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Office-Politics Letters

My sister is making my work life miserable

My sister ‘Katty’ got the job. Fast forward, Katty works here and has been making my work life miserable ever since. She constantly says inappropriate things in the office… Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds: “Clearly your problem is not just office politics, it’s family politics too. Unfortunately, family politics can be even worse because it can last a lifetime. You can’t ‘fire’ a family member… Let’s look at your options. You’ve said you’re prepared to lay down an ultimatum to HR. Either Katty leaves the company or you do. It sounds logical and decisive but is it smart politically?”

How do I get my loudmouth coworkers to be quiet?

I work as a Graphic Designer and while I love my job, I hate my work environment. They scream constantly… Erika Andersen, Author responds: “I feel your pain! I was just sitting in a coffee shop today, working on my computer, and there were two people in the corner yukking it up and talking really loud. It was frustrating and hard to concentrate — and I wasn’t even at work! So, what to do?…”

Two Gossipy Queen Bees Rule

The problem is that the group I work with… They eat lunch together nearly every day. They discuss those not at lunch. When confronted with an issue at work they discuss it as a group and fear voicing their opinions in meetings (two queen bees rule the roost). Jennifer Glueck Bezoza responds: “It is indeed, unfortunate, that this “clique” operates so tightly and exerts so much pressure on you (and others) to socialize outside of the office. It’s also unfortunate that particular group members fear the “queen bees” and hold back their opinions in meetings for fear of upsetting the “popular” voices in the group…”

My coworker humiliates me

In meetings, my coworker, humiliates me in front of everyone, she says demeaning comments to my face. She has sabotaged me with other teachers… Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds: “I bet by the time you finished writing that letter you knew what you had to do. But just in case you have any doubts let me tell you the message I’m getting loud and clear. Your coworker (let’s call her Teri) is a bully. You’re a smart lady and you’ve faced some very tough situations — and not wallowed in self-pity. So don’t do it now.”

Did my trainer sabotage my efforts?

“I’m currently in a 8-week internship and have 2 weeks left and need to finish strong and gracefully. During my internship, I was assigned to someone who’s supposed to teach me about the experimental methods and data analysis of my project… Next week, I want to ask my boss for a reference, but am concerned that my trainer potentially sabotaged my efforts.” Timothy Johnson responds.

Director to Intern, “You understand that you are not allowed to leave, right?”

“At the end of my internship, a wealth of job opportunities will be open to me. I already have two solid job offers that my current organization cannot compete with. The problem is that the Director of my organization and my immediate boss have both told me that I cannot leave, because they have invested too much time and money on training and “mentoring” me. The worst was a phone call from my Director where he said “You understand that you are not allowed to leave, right? We do have an understanding?” I laughed nervously and said “Okay, bye.” I was in utter shock.” Jennifer Glueck Bezoza responds.

Coworker is trying to get me fired.

“Last month I was written up at work for tardiness, I was given a few days off from work as part of my write up. Since then I am trying to lay low. I have straightened up and don’t want any problems. There is one coworker Eric (pseudonym) that told lies to my supervisor Jim, in an attempt to get me fired. Jim dismissed it and told me to forget about. Eric ignores me while on the job and I know he is trying his best to get me fired or in trouble. He keeps spreading lies. All I want to do is show up for work and go home. I hate all this childish behavior. I don’t want to tell my boss because I am trying to stay off of his and everyone’s radar for a while.” Rona Maynard responds.

How can I analyze crime if I’m stonewalled?

My job is to analyze crime. But I feel some of the detectives (one in particular) stonewall me – and then the other detectives always have his back. Timothy Johnson, Author and Consultant responds: “Because I volunteer with law enforcement, I was able to go right to the source for some insight on your letter. One of my good friends is a Lieutenant who oversees a role similar to yours.”

Don’t Be Fooled by Myths About Job Market

“Lately, there have been a growing number of stories about the double-dip recession in light of bleak economic reports on factory orders and consumer confidence. For the job seeker all of this negative news begins to mount until it feels that the search for employment is entirely hopeless.” writes John A. Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

The Job Hunt: Equal or Better Your Last Salary

“Due to the current economic conditions, companies are looking for the most profit-oriented leaders they can find. They also aim to attract executives and managers who have a record from past assignments that defines them as successful motivators. For many in this job market, simply finding and holding on to a job takes priority over the compensation level.” writes John A. Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Distant corner office vs Cube next to Boss?

My boss is taking the choice office at the far end of the new office space and if I move to stay close to him, I will have to give up the corner office and move into a smaller space. Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds: “Power in a corporation is not from material trappings or the title on your desk. It comes from being trusted and wielding influence — whose ear do you have? Can you speak directly to the top decision-maker, or is everything you say filtered through levels of management?”

I thought I had an OK work relationship but

I’ve come to the unhappy conclusion that I have become the scapegoat, or disliked co-worker, for this group of people, and I’m pretty upset about it…. Erika Andersen, Author responds: “It sounds like you’re really at a loss about how to establish better relationships with your colleagues. I have some advice for you – but you may not want to hear it. So, take a deep breath and jump in…”

The Job Hunt: Forget the money; Get the offer

“Inquiring about salary and benefits early in the interview process is a cardinal mistake for a job seeker. It is one of the primary reasons prospective jobs are lost prematurely. It sends a negative signal to the employer that you are more interested in yourself than in the company and focuses attention away from your capabilities and accomplishments, where the spotlight belongs.” writes John A. Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

A Twisted Tornado of Office Politics

I was recently involved in a TWISTED TORNADO of office politics. At the time, I had no clue I was actually in the “clique”. I got close to a fellow employee who knew everyone… Timothy Johnson, Author and Consultant responds: “The first three universal rules about dealing with office politics: 1) inhale 2) exhale 3) repeat. OK, now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s deal with your problem head on. Yes, bad people do get promoted because of their upward relationships.”

I’m almost an MBA. I don’t want to be known as just a nanny!

One of my new contacts originally approached me looking for a “nanny” but once we got to talking further, we realized that this new contact of mine had a full-time professional job opening… Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds: “Think of the nanny position as starting you on the first rung of a ladder. You are going to climb higher and get more experience on that ladder. That’s good if you are interested in childhood education…”

My boss is talking about me to everyone!

My ex-boss has been going to other managers/co-workers and making very nasty and just untrue statements about me in a professional capacity… Jennifer Glueck Bezoza responds: “Seeing the situation from your previous manager’s perspective for a moment, however, I could see how he would interpret your actions as antagonistic and threatening. He may have felt blindsided by your elevating the issue before giving him any direct feedback and allowing the opportunity for change. That being said, his retaliatory behavior is completely unprofessional and inappropriate. The fact that he would spreading malicious gossip about you indicates that he is a deeply insecure individual.”

What does she do all day long?

