Q.Dear Pat: I work in a large department, which is headed by an incompetent manager. I’m not being mean. He is just way over his head. He’s very good at the technical side of his job, but when it comes to working with people – especially managing them – he is clueless. He tends to have “favorites” who get special treatment and can do no wrong. That leads to a lot of resentment among the rest of us. Something needs to be done about the tension and low morale, but the manager doesn’t even seem to notice there’s a problem. How can we get him to see the problem and then fix it?
Q.Dear Pat: I give my cell phone number out to clients, since I’m often traveling and not in the office every day. One of our biggest clients thinks nothing of calling at 9 p.m. on a Friday night or 8 a.m. on a Sunday morning to discuss her project. If I don’t answer or call back within fifteen minutes, she just keeps calling. How can I get her to stop calling during my personal time?
Q.Dear Pat: My company does not have a written dress code. We are told that this is a casual office and to use our best judgment. I am not sure what that means. A woman I work with rarely wears a bra. I find it terribly distracting and unprofessional. I have mentioned it to my superiors and they refuse to say anything because of the fact that there is no written policy. What can I do?
Q.Dear Pat:I have a job that I mostly love. I am a nurse and have worked for a pediatrician that I respect for six years and I am paid well enough. The problem is his wife; she is the office manager and is rude to me, the rest of the staff and sometimes the patients. Should I say anything to my boss or just put up with it?
Q.Dear Pat: My daughter and I work at the same company. She has a real jerk for a boss. One of my colleagues has seen him yell at her. I was later told that one of the secretaries found her crying in the ladies room. She hasn’t said anything to me yet. How can I help her?
Q.Dear Pat: The pregnant woman in our department is getting a better chair, more breaks, and more considerations than the rest of us. We don’t think this is fair? What can we do without seeming to be against motherhood?
Q.Dear Pat: My boss takes credit for my work. I recently spent hundreds of hours on a big project, but when the senior managers singled him out as the “hero” for getting it done, he just smiled and said “Thanks”, without one word about my efforts. How do I get the recognition I deserve without getting my boss angry?
Q.Dear Pat: I have been working here for several years and have recently been promoted to manager. I’m excited about the opportunity, but now I supervise people who used to be co-workers. Most of them have been very supportive, but a few have become a little cool toward me. The real problem is that one of my new “subordinates” is also a friend. He and I hang out after work and often have lunch together. How can I keep my friend without compromising my role as manager?
Q.Dear Pat: My boss is making my life miserable. He jumps down my throat if I make the smallest mistake. He criticizes me in front of co-workers and customers. He thinks nothing of yelling at me and calling me “stupid” and “incompetent”. And it’s not like I’m a screw-up. I do a really good job, but I’m only human, and now and then I do make an error. I don’t deserve to be treated like this. The worst part is, upper management knows what he’s like and they allow it because he’s a top producer. I’d like to quit, but I’d hate to abandon my co-workers who would be stuck doing my work and taking all of his abuse. How can I get him to stop?
Q.Dear Pat: I share a very small office with a coworker and good friend. We are separated only by a partition. She has a very loud voice and when I’m on the phone, my callers can hear her. We’ve talked about it and she is always sorry and says she’ll try to do better. But it keeps happening. What can I do?