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.

Got a suspicion of overtime favoritism?

September 16, 2016

Q: “My wife works in a production department where only a few employees have permission to work overtime. Everyone else must leave at the end of the shift. The people who receive these extra hours seem to have close ties with the supervisor. Does my wife have any recourse in this situation?” Need the Money

Keeping the office party planner at bay

September 2, 2016

Q: “A woman in our department has become the self-appointed party planner. ‘Renee’ is constantly trying to organize office celebrations for birthdays, weddings and other events. Now Renee is trying to arrange a send-off for someone who is retiring. Since I have worked with the retiree longer than anyone else, Renee says I should do something for her. To be honest, I do not enjoy working with this person and am actually counting the days until she leaves. How can I politely tell Renee to stop bothering me?” Uninterested

Deal with the well-meaning interrupter

August 25, 2016

Q: “You have previously said that cubicle conversations cannot be considered private because they take place in an open area. However, my situation is slightly different. Whenever someone comes to me with a question, the woman in the next cubicle yells out the answer before I have a chance to speak. I think it is very rude of her to butt in when someone has specifically asked for my opinion. How should I handle this?” Drowned Out

Don’t let short-term jobs blight your résumé

August 12, 2016
Q: “I would like to know how very brief jobs should be handled on a résumé. My most recent position was eliminated after I had been there only eight weeks. If I include it, employers may wonder why I left so quickly. But if I omit it, how do I explain why I left the preceding job?”

Scheduling tips for single parents

July 27, 2016

Q: “I’m a single mom who has been unemployed for about six months. In my previous position, I had a flexible schedule which allowed me to easily attend school events or schedule medical appointments for my two young children. I have now been offered a 9-to-5 job located about an hour from my home. Although I’m relieved to have found this position, I’m afraid that the time I need for my children’s activities may create problems at work. How should I handle this?” Solo Mom

When staff criticism gets too loud

July 22, 2016

Q: “I was recently moved to a desk right outside my boss’s office. Every day, he and two staff members have lengthy discussions about personal matters and company gossip. I also overhear them criticizing other employees in our group. The person who sits next to me says I should just ignore these conversations, but this seems like very juvenile behavior for an office setting. Is there anything I can do about it?” Disgusted

Our manager keeps asking for our money!

July 14, 2016

Q: “Our manager is involved with a lot of community groups and charitable organizations. The problem is that whenever she participates in something, she sends the staff an email asking for contributions. We see no reason why employees should be expected to support their boss’s outside activities, but we don’t want to offend her and jeopardize our job security. Is there a polite way to tell our manager to stop these requests?” Intimidated 

If you can’t change the co-worker, change yourself

July 7, 2016

Q: “An obnoxious co-worker was recently made the working supervisor of our nursing unit. In addition to being loud and slow, ‘Ellen’ is not as knowledgeable as she pretends to be. A few of her patients have asked for a different nurse. My problem is that while Ellen is in her learning curve, the rest of us have to pick up the slack and correct her mistakes. Every day, I tell myself that I won’t let Ellen get to me, but then she says something stupid, and I go crazy. I really loved my work before this woman was promoted. What should I do about this?” Dedicated Nurse

If you try to ‘manage up,’ you need to understand management

June 30, 2016

Q: “My manager is always receptive to new ideas, so I have never hesitated to make suggestions. However, I was surprised by his reaction to my latest proposal. After describing inefficiencies in our department, I presented some ways to correct them. These changes would have given me more responsibility and a higher-level position. My boss took offense and said that many of these responsibilities belong to him. I quickly backed off, saying that I was simply trying to help. Now I’m reluctant to propose any new ideas for fear of jamming my foot in my mouth again.” Burned Once

What are you willing to sacrifice to get work/life balance?

June 24, 2016

Q: “I seem to be at a crossroads in my career. My boss recently told me that I am on track to become a partner in our firm in two to three years. However, my husband and I are also ready to start a family. Although cutting back to 20 or 30 hours a week would not be a problem financially, I’m afraid it might endanger my ability to make partner. All of our partners are men who work very long hours and may not understand my need for a reduced schedule. Ideally, I would like to have both a successful career and time with my family. Does that seem possible or will I have to give something up?” Future Mom