How to Handle a Negative Co-Worker

How to Handle a Negative Co-Worker

Dear Office Mom,

I've had a job with a university for over 7 years. It's a small office and the boss is pretty hands-off as long as we are doing what we need to.I have a co-worker who is moving to another facility soon, but there are delays in that. This co-worker has a tense relationship with our boss. He will not converse with her and she waits until he's gone to make snide criticisms. It is so unpleasant to be around her when the boss is around. Should I push back on her directly when she makes these negative comments? I don’t want to defend him, but I don't want her hate and venom in my workplace? ~ Avigayl

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How to Build a Case for More Money

How to Build a Case for More Money

Dear Office Mom,

I have been working for a collection company for almost 12 years. I started as a temp for $12/hour. I went permanent 3 months later, making $10/hour and a $600 monthly bonus if I made quota. Later, I was switched to data entry and legal. Then, I moved to a floor supervisor position and trained all staff, reception, data entry, and collectors, plus filled in for accounting. The temps can work here as long as they choose as "permanent temps" and negotiate pay, raises, and time off through their temp agency. Two years ago, I asked for a raise, didn't get it and gave my notice. Then, management decided to increase my commission but not my hourly rate. So my question is, should I be upset that I am the lowest paid hourly worker here by $3/hour? Granted, if you factor in the monthly commission, I can make $14 to $20, but it's not guaranteed. As I am writing this, it sounds quite bizarre that I would have to bother... but I feel like my hourly should still go up? Am I being completely ridiculous??? ~ Maddy

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How to Handle Conflict with Co-workers When HR Gets Involved

How to Handle Conflict with Co-workers When HR Gets Involved

Dear Office Mom,

I was recently reported to Human Resources because of an argument I had with a co-worker. When the HR person met with me, she said that several of my other co-workers told her I was "combative and dismissive." She didn't go into specifics, nor did she say who these people are. She only gave two examples of this "combative" behavior (one of them being the argument that kicked this off). She says that I am now being investigated. I'm really floored by this. It really isn't typical of me to get into a fight with a co-worker, and this is the first time I've had a complaint lodged against me in the four years I have been there. I also feel I have a right to know who is saying things about me and what they are saying. Can I require them to turn that information over? ` Confused in Indiana

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Why Being in a Rut Might Be Your Greatest Opportunity Yet

Why Being in a Rut Might Be Your Greatest Opportunity Yet

Dear Office Mom,

I’m feeling like I am in a rut professionally. I have a good job in marketing, but I don’t feel challenged. I’m not dissatisfied with anything in particular, but I’m not motivated or excited and I think it’s affecting my creativity. I can’t decide if I should get a new job or stay where I am. I get conflicting advice from my mom (do not leave) and friends (find your passion). Do you have any advice? -- Sarah

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How to Work with a Toxic Boss When Leaving Isn't an Option

How to Work with a Toxic Boss When Leaving Isn't an Option

Dear Office Mom,

I finally found a job with a salary that I can support my family with. After 30 years, I can finally pay my bills, make ends meet, and possibly get myself out of debt. Here lies the problem. This job is the most toxic position I’ve ever held and the owner (my boss) is impossible to please and verbally abusive. She is cruel (with a smile on her face) to everyone in our office. I cry everyday, have nightmares, am depressed, and my anxiety is out of control. It has taken over my whole life and I am unhappy 24/7. I don’t want to be selfish and quit when my family desperately needs me to stay at this job. I will never find another position with this salary again (it’s taken me 30 years to find this one). I am thrilled that I can finally pay my bills, but am worried about my mental health and happiness. Please help.

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How to Take on a Middle-Aged Mean Girl and Restore Peace at Work

How to Take on a Middle-Aged Mean Girl and Restore Peace at Work

Dear Office Mom,

I am a banker with a difficult colleague. My boss knew me from a former employer and brought me in. When I joined the team, an older colleague, who was hired four months before me (she was laid off in her previous job) made it clear to me and others that she wanted nothing to do with me. Each morning she greeted others by name but ignored me. She eagerly showed junior team members the ropes, but never once spoke to me. We worked on a project together and she refused to talk to me, or copy me on emails. She declined to join meetings if I was attending. I told my manager and made some attempts to make her communicate. She is friendly to everyone else and seems to be respected and liked by others. I feel gaslighted. Why does no one else seem to care about this bizarre and unprofessional behavior? Or that a middle-aged woman is behaving like a 6th grade mean girl? - Lisa

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How to Get Your Boss to Stop Overpromising so You Can Stop Apologizing

How to Get Your Boss to Stop Overpromising so You Can Stop Apologizing

Dear Office Mom,

My boss makes promises to others that I have a hard time keeping. The dynamics are these: He's at the C-level and makes promises to his peers without asking if it's doable first. His philosophy is to always say yes and then figure it out later. However, he seems to have little understanding of the complexities and the practicalities of the promises he makes. I was in a meeting with his peers and they became a little angry, asking "then why did he say this could be done by such-and-such a date?" I didn't know what to say, and it was embarrassing. I need to convince my boss he needs to review the work requests with me before committing. I wish I could go to the other people involved and tell them the actual situation. What can or should I do?

