Ask the Coach

Nationally syndicated workplace columnist Marie McIntyre answers your "in the trenches" workplace questions on everything from team-building to dealing with difficult people. Marie has more than 20 years experience as a manager, business owner and the HR director at a Fortune 500 company. She writes a nationwide newspaper column and her web site, www.YourOfficeCoach.com, offers a variety of career success strategies. Send your question to Marie at Marie@businessmanagementdaily.com.

When the urge to rant strikes, know your audience

November 29, 2018
Q: “In my performance review, my supervisor wrote that I lack patience. She based this conclusion on some comments I made about our CEO during a recent project. This was extremely frustrating, so I often wound up venting to my boss. Although she seemed sympathetic, she now says that I was impatient. My overall review was good, but I am very upset about this comment.” Misunderstood

After a bad performance review, narrow your focus

November 6, 2018
Q: “I just had a horrible performance review in which I was given thirty days to improve as a supervisor. If my boss would stop micromanaging, I feel sure that I could demonstrate better leadership skills. How can I get her to change her management style? I love this job and don’t want to lose it.”  Anxious

Mysteriously fired? Spot the red flags

October 25, 2018
Q: “After ten years in my job, I was called into my boss’s office and informed that I was being fired. He said they were “no longer confident in my ability to complete the project.” This came as a total surprise, because I had always received positive performance reviews. I can’t understand how my employer could be so heartless. Shouldn’t they have told me what I was doing wrong and given me a chance to improve? Do I have any legal recourse?”  Blindsided

Are you really worth the money you think you are?

September 24, 2018
Q: “Even though I am a top performer, my pay is low based on market comparisons. To be smart about my career, I believe that I should refuse to accept this mediocre salary. If I’m offered a standard 5% raise, how do I say, ‘Thanks, but I’m worth more than that. What can you do to bring my pay up to market level?’” Underpaid

Base a big career move on facts, not hunches

August 9, 2018
Q: “I recently learned through the grapevine that an account manager who is assigned to work with me has said he would much rather work with someone else. Supposedly, he feels this other person is a lot more professional. Now my supervisor says that I’m being reassigned to a different group of accounts. If the account manager had problems with me, I wish he would have talked to me directly. I assume this means the writing is on the wall, so I have begun to look for other employment opportunities. I would like to leave gracefully, but I also want to tell someone what this individual said about me. Is that a good idea?”  Dazed & Confused

Hey superstar, is it worth it if everyone resents you?

July 27, 2018
Q: “My co-workers seem to despise me because I have a strong work ethic. When I took this job six months ago, I joined a team of three other people who have all been with the company at least six years. I love what I do, so I work a lot of overtime. Now I’m in a pickle because my co-workers don’t appreciate the ‘new kid on the block’ working extra hours, and exceeding our goals. Unfortunately, my boss seems to agree with my team members, so I can’t go to her for help. What should I do?” Superstar

Step up to the plate with an ineffective manager

July 26, 2018
Question: My boss has a hard time keeping his feelings to himself. For example, he frequently tells us that he’ll probably be fired because management doesn’t like him.  He also says that senior management has doubts about the value of our department. Because of his paranoid comments, the staff is starting to feel resentful toward the company, and morale is declining rapidly. Personally, I’m very happy with both the company and my job, but my manager’s pessimistic attitude still drags me down. What can I do?  Bummed Out

Office feuds: Sink your career in seconds

June 26, 2018
Q: “I feel that I have been betrayed by one of my peers. ‘Chuck’ and I are both senior vice-presidents, reporting to the president of our company. In a recent executive team meeting, Chuck stated that an employee in my department has been intercepting and reading the president’s email for several months. Chuck has apparently known this for some time, but instead of telling me privately, he chose to throw me under the bus by revealing it in front of our boss. After this humiliating betrayal, I’m not sure how to act around Chuck. Should I just speak to him when we have to work together and ignore him the rest of the time?” Infuriated

When the bottom drops out of your career

June 7, 2018
Q: “Two years ago, my immediate boss, with whom I had a great relationship, was forced to resign. Shortly thereafter, I had a serious conflict with a colleague who was extremely close to our department vice president. After that incident, my career went downhill, although I had previously received high performance ratings and a promotion. I began to look for another job, but the economy took a nosedive and my wife was diagnosed with cancer, so leaving was completely out of the question. Now my wife is well again, and the economy has improved. But after having my self-esteem pounded on a daily basis, I no longer feel confident that anyone will hire me. Can you offer any advice?” Hopeless

The bad breath dilemma: Confront, evade or suffer in silence?

April 18, 2018
Q: “My co-worker, ‘Carly,’ has very bad breath. If she comes into my office for even a few minutes, the odor is still there after she leaves. This is really bothering me, but I don’t know how to tell her about it.” Gagging