Workplace Coach

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Q: Sixteen months ago I lost my oil company job, but received enough severance to keep me afloat for more than a year. I’d always wanted to work for myself and felt this was my big chance. Even though I’ve never been a risk-taker, I started a small business. I soon realized I needed an assistant because when I invested time in paperwork it took me away from the sales and marketing… Read More

Q: My introverted, insecure, my-way-or-the-highway supervisor has an abnormally low threshold for anything resembling a suggestion. Though I have both technical and managerial skills and could be a wonderful resource for her, I’m a no-BS kind of person who speaks his mind and what I say invariably rubs her the wrong way, even and especially when it’s right. When I first started in her department, I tried to get her to see the… Read More

You’ve met the predatory client and possibly even tangled with him. He or she makes life difficult for your staff, particularly your front desk employees, and possibly even for you because his status as a client enables him to do so. Often he represents hundreds of thousands of dollars in billings. Do legal practices have a responsibility to protect their employees and other clients from a client that sexually harass them? Protecting… Read More

You’ve met the predatory customer. He or she makes work life difficult for others because his money, power or simply his status as a customer enable him to do so. Do businesses have a responsibility to protect their customers from other customers that sexually harass them? What can an employer do if their business survival depends on contracts from a larger business when the individual who controls the purse strings for those… Read More

Q: Like thousands of other women, I wrote my #MeToo. Although I disguised some of the facts to protect myself, it was clear to me and perhaps to others that it involved a senior manager in my company. After it published, I learned two former employees of my current employer had written similar stories about the same man. I can’t tell you how mad I am, not just at the man but… Read More

Question: I’m a small-business owner. I work directly with customers and rely on a full-time administrative employee to handle billing, filing, word processing and customer calls. When my long-term employee moved out of state last year after her husband lost his oil industry job, I placed an ad on Craigslist. A stream of unqualified applicants and spam quickly overwhelmed me. I hired “Debi” because she had eight years of office experience, even… Read More