Recently one professional revealed that the other professional has been making negative remarks about me, comments such as “what does she do all day long?” Erika Andersen, Author responds: “First, I very much appreciate your professional maturity in being able to recognize the good points of the person who’s been making negative comments about you. That can be a difficult thing to do…”

How do I tell my fabulous bosses (who let me bring my baby to work) I’m leaving?

My company has said that want me to stay “long-term.” It is a 27 hour a week secretary job that I applied for to get me through the pregnancy and the first year of my new baby’s life but my real goal is to go to graduate school (5 hours away) and get a job in my field… Jennifer Glueck Bezoza responds: “Indeed, your bosses sound supportive and unusually committed to you and your family’s well being. I understand why you feel so torn at the prospect of leaving in ten month’s time.”

Sweet Sammy — the ambitious backstabber

I need your expertise in dealing with what I believe to be an overly ambitious backstabber… My boss and co-workers are like extended family to me. Timothy Johnson, Author and Consultant responds: “If you were playing a sporting event, would you be the type of person who just stood on the field and watched the scoreboard the whole game, or would you be actively engaged and playing? My guess is you would fall into the latter category, although in this sports analogy, you have become the stand-on-the-field individual.”

I’m a cookie monster on my own birthday!?

Yesterday was my birthday. Boss brought in cookies and cupcakes to celebrate… At the end of the day, I took home what was left – 3 cookies and 6 cupcakes. This afternoon I received an e-mail from her stating, “In case you didn’t know; when I bring in treats for someone’s birthday, it is to be shared by the whole department. Thanks.” Jennifer Glueck Bezoza responds: “I can understand from your recent description of events why you might feel unfairly singled out by your boss. At the same time, unprofessional behavior towards you does not necessarily give you permission to display the same attitude in return. In other words, it may be unfair that your boss reprimanded you for “copping an attitude” in return to the Lead’s (whom she left in charge while away), but your sighing, making side comments and sighing loudly is objectively unprofessional and disruptive to others around you.”

Are you the best person to be the manager?

I have just been hired as marketing manager of a team of 8 in a finance-related company. . This is my first team leader experience. I have 10-years very generic experience in marketing, in various industries but not that one. Erika Andersen, Author responds: “Are you sure you’re the best person to be the manager of this team? This is not a trick question, and there’s no right answer.”

Am I the (pregnant) fall guy?

I’m beginning to think I’m just the fall guy for the company’s financial problems, especially when he can’t come up with specific examples of how I am lacking in my dealings with others. Co-authors Marty Seldman, Ph.D. and Joshua Seldman respond: “There are no panaceas in this type of environment but it is important to cope in a way that can protect you and your family. You will see that a key theme of our advice is to not make things worse and deepen the vicious cycle you are vulnerable to at this point.”

Snake removal failed

I wrote to you last year… You tendered good advice. Since then, the agency has ruptured. Tragically, one Animal Control Officer committed suicide as a result of the toxic culture, gossip and loose lips at work… Timothy Johnson, Author and Consultant responds: “While I normally encourage people to put up a good fight when they believe in themselves and in their cause, I might recommend you update your resume and get as far away from this situation as possible (i.e., different governing body and jurisdiction).”

The Office Crab criticizes everyone

The office crab is a highly opinionated snob who glowers and sulks and spies, tells tales and criticizes everyone in writing to upper management. Rick Brandon, Ph.D. responds: “Sorry to be so crass, but “the Office Crab” clearly is a destructive, overly political, sabotaging, dark cloud, loud-mouth and under-performing know-it-all. Other than that, she sounds like a great gal! The knee-jerk reaction with such bullies is to…”

Looking For A Job? Go Green Collar

“Students preparing to enter or return to the nation’s colleges and universities in the coming weeks would be well advised to consider educational paths that lead to careers in burgeoning fields related to the environment, ecology and alternative energy. These areas are expected to fuel significant economic growth and job creation over the next decade, rivaling that of the late 1990s dot.com boom and the housing boom of the early 2000s.” writes John A. Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Wanted: Green Collar Workers

“Would you — or your kids — rather work at a ‘McJob’ or a ‘Green Collar’ job? Let’s hope we can convince lots of young people that green collar jobs offer far brighter opportunities than any McJob, because the world needs a lot of cleaning up (even without further disasters like the oil spills in San Francisco Bay and the Black Sea in 2007).” writes Franke James, Editor and Founder, OfficePolitics.com.

Book review: The Active Go-Giver

Wouldn’t it be great if the more you gave, the more you got back in return? If that were true, imagine how it would transform your workplace, your career, and even your family life. All of a sudden there’d be an upsurge in people wanting to give, give, give, instead of always taking (from you)! I decided to put it to a test. I would observe people I come in contact with to see if I could spot any true Go-Givers…. writes Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game.

Hell at work since my manager is my boyfriend

Honestly, it has been hell because my manager-in-training happens to be my boyfriend. I found myself in a difficult position because at times when he tells me off at work, it’s usually fired as ‘Neat’ and ‘Double Shot’ so as to set an example that he is no man of favoritism. Timothy Johnson, Author and Consultant responds: “Ah, c’est la guerre! Your situation sounds very challenging indeed – almost like a cross between “Throw-Down with Bobby Flay meets Dr. Laura.” But all office politics – whether they take place in the cubicle or the kitchen – really are matters of the heart.”

Coaching advice for executives that enable them to keep going at full speed

How do CEO’s balance maximum effort at work with demands in their personal life? Franke James, Editor & Founder of Office-Politics interviews co-author of EXECUTIVE STAMINA, Marty Seldman, and discovers some of the coaching tools he uses with his clients

I have made some horrible office politics mistakes

I have to admit that I know nothing about office politics and have made some horrible mistakes… After working for 16 years for a company, I was forced by the owner to leave. Co-authors Marty Seldman, Ph.D. and Joshua Seldman respond: “Your letter seems to indicate that you have some important values and strengths. These include high standards, honesty and a clear sense of integrity coupled with the “courage of your convictions.”

How do I approach my boss to discuss a raise?

I do not know how to approach my boss to discuss a raise. That being said, one more thing complicates things: My company is currently in the process of being bought out, and we are not financially sound. Timothy Johnson, Author and Consultant responds: “You have a very precarious situation with the company’s financial status and the current economic outlook. You’ve brought up some very good issues about managing your own economic worth in difficult times.”

Vacation? Soaring Costs Keep Workers Home

“As gas prices exceed $4.00 a gallon and the unstable economy threatens job security, Americans may want to consider taking shorter vacations closer to home to save money and possibly save their jobs.” writes John A. Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Bosses act like I don’t have a life outside of work

I had enough of the pressures that have been thrown at me and I quit my job by walking out. Dr. John Burton responds, “One way to think of your action is as a personal strike. Strikes are labor’s way of telling management that working conditions are unsatisfactory and need to change. In this case, management seems to have got the message.”