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How to Write a Thank You Note When You Don't Want to, but You Need to

How to Write a Thank You Note When You Don't Want to, but You Need to

Dear Office Mom,

I always write a thank you note to clients at the end of a project. I need advice on how to end on a good note with a client when it wasn't the easiest job, but I want to leave a good lasting impression. This client was hell to work with, but now that they have the product is happy and pleasant. I don't want to work for them again, but other business could still spin-off from the project we worked on together. Anything would help! -  L. Marie

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How to Bounce Back After a Promotion Doesn't Go as Planned

How to Bounce Back After a Promotion Doesn't Go as Planned

Dear Office Mom,

I was just promoted to a new role within a health organisation in the UK. Less then two months in, my manager let me know I was trying too hard, she is worried about me and that I have lost my sparkle. I have not had the chance to enjoy my promotion because some of my peers have not given me support and others were angry because of the promotion.  I have lost respect towards my manager because of her lack of support. Am I wrong or was it sabotage, or am I not good enough because I work hard? I am upset and not able to sleep well. I am thinking I want to move on to another job as I am not happy. Please advise me. Thank you. - Fatima

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Is Finishing Up Your College Degee Going to Pay Off?

Is Finishing Up Your College Degee Going to Pay Off?

Dear Office Mom,
I’m 29, over-worked, underpaid and miserable. I graduated from High School at the top of my class and everyone assumed I would go out into the world and cure cancer or something, but that hasn’t happened…(yet). I made some poor decisions and dropped out of College before finishing with 32 credits to go.  And now I feel stuck in a career with no advancement in sight in a profession that bores the hell out of me. Is it worth going back to school? Or, can I get to the next level without finishing my degree? - Kelly

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How to Handle a Workplace Bully

How to Handle a Workplace Bully

Dear Office Mom,
I have a new co-worker. She's only been working here for two weeks and yet thinks she has a right to boss me. She bullies me around constantly and yells at me. She is more educated than I am and doesn’t need this job. I need to work. I have to work alone with her so others do not see her behavior once they leave for the day. When managers are around she is very sweet and they just love her. What do I do? - KJ

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How to Handle Conflict with an Older Co-Worker

How to Handle Conflict with an Older Co-Worker

Dear Office Mom,
I'm having a battle of the generations with my co-worker. She's older and set in her ways. She's got seniority in more ways than one and her word is gospel. I'm in my early thirties and open to trying things differently (mostly more efficiently) and have no issues voicing my objections. We don't really mix. So far there haven't been any knock-down, drag-out fights, but you can start to feel the tension. There is so much I can learn from her and would love to have a solid working relationship with her. Any advice?  - Andrea

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How to Respond to Your Boss' Negative Feedback

How to Respond to Your Boss' Negative Feedback

Dear Office Mom,

I'm in my mid 20's and currently, work for a not for profit organization in finance. I am currently learning to do new tasks that are at a higher level. We got along well before she became my boss however now my boss often criticizes me and because we have an open plan office space everyone can hear her. She often says things like I'm trying too hard, that I'm wrong, or she makes me re-correct tasks 3-5 times, and overwrites my comments in report writing and letters. She raises her tone at me when I do things wrong. I am the youngest in the office of older, mature women so it may be my age.  What should I do?  - Anna

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Tips to Get Back on Top After a Demotion

Tips to Get Back on Top After a Demotion

Dear Office Mom,
I'm a recent college graduate and secured my dream job in Event Production after a lengthy interview process. Things were great for a couple of months. I was enthusiastic about my future and thrilled to be getting experience right after graduation. I gave up nights and weekends to learn, meet with clients, shadow and facilitate events. Out of nowhere I was pulled aside and told I was going to be sidelined because I was "too inexperienced" for the job I was hired to do and they wanted me to learn the fundamentals before having me out there on my own. They told me 6 months. Icontinued to sacrifice my personal time to prove my worth. It's coming up on 6 months and they haven't mentioned it yet. Any ideas? 

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Tips to Stop the Food Bandit at Work

Tips to Stop the Food Bandit at Work

Dear Office Mom,

Someone has been stealing food from our office refrigerator. Sad to say, it looks like it's my boss! I had to go to her office to get something and on my way out I glanced down and saw my lunch bag crumpled up in her trash can.  I opened it and my Lean Cuisine with my name on it was inside. I can’t believe she stole my lunch! I don’t know if I should say anything or not. My friends say no way, but this is just wrong and I am pissed. What do you think? - Kelly

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How to Bounce Back After the Boss Gives You Negative Feedback

How to Bounce Back After the Boss Gives You Negative Feedback

Dear Office Mom,

I just started a new job with a new company, and my boss told me she thinks I am “trying too hard”. I am shocked. I guess I was just excited and trying to do my best. I was hired because of my background and because in my last job I got great reviews and was promoted several times. She said I was coming on too strong, and I was intimidating to my team. I don’t know what to do. I’m keeping my head down and just doing my job.  How much should I change, or should I start looking for another job now -- Danielle

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How to Handle Customer Feedback When You Disagree: I'm not rude!

How to Handle Customer Feedback When You Disagree: I'm not rude!

Dear Yom,

My manager gave me some feedback last week, and I’m having a hard time processing it. Apparently a customer complained that I had been rude. Another customer complained last month. My manager said she knows that I'm direct and sometimes seem unapproachable around the office. I don’t socialize much at work. I come in and focus on my job.  But I don’t think I’m a rude person. I’m polite, and I respect others. She wants me to think about the customer’s perception and we’re going to talk about it in our next 1-on-1.  Do you have any suggestions for me? - Sam

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