A Weekly Q&A Column About Professionalism, Etiquette and Problems in the Workplace
by Sue Morem
Lies and Rumors
Dear Sue: An employee I work with went to my director and told
her I that I said terrible things about her and was looking for a way to
get her fired. Shortly after this happened I was demoted. When I learned
what had happened, I had a conversation with the director about this
alleged statement. I assured her that it was a lie and that I had not said
such a thing. I also asked why she was so quick to believe the employee,
but she didn’t answer me. I told her there was a witness to what happened,
but she never made any effort to talk with that person. I am a good worker
and loyal employee, but things have gone from bad to worse at work.
I sense that my director is trying to make things bad for me in the
hopes that I will quit. I am not a quitter, and really need the income,
but can’t stand the stress of working under these circumstances. What can
– Victim of rumors
Sue Says: I commend you for approaching your director about what
happened, however, since talking with her didn’t accomplish much, you may
need to try talking with her again.
I am sure your director is hurt by what she heard, and perhaps confused
herself about who to believe. I am not sure if you have talked with the
employee who instigated the problem, but it may be time for you to do so.
Try to determine what was said and why. Without blaming or scolding,
acknowledge that there has been a big misunderstanding and that you would
like to get to the bottom of it. Perhaps you can request and set up a
meeting with the director and the other employee. Let it be known that you
have no intention of quitting and that you would like to resolve the
issue. When you feel you have done all you can, let it go.
Time has a way of healing, and cordially to everyone, chances are that
your director will see your true character.
Don‘t allow yourself to be forced out of a job you want to keep for
something you didn’t do. Someone spread a rumor about you that wasn’t
true, which is bad enough – but even worse if you give in and quit. Get
what you want by taking control of your career and reputation.
Dear Sue: I am part of a family owned business and I am
absolutely miserable. My husband and I run this business together.
Although I would rather do something else such as go to school, I am
needed here. I am unhappy because I have no idea how to handle some of the
details of the business. I am young, and sometimes feel all alone in
trying to be responsible for so much because it is a small business. What
can we do? – Married to the business
Sue Says: First, you need to talk with your husband and tell him
how overwhelmed you are. Don’t do it in the middle of a busy day, but at a
time when you are away from the office.
Second, you need to determine if you have an interest in the business
or not. Are you working there out of obligation? If you could go to school
and learn the skills you feel you are lacking, would you be happier
working there? If so, there may be a way for you to go to school and
continue to work in the business.
It is important to realize that you do not have to be stuck in this
business forever. Although it may be difficult to think of leaving since
it is your business, people make changes all the time. You need to look at
your options and your vision for your future. You are too young to feel
that you have no dreams to pursue and stay in a job you loathe.
Consider hiring help – too often in a small business, the owners feel
the need to do everything. Delegating some of the work load and getting
help is essential. You have many options available to you. You need to
explore them and make some decisions about your future before you begin to
see even bigger problems in your business – or worse yet, your marriage.
Sue Morem is a professional speaker, trainer and syndicated columnist. She
is author of the newly released
101 Tips for Graduates and
How to Gain the Professional Edge, Second Edition. You can contact her by email at
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her web site at
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