My Fortune in a Fast Food Job

I was advised I shouldn’t be telling anyone about being considered for the shift supervisor’s job because the reaction was that other employees had asked, “Is someone going to be fired?” Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds: “What is your fortune in the fast food industry? I think you’ve analyzed your coworkers and your situation very well but I’ll add in my perspective, too. Your letter raises interesting questions about management opportunities for mature workers and also the perils of revealing your desired career path to coworkers.”

Soaring Gas Prices Force Employers To Respond

“As record gasoline prices make it more costly for the nation’s workers to get to and from their jobs, a larger-than-expected number of companies have taken steps to help ease the financial burden on employees, including the expansion of telecommuting opportunities, public transportation subsidies and car pool programs.” writes John A. Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Dan Pink on the last career guide you’ll ever need

Franke James, Editor of OfficePolitics.com interviews best-selling author Dan Pink about his new book, The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The last career guide you’ll ever need.

I’m the scapegoat of jokes, being the only female.

Diana, the unlikely career advisor starring in The Adventures of Johnny Bunko, teamed up with OP Editor, Franke James, to answer the letter.

Making the jump from summer intern to full-time

“With evidence that the slowing economy is prompting employers to put the brakes on hiring, the summer internship assumes a new level of importance as the most effective road to post-collegiate employment.” writes John A. Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Lost a highly intelligent, motivated executive

Almost overnight, there seems to be little or no drive to move forward on a number of key initiatives she started. Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds: “What a timely dilemma! Innovation versus so-called ‘Job security’. However since you’re stuck in the middle of it, you may not feel quite as enthusiastic.”

Industry Expert: Resume Fraud Not Restricted To Lower Level

“The revelation last year that Marilee Jones, the dean of admissions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, falsified her educational credentials nearly 30 years ago is a timely lesson for this year’s crop of college graduates about to embark on their careers this spring: lies on resume may escape notice, but if discovered they can be devastating.” writes John A. Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Playing the Waiting Game for a salary review

Eight months ago my Manager said she would reassess my salary in six months time (said it was even written into her calendar). Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds: “Tongue-in-cheek news alert: “Bosses are human. And they are not perfect”. Remembering that basic truth, let’s see how we can find the right moment to encourage your Boss to think about you and your needs.”

Hostile coworker taunts me with “golden boy”

I came to a position about six months ago and am having to deal with a hostile coworker. Instead of calling me by my name it is always “golden boy” or “chosen one”. Timothy Johnson, Author and Consultant responds: “It would appear in your case as though your reputation preceded you. There’s something on your resume that made this person see you as competition. His approach for dealing with it is to try to get under your skin.”

Animal training to solve office politics problems

I have been having difficulty with a fellow administrator coming in behind me and directing employees as he sees fit, contradicting the tasks that I have already assigned. The problem is he is my husband… Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game collaborates on the reply with Amy Sutherland, the author of “What Shamu Taught Me About Life, Love, and Marriage: Lessons for People from Animals and Their Trainers.”

The Scorpion and the Turtle

Was I wrong in speaking with the HR assistant? Am I right in not confronting the HR assistant about confidential conversations? I would appreciate any thoughts. I can take any criticism. Dr. Greg Ketchum ‘Frasier of the Cubicles’ responds: “Now we don’t know what actions the HR assistant took or didn’t take so we can’t really get into blaming her. It reminds me in a way of the story of the scorpion and the turtle (it might have been a river otter!). The scorpion comes up to the side of a river and wants to get across, but can’t swim, so it sees the turtle in the water and asks if it can ride across on the turtle’s back.”

Marginalized like a fly on squat

I feel marginalized on a regular basis and no more entertaining or engaging than a fly on squat as far as the managers are concerned. How do I cope? Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “While it must be frustrating to continually hit a brick wall, if we assume that your observations are accurate, then the discounts appear less about your lacking power or being the victim of some agenda, and more about the organizational culture.”

The new guy I hired is HATED

I recently received a promotion and hired my replacement; however, everyone who now reports to him hates him. Erika Andersen, Author responds: “This is a tough one. It’s always hard to let someone go; it’s much harder when you’ve hired the person – and harder yet when you’ve hired him or her to replace you.”

Seven Ways to Boost Your Executive Stamina

“Executives need stamina to remain consistently focused on and energized about the task at hand. Getting too tired, busy or stressed also increases your chances of making career damaging mistakes. Here are 7 ways to increase your executive stamina…” write Executive Stamina co-authors Marty Seldman, Ph.D. and Joshua Seldman.

No longer the star in my boss’s eyes

Everyday I felt like quitting now as my loyalty is at its low, the only thing that pulls me back is that the company is still great and they are still good people around. Timothy Johnson, Author and Consultant responds: “You bring up an important issue that is too often neglected in business: psychological ownership. This is something you experienced when you first joined the company. Your boss, Andrew, who was also new, was very lavish in his praise and in demonstrating his appreciation.”

Chomping at the bit to get “into the game”

Office politics is keeping an uncooperative employee in a position that I am much more willing and qualified to do. What should I do, if there is anything I can do? Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “It does seem unfair that superstar athletes get the playing time, the big contracts, the media attention, and the special perks at restaurants or shows; while the referees look the other way when they foul an opposing player, or the player is allowed to break rules, skirt practice requirements, or worse.”

Industry Expert Feature: Workplace political debate has pitfalls

“With the contest and name-calling between the Democratic presidential contenders becoming more and more heated as the April 22 Pennsylvania primary approaches, the debate over which candidate should represent the party is undoubtedly spilling over into the nation’s workplaces.” writes John A. Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Rising star treated like trained monkey

I am a fresh, new female lawyer working under another female lawyer (a Partner in the firm). She gives me the most pathetic of jobs like ‘translating a one-line letter’, proof-reading letters and labeling files… Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds: “At first glance your Senior Boss’ actions do seem perplexing and confusing. From your perspective you are left wondering why she chose you, only to assign you menial tasks.”

I escaped but the snake is still loose

I inadvertently mentioned to a co-worker how this director used to treat me, and now she insists she must do something. My concern is around whether or not his behavior is criminal or if he is just ‘not a nice person’ to work with. Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “Well done to this point. You have handled an incredibly difficult situation in a mature, firm way and it seems to have been very effective. This does not mean that we would advise you to take it further.”

Fighting unfair dress code

I have worn jeans and a blouse with heels everyday to work. Up until today. Management now has a problem with this. I am very upset… Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds, “As you’ve explained it, it doesn’t sound fair to be singled out about your choice of clothing. Unfortunately management holds the power in this situation. Are you being picked on unfairly by management? Quite possibly, but they’ve found a weak spot that will be difficult to argue against.”

Credit Stolen by a Backstabber!

I have had first hand experience with a back stabber. I just completed a report on a new idea I had and I wanted another opinion on it before I presented it to my boss. Dr. John Burton responds, “Yes. That does sound like a classic case of back-stabbing. And it won’t surprise you to hear that the theft of ideas, and people taking credit for work they have not done, is happening in offices all around the world.”

