A Weekly Q&A Column About Professionalism, Etiquette and Problems in the Workplace
by Sue Morem
Dear Sue: I am the "problem". I am the one other co-workers can't stand. And here's why:
I am a born leader, and a good, efficient manager, but am always the "New kid", and the two don't mix.
Usually, I am right, but I am the wrong person to be right at that time, or that incident.
Lastly, I am petite, blonde, and vivacious. Which means that all the other women automatically have doubts about me. I am not a particularly compassionate or gregarious sort, and it's
difficult to hold my tongue, which I try desperately to do all of the time.
Please help me find my way in this corporate snake pit!
- Shepherd with no flock--and no Job
Sue Says: Let me see if I've got this right; even though you are a great leader and manager, and your assessment of things usually is right, you are out of work because you are young,
attractive and outspoken.
I don't doubt that other women may feel threatened by you, or that your timing may be off. However, I do believe that most disadvantages can be overcome.
It is true - some women feel threatened by other women, especially when they are attractive and confident women. However, there are many women who excel anyway.
You say you aren't terribly compassionate; work on having more compassion. You say you have difficulty biting your tongue; focus less on what you have to say and more on listening to the ideas
and opinions of others. You say you are not the gregarious type; try being more sociable by taking an interest in others.
Rather than focusing on what you can't control, work and focus on the things you can. Anyone can find reasons for their troubles at work, and some of the most successful people are successful
because of the obstacles they have had to overcome. This is your obstacle, now do what you need to overcome it. You already have taken the first step by writing to me. I know you'll make it!
Dear Sue: I work for a company that is allowing an employee to verbally abuse and harass me. I've been told that she is needed at this company, and that I need to find ways to deal
with her behavior.
I am her immediate supervisor, and the company feels that it is my job to try to keep her happy. This situation and her behavior has destroyed my ability to work. As a result, I am leaving
and have already given my notice.
Now I am wondering if I should sue for harassment or call the human resources department to let them know that I've considered suing and that they need to watch her more closely.
Incidentally, the HR department knew of the harassment yet did nothing about it except tell my supervisor to handle it. What should I do?
Sue Says: You can talk with someone in human resources and tell them the reason you are leaving and how disappointed you have been in the lack of attention to your complaints.
I am not sure I know what you want - are you looking for some type of monetary compensation, an apology or what?
Do you have a new job? If so, you may want to start fresh and leave this experience behind you. Lawsuits can be time consuming and drawn out over many years. Do you want to continue to focus
on a situation that got so bad you chose to leave, or move forward and start over without looking back?
If any of you who are reading this have been in a similar situation and gone through a lawsuit, what advice would you give to "Harassed"? Please let me hear from you and I will
print your responses in a future column.
Dear Sue: I just quit my job two weeks ago because I did not get the raise that I felt I deserved. In addition, my team leader went on vacation and I didn't get my full pay, even though I
worked the hours. What shall I do?
Sue Says: Ask for what you feel you deserve, and start looking for another job.
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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