Question: I’ve been job-hunting for three weeks and have two job offers. The company I least want to work for is offering a starting salary that’s $5,000 more annually than the other. The second company offers to raise my salary in three months if I do well. How do I talk the second company into giving me the higher salary now? Answer: Tell the second company that you’d rather work for them, but… Read More

Question: My current employer is about to lay me off. I’m on good terms with my supervisor, but have only worked here for five months. When I asked my supervisor to give me a reference letter, he said he would, and warned me that he almost didn’t hire me, because of my awful prior references. It was almost like he was telling me I was lucky he’d hired me. I asked him… Read More

Question: Last week, our office manager, who handles human resources for our company, accused me of sleeping with my boss. I’m not. From her, I learned that several of the guys I work with have suggested that’s how I earn my salary. If I was sleeping with him, it would be none of the office manager’s or my peers’ business and I told her so. I then confronted the guys and their… Read More

Question: One of our employees recently came back from a vacation with an arm covered in tattoos. Our dress code doesn’t deal with this, but it makes several of our senior managers uncomfortable. Are we able to ban tattoos? Answer: Yes, but do you want to? Employers may ban tattoos or other visible body art as long as they have a policy that applies to all employees in similar jobs and contains… Read More

Question: After working 18 months for an abusive supervisor, I’m giving my notice tomorrow. The last straw was yesterday, when he confronted me by grabbing my arm and shouting at me in the hallway over a project he said I hadn’t completed. I don’t know how I’ll be able to work through the two weeks’ notice I’m required to give. Don’t tell me to go to human resources or any senior manager… Read More

Has a bully played a trick on you? Did you know how to respond? Bullies play tricks and wield weapons so they can dominate and win. If you’ve been on the wrong end of their blame/shame, insult barrage, or public humiliation games, you know how conniving a bully can be. The good news? – When you know the bully’s three favorite tricks, you can defeat them and claim victory. Trick #1: The… Read More

Question: For the last eight months, I’ve tried everything I can think of to make myself like my job. Nothing works. My duties bore me to tears and I dread Monday mornings. I did this to myself. Eight months ago, I decided to leave the nonprofit world and work for a “real” business. It’s Alaska, so I chose the oil industry. Even though the company that hired me had laid off workers,… Read More

Question: I supervise a small six-person department that includes one employee who has chronic life drama. I feel sorry for her, and so do the rest of my employees. She travels the office daily, sharing her tale of woe with first one employee and then the next. We’ve all had enough; however, I worry that if I ax her, her coworkers will consider me mean. Answer: You don’t need to ax her;… Read More

Question: My coworker barges into my office when I’m on the phone with customers and asks me questions, derailing my train of thought. I’ve tried turning my head away and ignoring her but she waves her hand in front of my face and raises her voice until she has my attention. This afternoon I’d had it. She waved her hand in front of my face and I swatted her hand away. She… Read More

Question: For the last year, I’ve busted my backside for my company. I’ve never gotten a thank you. Instead, this morning I was hauled in to my supervisor’s office today and given a “performance improvement plan.” Apparently a few “powers that be” in my company think I have a “smart mouth” and need “coaching.” Yeah, right. They want me to have a personality lobotomy. Some reward for all my hard work. I… Read More