Power-grab for my position with President’s nod

Very unexpectedly, without any warning or indications that there were any problems with my performance, I was forced to go on one month’s leave… Dr. Greg Ketchum ‘Frasier of the Cubicles’ responds: “Like any good detective faced with a mystery we’re going to start by outlining a list of questions that we have about the situation, because on the surface this makes no sense. Before we can put together any strategy we’ve got to have a better understanding of what is really going on.”

My coworker is hogging information…

I am fighting frustration and anger each day at work dealing with a colleague who hogs information on work related issues. Erika Andersen, Author responds: “Very frustrating! Being left out of the loop on important information can feel like an insult or a power play – and it definitely makes it harder to do your job. Let’s start with the ‘why’…”

Office baby boom elicits nasty jokes

I recently became pregnant… my supervisor joked that he was going to have new women employees sign a waiver stating that they would have their tubes tied before starting at our company. Jennifer Glueck Bezoza responds: “What is clear from your explanation is that you are a highly valued revenue-producing manager at your consulting firm. In addition, it’s obvious that your supervisor is nervous and insecure with the idea of your going on maternity leave, and his comments may be a reflection of his anxiety more than anything else.”

Each day is hell and affects my health

I can hardly go into work every day… The resentment is affecting my health… The new team lead is more like a dictator than a leader. Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds: “My observation of your workplace is that the political climate has changed dramatically. You already knew this, but perhaps coming from an objective source, the confirmation may help you to decide what is the right thing to do.”

Could somebody be bad-mouthing me?

Is it possible that jealousy is responsible for my sudden isolation? Could somebody be bad-mouthing me? Do people really do these things? It seems hard for me to believe since I would never react like that to a situation like this. Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “Do people really do these things? Yes, everyday! Our short-term advice is to try to build a close relationship with someone; promise them confidentiality, and ask them to explain what is occurring…”

Explosive coworker undermines bargaining talks

She is making negative comments at the bargaining table (about customers, management, co-workers, etc) and constantly bringing up “the way things were” 20+ years ago! Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds: “The negotiation strategy you’re playing right now, whether you like it or not is Good guy/Bad guy. Your overly emotional coworker (we’ll call her Courtney) is the ‘bad guy’. She represents the hard-to-control, hard-to-negotiate faction of unionized workers.”

My boss told me not to share the information

I am concerned regarding the last project I was given by my boss in private. I was told not to share the information with anyone. The project is as unreasonable as it is untimely… Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “It’s curious that you are being held to secrecy which raises concerns regarding whether your boss might have a hidden agenda or ulterior motive behind his project request…”

Not invited to the party

Over the past 6 months or so, I noticed that two of my colleagues were collaborating on projects between themselves and not including me as they should. Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds: “Essentially your question boils down to: How do you gain acceptance in a new workplace? Your dilemma reminds me of not being invited to a party — and how hurtful that can be.”

Defensive supervisor poisons workplace

The atmosphere is terrible. People no longer like coming to work, meetings are tense, and no one is speaking up. I took a risk and went to my supervisor’s supervisor… Dr. John Burton responds, “Going to your supervisor’s supervisor was a wise move. I don’t think you did it prematurely, rather it was the appropriate move after confronting your supervisor directly without any success in changing the situation.”

Part II: Law fellow excluded from inner circle

To be honest, I would rather spend time with my own friends than with these people (!), but worry that there are professional costs to being disliked and outside of this loop. Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds: “You raise a very interesting dilemma and one that perplexes many. Why are you being excluded from the Director’s dinner party? It doesn’t sound fair does it? Let me float a theory…”

Coworker presents my ideas as his own

My problem is that from the day this person has joined, he has tried to upstage me and take credit for my ideas and treated me like a junior. Timothy Johnson, Author and Consultant responds: “One of the first things I do whenever I’m having an issue with somebody is find out if I’m the only one. I know it’s nearly impossible to believe, but sometimes I do rub people the wrong way…”

Part I: Law fellow excluded from inner circle

The Directors have a clique, that is quite close, and I am regularly excluded from this group. Last evening, for instance, I was excluded from a dinner party… Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “Sometimes the reasons some people make the inner circle and others not are rational, other times totally random. Naturally, you know the stereotypes about power hierarchies within academia and even more within the legal sector…”

Political and power stock has mysteriously tanked

It has recently been brought to my attention that I have a “reputation” and I am no longer in consideration for that top team because my “reputation proceeds me.” Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “Your situation is not uncommon, where suddenly and mysteriously your political and power stock “tanks”. Our job is to help you figure out why it happened and what to do next.”

Kitchen Sink Politics

My partner leaves dishes in the sink and insists that our receptionist clean up after her and get her coffee, etc. I am from the other extreme… Erika Andersen, Author responds: “Your partner is operating under the expectation that it’s perfectly OK for the receptionist to clean up after her. You’re operating under the expectation that everyone is responsible for cleaning up after him or herself.”

HR person ‘fessed up. They ‘lost’ my resume.

The HR person finally ‘fessed up. The person who was handling my application quit and the job wasn’t transitioned properly. They had essentially ‘lost’ my resume. Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds: “Your resume did get through to HR but then somehow went astray. Life isn’t fair. How could you have predicted that the HR person would be let go? You couldn’t have. But a ‘belt and suspenders’ attitude might have protected you.”

Part II: Success has created jealousy

Now it is time for top management to honor their commitment to fund more positions within my division (and a raise for me), they are balking and actually doing the opposite, saying that “margins and growth aren’t everything, maintaining our old company culture is more important” Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds: “I think the bigger lifetime career decision revolves around corporate culture. What type of organization are you going to thrive in? Your new company appears to have given you some independence, but is essentially hierarchal. Your entrepreneurial mindset is at odds with the other divisions.”

Six coworkers in clique all went to school together

I work with about 6 people who all had relationships before they got the jobs, they all went to college together and the manager seems to only hire his friends. Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “You sound like you are in one of those situations where the inner circle or core network of people have strong bonds. Your concerns about being treated fairly are genuine and as you’ve indicated very few people enjoy feeling like an outsider.”

Part I: Success has created jealousy

Our success has created a lot of jealousy and bad feelings amongst the older, more established divisions who didn’t do quite so well. Christine Comaford-Lynch, Author responds: “Right now everyone’s intimidated by you — instead of celebrating your victory they are feeling threatened by it. This is an unfortunate cultural problem, and it starts at the top.”

Office Karma: I wonder when will she get hers?

One of the non-family members is a complete bully, spy, know-it-all, done-it-all, backstabbing, wretch of a person. I believe in office karma – but sometimes – especially when it comes to this person you have to wonder when will she get hers? Timothy Johnson, Author and Consultant responds: “Yes, there is such a thing as office karma, and no, you can’t decide when the deserving individual receives his or her comeuppance.”

