Marie McIntyre, Ph.D

Marie McIntyre,Ph.D., has more than 20 years experience as a manager, business owner and the HR director at a Fortune 500 company. She's authored two business books and writes a nationwide newspaper column. Her web site, www.YourOfficeCoach.com, offers a variety of career success strategies.

Content Posted by Marie McIntyre, Ph.D

Nothing lined up? Think twice about leaving a résumé gap

Q: “After three months on the job, I have concluded that this is a toxic workplace. I originally took this position just to have a paycheck, but now I feel trapped, because my long hours leave me no time to look for another job. Even though I’m a new graduate, I have enough savings to last for a year. Should I consider quitting?” Fed Up 

Our manager keeps asking for our money!

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 

When vagueness is your friend

Q: “I share an office with a very nosy woman. ‘Tricia’ constantly monitors my activities and asks what I’m doing. My job involves spending time on the Internet, so she probably thinks I’m Web surfing. Tricia seems jealous of my friendship with other co-workers and frequently inquires about their personal business. Although I love my job, I’m becoming paranoid about my office mate. What should I do?” Tricia’s Target

Always measure the cost-benefit ratio of complaining about the boss

Q: “Without meaning to, I have created a big problem with my manager. I have doubts about his technical skills and feel that he needs more training. Since I didn't want to tell him this, I decided to take some of my technical concerns to his boss. His boss escalated our conversation into a formal discussion with human resources. As a result, my manager is now aware of my feelings about his technical ability. How can I repair our relationship?” Worried

It's definitely nepotism--but is it too risky to call it out?

Q: “Management allowed my boss to hire one of her relatives, even though this is against company policy. My manager and ‘Wendy’ were not close before, but now they carpool, eat lunch together, and even plan joint family vacations. My concern is that Wendy is not being properly supervised. Her work is often incorrect, but my boss constantly makes excuses for her. The executive who approved Wendy’s hiring has left, so our current management may not be aware of their relationship. I don’t know whether to report this policy violation or just ignore it and focus on my work.” Wendy’s co-worker

 

Meet language barrier head-on by talking about it

Q: “Because my English is not very good, I have a hard time contributing in management team meetings. I often feel ignored because the other managers don’t understand what I mean. I have a lot that I want to say, but my English always lets me down. Can you help?” Tongue-tied

You must be creative to get around the lack of a degree

Q: “Although I have no problem getting job interviews when I send out my résumé, these conversations always end the same way. Interviewers praise my experience, but say they would prefer to hire someone with a college degree. I don’t have time to go to school, so how do I get around this degree problem?” Qualified Applicant

It takes a plan to improve a lazy co-worker

Q: “Ever since 'Brenda' joined our department, I have been doing about 80% of our shared work. Brenda and I don’t have individual job descriptions. We are just expected to work together and get everything done. She is frequently tardy, takes long lunches and spends a lot of time on personal business. I usually wind up staying late to fix her mistakes and see that all the work is completed. Even after I confronted Brenda, she made no effort to change her behavior. When I complained to my boss, he thanked me for my hard work, but did nothing about Brenda. How can I deal with this situation if my manager won’t help?” Overworked

'Rater bias' in performance reviews: How to counter it?

Q: “I’m in the process of preparing performance reviews for my staff, but I’m already anticipating a disagreement with my boss. Our review form includes five ratings, with the middle one being ‘meets expectations.’ My boss will never approve a higher rating than that for anyone, because he says he expects people to always do their best. How can I make my manager understand that lower ratings are extremely discouraging to our best employees?” Mad Manager

The 'stealth promotion' promotes only confusion

Q: “The owner of our business wants to put me in a management position without telling the staff that they report to me. He’s afraid that if he officially makes me the boss, some “old timers” will be upset. He says that if I lead meetings, approve vacation requests and participate in performance reviews, employees will automatically begin to regard me as their manager. If the owner goes through with this plan, I will be held accountable for results, but will have virtually no control over the staff’s performance. Isn't he being somewhat unrealistic?” Baffled