Your Office Coach

Out of alignment with your business partner? Here's what to try

Q: “A colleague and I recently started a business venture as equal partners. Whenever he wants something, 'Dave' insists on getting his own way and refuses to discuss other options. If I disagree with him, he becomes very moody. Now he would like to bring one of his radio buddies into the business, which I think would be a huge mistake. I have suggested alternate ways that we might work with this guy, but Dave won’t even consider other possibilities. These arguments are wearing me out, so I’m tempted to just disengage and start my own company. Is there any way to make this partnership work?” Ready to Quit

Do you have enough of an argument for better pay?

Q: “I feel fairly certain that I’m not being paid what I am worth. When I was hired by this start-up company, the salary offer seemed quite low for someone with a Master’s degree. I only accepted because asking for money makes me very uncomfortable. Now I feel even more underpaid because I have been given so many responsibilities. I can’t help resenting my minimal paycheck. How can I correct this?” Below Market

Why the boss's irrational last-minute requests always win

Q: “I am extremely organized and always plan my work carefully. I know exactly which tasks I must complete every day in order to meet my deadlines. The problem is that my boss constantly comes up with ad hoc requests and expects me to immediately drop whatever I’m doing to focus on his latest whim. Instead of rewarding this impulsive behavior, I usually put his requests aside until I can work them into my schedule. He doesn’t like this, so he has given me a bad performance review. I really can’t figure out how to work with him.” Hopeless

Starting to lose it with your co-workers? Take a deep breath

Q: “Lately, I have become short and snappy with my co-workers. I am the secretary for a medical group, and this job is very frustrating. I have to answer the phone, respond to patients, transmit doctors’ orders, look up information, run errands and answer stupid questions. I don’t want to be rude, but it’s getting harder to bite my tongue. How can I stop being so irritable?” Not a Grouch

Is it credit-grabbing, or just the way an office works?

Q: “My boss appears to be taking credit for a difficult project that I am working on, even though it does not involve him in any way. The vice president of our department recently sent out an email in which she congratulated both my manager and me on the project’s success and expressed appreciation for our hard work. However, he hasn’t worked on it at all. Now I wonder if he may be exaggerating his role. What should I do about this?” Unrecognized

Are you really worth the money you think you are?

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

Step in when employees start targeting a co-worker

Q: "One of my employees, 'Katrina,' has some performance issues which I am trying to resolve. However, some of her co-workers have apparently decided to collect their own 'evidence' against her. They record Katrina’s arrival and departure times, track how often she leaves her desk, and scrutinize her emails for grammatical errors. My boss and I want to stop this harassment, but our human resources manager supports the perpetrators and says they are being helpful. What should we do?” Powerless Supervisor

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

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

Shooting for an MBA when you already have a job

Q: “I’m planning to enroll in an MBA program that allows me to continue working while attending school. After putting so much time and money into my education, I would hope for some sort of financial reward, but my company does not give pay increases for master’s degrees. I would be willing to change jobs or relocate if it meant that my degree would be recognized. How beneficial is an MBA?” Working Student

In over your head? Take a deep breath, evaluate

Q: “After working as a temporary administrative assistant for a small company, I was recently promoted to office manager. My boss said that she liked my professionalism. However, I’m beginning to wonder if I’ve gotten in over my head. I’m being given unfamiliar tasks, no one ever explains anything, and I’m not sure exactly what my job includes. Now I’m constantly stressed out from worrying about whether management is unhappy with me.” Afraid of Failing