Stressed by coworker’s personalities

My difficulty is that I am not the kind of woman who finds value in such rambling conversation and I abhor gossip. As I do not interact with them socially on the same level every day, I am criticized and they complain to our manager that I am “unapproachable”. Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “We can see that this is a difficult decision because there are several things that you like about this job.”

Managers fighting and dragging us into the mess

We feel trapped in the middle and don’t know how to get out…It’s the equivalent of Mom and Dad fighting and dragging the kids into the middle of their mess. Dr. Greg Ketchum ‘Frasier of the Cubicles’ responds: “First, you must have incredible coping skills to have hung in there this long in the “mental ward” atmosphere that your manager and the assistant manager have created. Clearly you’ve managed to hang onto your coping skills, but it seems like your “power” skills have been ground down, and need recharging.”

She was furious I blind-cc-ed the email to my boss

I blind-cc-ed the email to my boss, because I wanted him to see the level of PR his secretary has – and he’s in charge of PR and communications! Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds: “Now you have some PR and rebranding work to do for yourself… Your letter describes a minor spat, but it could easily turn into a major power struggle if you don’t take immediate action.”

Please explain email skewering Fortune 100 Boss

I know that I have done something that I am not supposed to do… writing electronic messages which contained sensitive information about my Boss for sole purpose of ranting and perhaps entertaining co-workers. Timothy Johnson, Author and Consultant responds: “Whatever is written in emails, Facebook, Blogs (comments or posts), or anywhere on the internet becomes a permanent electronic record. I’ve been bitten by this myself in the past.”

Ex-team member has my boss in his pocket

I am very bad at ‘playing the game’. He has my boss in his pocket. She instant messages him behind my back to explain things to her because she doesn’t understand the work we do and she trusts his competence more than mine. Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “You seem to have analyzed the situation, the players and yourself very well. This has been a costly lesson in organizational politics so I hope that you can at least gather the learnings and apply them in your next job. The classic mistake you made was what we refer here to in “Survival of the Savvy” as “wounding the king”.

I’m the quiet, reserved, stay at my desk type…

I know that you have to play the game sometimes but some of us are just not very good at it. I’m one of those quiet, reserved, stay at my desk, get my job done types. Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds: “You are very comfortable being an under political player. But keeping your head down doesn’t mean that you’re safe, or protected. It just means you won’t see it coming when you get whacked on the head!”

Next victim for sociopath boss and sidekick?

I work for a sociopath… He has one personal confidante for all company decisions… a young, inexperienced and an attractive women… It is believed they spend the time collaborating on how to terminate their next victim… Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “But he is clearly also what we would call an Overly Political style, as he exhibits many of that posture’s traits: unethical, arrogant, corrupt, and power drunk— and also capable of being verbally articulate, charming, and expert at maneuvering and working the system to protect himself. Above all, never trust him or Mata Hari since the definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. You WILL NOT CHANGE HIM.”

Nice Perfume, must you bathe in it?

Nice Perfume, must you bathe in it? That is what I want to say to her but I won’t…It’s the type of thing you can even taste it on your tongue a little. You can tell when she has been in the copy/work room because of the scent lingering. Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds: “I’ve had firsthand experience with a perfume-bather so I know how touchy this issue is. We had an employee who also ‘bathed’ in it. Every pore oozed fragrance. It was so repulsive I gagged….”

Termination blamed on reorganization, but untrue

I was just terminated from my job because of the so called ‘reorganization’. However, I knew the real reason was that I complained about the unfair, bad and abusive behavior of my supervisor… Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds: “I would be extremely cautious about signing — it sounds suspicious. However, at Office-Politics.com we can’t offer legal advice… But, I can offer you these ten non-legal suggestions which may be helpful…”

I rubbed my new boss the wrong way

Somehow I have managed to rub my newly appointed manager the wrong way. I’ve made a few mistakes (common mistakes all my coworkers make as well), but my partner and I are the only ones who get called out on these problems… Erika Andersen, Author responds: “When people treat someone differently – less favorably – than they treat others, it usually means they’ve come to some negative conclusions about that person. Unfortunately, those negative conclusions are often based on little or no data; they’re almost never stated out loud…”

Stay Tuned: The Spider’s Revenge

My spider sense has been triggered… I have convinced myself that the line I was walking on has now become a thread; If this indeed is a take out play by executive management, then I need to survive regardless of who wins… Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “Well, just what kind of entertainment firm are you with, a production company for soap operas? It certainly sounds that way! Seriously, we’re not making light of your disturbing scenario, but welcome to the politics club.”

Decision-making: Go for the money?

I am grossly underpaid… But I stay with my employer because I am getting some valuable leadership/management experience for my resume. For 50% more money, though, I am willing to give that experience up! Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds: “A job is so much more than the money. This new opportunity may be better for you — but if so, it likely won’t be because of the pay. The money will mean nothing if you’re unhappy or stressed (read some of the letters on this site). Before you jump to the new job…”

Hiding my brains from a know-it-all

I am tired of having to hide my own intelligence to protect someone else’s ego… but subtle cues that I should not have to muzzle my own solutions are obviously lost on her… Timothy Johnson, Author and Consultant responds: “I would encourage you to remember that you are not the problem. You made it through law school and passed the bar exams; therefore, you are not an intellectual inferior…”

Losing our Patience and Patients

One physician, Lulu, is habitually late – late with her patient appointments, late with making her contributions for paying the bills. We’ve told her that her tardiness is costing us money… and opens us up to certain liabilities. Arnie Herz, New York based lawyer responds: “You may have more legal leverage then you think. Perhaps you can sue her for breaching her fiduciary duty and her professional duties.”

Part II: VP caught in salary trap

Not knowing the political game, when a fellow “equivalent” co-worker asked me how much my salary was (after telling me his salary as well), I hesitated and told him. Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds: “Recognize that you fell into a trap which was set by your ‘more political’ and unethical coworker (we’ll call him Mike). He disclosed his salary, knowing that by doing so you would feel obligated to reveal yours. You took the bait and got caught.”

Part I: VP caught in salary trap

Not knowing the political game, when a fellow “equivalent” co-worker asked me how much my salary was (after telling me his salary as well), I hesitated and told him. Christine Comaford-Lynch, Author responds: “Now you know what the expression “loose lips sink ships” means. You made a mistake by revealing your salary, and now you’re being attacked.”

Part II: Demoted for criticizing my boss

Although I was a critic of his, I still performed my job with excellence and feel like he had no reason to demote me, save the fact that we don’t like each other. Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds: “It probably felt great to share your caustic opinion of him with your buddies, but did it achieve anything? It only alerted him to your dislike of him. In effect you ‘Wounded the King’, but you didn’t kill him.”

Part I: Demoted for criticizing my boss

Although I was a critic of his, I still performed my job with excellence and feel like he had no reason to demote me, save the fact that we don’t like each other. Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “Since you are very early in your career and we tend to look at things from a longer perspective, it is possible that this cadet has given you a tremendous gift, one that will repay you a hundred times what he has cost you.”

