’ve mentioned this to her several times and she always looks at me like I’m out of my mind and says, “I had no idea, are you sure?” Last week she told… Read More

Question: I work full time and have kids. There’s no way I can stop working for three to four years to get a college degree; however, our company only promotes those who have bachelor’s degrees into managerial positions. If I enroll for night courses at either the University of Alaska or Alaska Pacific University, it will take me forever to get a degree. I’ve heard of an online degree program with the… Read More

Question: I was fired for texting while driving. Here’s the situation. My supervisor is the one who texted me in the first place and I only texted back a one-word answer, “no.” I only glanced down twice, once to see the message and then to hit the letters “no.” I was told I violated company policy; however, our company policy prohibits talking on cellphones while driving, not texting. I need to know… Read More

Question: A former employee joined my company planning to start his own competing business and worked for me just long enough to pilfer materials I spent the last decade creating. I had a forensic computer specialist assess the former employee’s computer. He documented that this employee saved substantial quantities of information from our server to flash drives and emailed multiple documents to his Hotmail account. He’s now using my materials in his… Read More

Question: One of our employees, “Kelly,” is gay and recently came out to everyone in our workplace. Many of the guys in the workplace feel awkward around him now, and uneasy with the fact that he goes into the same bathroom they do. Several have made loud, nasty, supposedly joking remarks anytime Kelly enters the bathroom when there’s a guy in there already. I thought we could weather this but all heck… Read More

Question: We have one employee who takes intermittent Family Medical Leave. We suspect her of using the guise of FMLA leave to cover alcohol abuse and extended weekends, as she’s absent two to three Mondays a month. Prior to her FMLA, she claimed occasional sick days on Mondays. Other employees have noticed her leaving early Friday as well. With this fact pattern and given the rumors now circulating, may we start asking… Read More