Company appears to be run from the bottom up

How should an experienced older worker deal with this disrespect from lower-level employees? This company appears to be run from the bottom up. Jennifer Glueck Bezoza responds: “Approach this temporary assignment with a learning mindset. Difficult people and challenging situations offer you the greatest opportunity to try out new techniques, develop new skills and gain greater self-awareness.”

Part II: Clerk “M” is spying on us

I work in a government law enforcement office… Clerk “M” collects information on everybody openly and brings it to our superior. We are not doing anything wrong. It is the constant eavesdropping and spying that is unwanted. Timothy Johnson, Author and Consultant responds: “Having volunteered for some local law enforcement agencies, I have learned that your profession lends itself (rightfully) to a certain level of paranoia. To be effective in your jobs, you have to suspect everybody to a certain degree….”

I’m accused of stepping on toes…

Recently, it seems that decisions I have made or questions I have asked are viewed as “stepping on others toes.” My supervisor vacillates between telling me all decisions must go through him to just make the decision… Erika Andersen, Author responds: “Let’s talk about “stepping on toes.” People use that phrase a lot – and rarely explain what they mean…”

Part I: Clerk “M” is spying on us

I work in a government law enforcement office… Clerk “M” collects information on everybody openly and brings it to our superior. We are not doing anything wrong. It is the constant eavesdropping and spying that is unwanted. Dr. Greg Ketchum ‘Frasier of the Cubicles’ responds: “Well, you’ve really got my curiosity up on all of the intriguing elements of your story: the government, law enforcement, and a civilian spy with the code name “M.” If I’m not mistaken I believe that the head of British Secret Service and the boss of James Bond was code named “M.” Huh, I wonder if there is some connection? This could be much, much bigger than we believe.”

I am not receiving the training I need

My supervisor and co-workers know that I am not receiving the training I need and generally have nothing to do all day. They have made comments about trying to place me on projects and get me out in the field. When they come up with something for me to do, though, it is usually a simple administrative task. Timothy Johnson, Author and Consultant responds: “Confucius once said, “Starving man wait long time for roast duck to fly into mouth.” You were hired because of your ability to work independently and take initiative… I’m curious why you have not done so with your own training.”

Jekyll & Hyde coworker like Russian roulette

Jolynn is a ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ character if ever there was one — half the time she is in my office joking around, confiding in me, complaining about our boss, complimenting me and my work, etc., BUT, the other half, she is nasty and negative. Erika Andersen, Author responds: “My heart goes out to you. Having a colleague like Jolynn can feel like playing emotional Russian roulette.”

Coworker impresses manager with bafflegab

When the manager comes, Ben answers her query in such a way that he makes it look as if what he is explaining is truly difficult. Timothy Johnson, Author and Consultant responds: “Your letter communicated a certain level of defensiveness about his tactics, especially when the boss comes and asks you questions. It may be that he is a better communicator than you are, based on her reactions to both of you. You might ask one or two coworkers to watch your exchanges with your manager. Are you possibly coming across (unintentionally, of course) as condescending or insulting or arrogant? Knowing the answer is only half of the equation; effectively communicating the answer is the other half.”

Part II: Chief Operating Officer ‘rigs’ Office Raffle

When the raffle was held, with much fanfare, the winner turned out to be the Chief Operating Officer, who made her delight perfectly clear, much to the dismay and shock of everyone else in the room. Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds: “Perception is reality. Whether or not the Chief Operating Officer actually rigged the raffle to ensure her win, she is certainly gambling with her reputation. No wonder her behavior has left a bad-taste in yours and other employee’s mouths.”

The Boss brings the office snitch soda pop

The secretary is what I call an “office snitch”….Has become too close to the male boss and uses it to her advantage…. He brings soda pop and shares them with her, but has never offered them to others in the office. Jennifer Glueck Bezoza responds: “I would ask that you objectively examine the stakes of her manipulation… I ask in the greater picture of life and work, how significant is it if one of the partners does a small errand on her behalf? Or if the partners gain useful information through this individual? Is this situation really worth your time and energy?”

Part I: Chief Operating Officer wins Office Raffle

When the raffle was held, with much fanfare, the winner turned out to be the Chief Operating Officer, who made her delight perfectly clear, much to the dismay and shock of everyone else in the room. Timothy Johnson, Author and Consultant responds: “Well, the ideal solution would have been that the executives did not have their names in the drawing at all. If the raffle was to build morale, they screwed up tremendously with this gaffe. But yes, if you are looking for affirmation on a fair solution, she should have politely declined and returned her name to the box for someone else to enjoy the trip.”

Where is the power seat in the office?

Without any significant reason the new manager proposes to the boss to change the sitting arrangement of a few other key managers. Is it a means to portray control? Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “In addition to coaching Executives on the right self-talk, preparation, executive vocabulary and how to respectfully interrupt to get their point across, we also advise them on where to sit. The best place to sit is…”

How to Send a Subtle Message to your Boss

The American Management Association asked Franke James, Office-Politics Editor and Inventor of the Office-Politics Game, for her opinion on “How to send a Subtle Message to your Boss?” Franke examines an imaginative range of subtle tactics, ruses and ploys and comes to a surprising conclusion. Read the article and then take our Office-Politics Poll featured in the article sidebar.

Commander having relations with enlisted female

Recently I discovered that my Commander is having sexual relations with an enlisted female. That is definitely against Army regulations… Timothy Johnson, Author and Consultant responds: “I talked about your situation with three friends and colleagues who have military experience. The answers came back somewhat varied, but all three agreed…”

Chased around the boardroom table by the boss

I have been literally chased around the conference room table by the head boss of the bank… Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds: “I’m going to attempt to help you by prompting your thinking — using the type of self-diagnostic techniques that emergency health manuals offer for First Aid…”

Part II: Clique fuels behind-the-scenes sniping

One member of this clique in particular has a past history of behind-the-scenes sniping and negativity, and I’ve met with her previously to discuss this with what I thought were positive outcomes. So it’s very difficult to address as a manager… Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds: “Behind the scenes sniping can drain energy from the best initiatives – how can the team be moving forward if one-half of it is pulling in the other direction? It’s a tug-of-war which can destabilize your authority and best efforts as a manager. So you are wise to be looking for ways to get this negativity under control. The good news is: There are many creative tools to help you fight this… I am going to recommend three different tools. You can have some fun with them, and they will help you to bring these naysayers and snipers into line.”

Part I: Clique fuels behind-the-scenes sniping

One member of this clique in particular has a past history of behind-the-scenes sniping and negativity, and I’ve met with her previously to discuss this with what I thought were positive outcomes. So it’s very difficult to address as a manager… Erika Andersen, Author responds: “These nearly invisible interpersonal dynamics are sometimes the most insidious in their power to erode the trust that’s essential to high-performing teams. I believe your instincts are sound…”

Is organization trying to force me to quit?

I am really starting to think that now that the office is here in this new city, they won. They are just trying to make my life miserable to the point that I just leave without them having to fire me. What do I do? Dr. John Burton advises, “I hear your concern about the need to stay employed and the costs incurred for a new home when you took this position. While those pressures are real, they are not worth the cost to your health and wellbeing that comes from staying in an uncomfortable situation. If you feel little prospect of a positive response from your boss, or if things just don’t feel like they are improving, I urge you to consult with a colleague or mentor outside the organization who can help you obtain an objective perspective and consider making a change.”

What tactics when I’m excluded from meetings?

When it comes time to make decisions on directions I suggest, I find out that the other three have held back office meetings and determined the outcome without including me. I’m told to partner with the other three but I end up being on the outside. Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “Are the three simply spending more time together due to prior friendships and therefore wind up “talking shop” that more innocently leaves you out, or does the mentor have a bit of an ulterior motive of wanting to see the people she mentors become more successful than others since it makes her look like she cultivates winners, or could there be more under-handed agendas at work in which they are purposely keeping you out of the loop to sabotage you? Why might this be?”

Stepped on by the Good Ole Boy’s and Hot Girl

The problem is the co-worker and new boss and staff are making life miserable for me. I am not part of the good old boys / “friends” club. Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “Unfortunately the early signs you are seeing are indicating a difficult scenario going forward. While not everyone who has power abuses it, the temptations are strong because short term the consequences seem minimal.”

‘Performing exceptionally’ and yet shafted again

I have no interest in staying at a much lower level than what I was hired at. The second demotion was insulting and publicly humiliating, especially since once again I have been “performing exceptionally”. Jennifer Glueck Bezoza responds: “I admire your willingness to remain positive and make the best of two organizational restructurings, which have resulted in you reporting to lower ranks in the organization. You seem to be getting mixed signals from the organization.”

Outranked: target of attacks and backstabbing

Not having enough rank to protect me, I’m the target of both direct attacks and backstabbing. From rumors, to sneers, to blatant sarcasm, to the managers turning their departments against me, it’s making my life very difficult. Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds: “You’ve painted quite a picture of intrigue, division, deceit and backstabbing. Let’s try to step back and strategize an action plan… You are a Pawn. Being a pawn may not sound like a good thing, but it can help you to understand your place in the battle.”

Is it OK for owner to flirt with employees?

A 42 yr old married friend of mine is an owner of a restaurant who tends to flirt with some of his female employees. The flirting can at times contain sexual connotations… he feels that it is harmless fun that creates a playful environment that discourages turnover. He also sees it as a way to gain insight into these employees to be better able to “control” them. Dr. Greg Ketchum ‘Frasier of the Cubicles’ responds: “Now, let me look at another issue of concern you raise… I’m trying to think of the last time that I flirted with members of the opposite sex as a way of gaining insight into them “to be better able to ‘control’ them.” Huh, I’m thinking and thinking and oh I know: Never.”

Testified against Boss, now he wants me fired

My boss is trying to get me fired… I work for government (thank you for your sympathy) and last year there was an investigation on his actions and I was called in to testify… Timothy Johnson, Author and Consultant responds: “Once the investigation was complete and he wasn’t fired following your testimony, did you attempt to extend an olive branch and make peace, or did you just sweep it all under the rug and pretend it never happened?”

Management drags feet to halt bullying

I went to my managers and complained. They agreed that they knew all about the problems and kiddingly said I had been warned… Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “Sometimes busy people or conflict averse systems want to “wish away” the problem. So if you don’t succeed, try, try again. Don’t drop the job request after not hearing back, and don’t just let the complaint against your “poisoning pal” whither away. Persistence is required… Sometimes fear of lawsuits is the only deterrent. ”

I am recovering from a disastrous office party…

I need to recover from a disastrous office party where I got too drunk. Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds: “Yeow!! You really got yourself into a mess. So how do you mop it up? First, an apology to the VP is in order. You should also…”

Staff won’t obey rules… I feel like a dictator.

I’m having some trouble getting employees to follow some simple procedures without turning the office into a police state. Erika Andersen, Author responds: “Getting people to change their behavior is tough – especially when they’ve been doing things a certain way for a long time and, from their point of view, it’s working for them. Basically, you’ve got two choices: you can make it more appealing to change, or less appealing to continue to behave in the same way.”

Part II: The clique makes me feel like I’m in high school

I am an attorney — specifically, a prosecutor. My problem is that there is a dominant clique in my workplace, and I have been regularly excluded (implicitly and expressly) from social events. I feel as though I’m in high school again, and my co-workers have formed an exclusionary clique comprised of only the “cool” kids. Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds: “I’m going to approach this from a different angle. The history of hurts and slights that you’ve disclosed is important, but it’s old news. From the sounds of it you’re a super bright guy. You can’t waste time nursing old wounds or wallowing in self-pity. I want to devise a way for you to turn this around and start attracting people to you.”

Part I: The clique makes me feel like I’m in high school

I am an attorney — specifically, a prosecutor. My problem is that there is a dominant clique in my workplace, and I have been regularly excluded (implicitly and expressly) from social events. I feel as though I’m in high school again, and my co-workers have formed an exclusionary clique comprised of only the “cool” kids. Guest Adviser Julie Fleming-Brown, author of Life at the Bar responds: “The question then becomes whether and how you can either stay and accept (rather than be resigned to) what’s happening or change it. Accepting is a viable decision, but because of the tone of your letter, I’m focusing this response on how you might work to change it — which could also lead to acceptance as well.”

My old-supervisor answers to me now…

I have quite the dilemma, though most people think it would be a dream. My old-supervisor answers to me now. Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds: “Nice to see that the ‘good guy’ got promoted. But as you point out in your letter, it does pose some complications. To help answer your letter I’ve pulled in Robert Sutton, author of The No Asshole Rule.”

Should President get inside scoop on evil plot?

Since our current boss is part of the evil plot to take over the world and her boss is a walking toxic billboard along with his boss; would it ever be appropriate to schedule a meeting with the President to give him the inside scoop? Timothy Johnson, Author and Consultant responds: “If I understand you correctly, your management felt threatened by their direct reports, so they removed them, not thinking about the ramifications to the department or to your customers. Now you want to know if you should talk to the President of the University to tell him how evil they are and all they’ve done?”

It’s a Zoo where I work

Most of my coworkers engage in chatty conversation that, while gossip, does not appear to have a malicious intent. I do not believe it is possible to stop the chatter, since it’s a zoo around here and lots of very odd things happen. Timothy Johnson, Author and Consultant responds: “There are some things to think about when dealing with the type of individual who thrives on gossip to bring down other people. Generally, this individual tends to be insecure about himself. This is demonstrated by the fact that intelligence is now an accused crime. Another thing is that this individual will not be accountable for the information that he is using against another person; innuendo serves as judge and jury. If he is doing it to you, chances are high that it is happening to others as well (you just happen to be the weakest of the herd at the moment)…”

Demoted supervisor wants my job!

From a trusted employee I have learned the demotion was done because the employee is uncomfortable with their current post and wishes to have mine in which she will be reinstated to the supervisor level. Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “You are definitely using several key principles of Organizational Savvy and we will try to add to your skill set to help you maintain your current position.”

Is cancer survivor ‘taking advantage’ of company?

My boss said that he felt that I was taking advantage of the situation and him. I didn’t quite know what to say… How could he possibly think this of me? Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds: “It sounds to me like you’re doing the best you can!…Through no fault of your own, and despite your best efforts, you have become a liability for the company. We cannot rely on employers to ‘do the right thing’ in times of adversity like this. You need the protection of the law…”

Part II: Needy coworker leaves me feeling swindled

The Admin in our department just went through a divorce and has 2 children. Long story short, cubicles are not private and we have all tried to help. Jennifer Glueck Bezoza responds: “You seem like a generous and thoughtful person who goes out of her way to be a good Samaritan. There are many individuals in this world that would appreciate such benevolence. This administrative assistant, however, does not sound like one of them. She sounds like an ungrateful woman playing the part of “victim” with drama and manipulation.”

Part I: Needy coworker leaves me feeling swindled

The Admin in our department just went through a divorce and has 2 children. Long story short, cubicles are not private and we have all tried to help. Arnie Herz, New York based lawyer responds: “You have a good heart. Here is my rule: You need. I give. You benefit. You appreciate me. If all four do not come together, it’s a waste of my time, energy and money. It creates resentment in me and I feel depleted.”

Stuck in the Law Firm from Hell

Help! I am stuck in the law firm from hell, and I am not the only one that thinks so. Arnie Herz, New York based lawyer responds: “Here you have a double whammy. The people you work with AND the work you are doing depletes you in a significant way. You need to find work that is fulfilling and people who are positive and supportive.”

Overly-Political coworker is making me look bad

Point is is that I think he is trying to make himself look better to the bosses, by making me look bad. Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “You surely are messing with what we label an Overly-Political person (OP) with all the traits of over-promoting, knowing where to be at the start of a project to take credit or blame others depending upon outcome, treating people only according to how much power they have such as J’s kissing up to your boss while dumping on worker bees, possessing questionable ethics and self-interest driven agendas, and being on a power/ego trip. The problem is that OP’s are very good at what they do, taking the admirable political astuteness we can all use and abusing it for wrong reasons.”

I’m shy… How can I be accepted at work?

I’m new in this HR firm – working as a front-desk officer – and I don’t know how to behave in order to be accepted, liked, respected and noticed. Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “We put your goals under the three “ethical politics” skill sets of (1) Know the Corporate Buzz, (2) Essential Networking, and (3) Balanced Self-Promotion in order to gain influence, make an impact, and move ahead in your career and have job satisfaction.”

Owner trusts a bully to run company

The problem is that the Boss has hired someone to run the place that is moody, rude and arrogant… Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “It’s amazing how many companies allow themselves to be trashed by unethical bullies. It can stem from various dynamics, and the appropriate steps (not panaceas) depend upon the diagnosis…”

Employee is planning to overthrow me!

He claims to his colleagues that he will be the manager soon. He knows all the top management… Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “The agenda seems clear in that he hopes to succeed you. For him to be this brazen in his behavior it is obvious that he believes that he has more power than you because of his relationships with senior management. His actions indicate that he has no fear of you.”

Don’t let your personal feelings blind you to a great opportunity

I am to work on the business plan my former company had mocked me for, which now they see as important… My stomach simply churns… Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds: “Your response to this new opportunity is that it is a bitter pill to swallow. You’d rather have been hired at this new company with a blank slate, a fresh start. But the reality is that the prime asset you have is business intelligence from your previous employer…”

Bullied ex-manager seeking justice

Every mistake he made was my fault. He screamed at me so loud that it was heard across the store from behind two closed doors and customers would ask me if I was ok. Customers called and reported it to human resources… Guest author Robert Mueller responds: “You are seeking justice. That is understandable… Documents. Witnesses. Evidence. In daily work life, these are important to making sound business decisions but in workplace politics they are often irrelevant. Frequently, so is unfairness. It may be that your former boss is a classic bully but…”

In hot water due to sexy item from Bachelorette party

Recently, a co-worker had an inappropriate item from her bachelorette party in the office, and was passing it around, teasing about it… I shot a picture on my digital cam. Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds: “Yikes! That’s quite a mess you got yourself into, with a nifty little camera and a tech savvy co-worker ‘webmaster’. The thing that really upped the ante was publishing it on the web!? The National Enquirer wasn’t buying I guess…”

Part II: My coworker ignores me and it is very cruel

The person beside me hates me for no known reason. She ignores me completely and it is very cruel. I say good morning and goodbye… Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds: “The ‘ignoring’ tactic that your coworker is using is indeed cruel. However once you understand it as a ‘tactic’ you will be much better armed to defend yourself. The funny thing is that ‘ignoring’ is a classic technique advised by Family psychologists to ‘handle’ unruly offspring who are prone to outbursts.”

Betrayed by confidants

Can you advise me on how to confront Will about the true source of this toxicity without offending him or inciting more harm by his friend the saboteur? Timothy Johnson, Author and Consultant responds: “You’ve learned a valuable lesson in a very difficult way. However, it is a lesson that many people need to learn when entering a new and unfamiliar work environment: be extremely careful about selecting your confidants. There are some people for whom blabbing is a food group, and it sounds like Will and Grace fall into that category. You were wise to distance yourself from them early.”

Part I: My coworker ignores me and it is very cruel

The person beside me hates me for no known reason. She ignores me completely and it is very cruel. I say good morning and goodbye… Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “What we don’t know is if this is a reaction to your personality and/or behavior or would she act this way towards anyone who came into the space. We always suggest that building a network is a very high priority and in your situation we think it is essential.”

The seasonal worker is disrespecting me

My boss is obviously not going to be in my corner if I go to her with yet another example of how this seasonal is disrespecting me and my position. Jennifer Glueck Bezoza responds: “There’s nothing more frustrating than interacting with an individual who is supposed to be your subordinate, but who actively disregards your authority. For someone who considers herself friendly and affable, I would imagine this work conflict is psychologically draining…”

Am I too nice? Staff are yelling at me!

All I want is respect from the staff members but b/c I never flexed any muscles in the past, they seem to think they can get away with murder. Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “Dr. Do-little — You unfortunately HAVE done “too little” to ethically enhance your power image, draw lines and boundaries or create a reputation deserving of respectful treatment.”

Coworker pointing out flaws in our finished project

A coworker, who wasn’t even part of the project is suddenly picking it apart – pointing out little flaws that everyone on the team is already aware of… Erika Andersen, Author responds: “What I’m going to advise may sound counter-intuitive, but bear with me: I think your best next step is to 100% listen to him.”

Lose our funding because of a few bad apples?

I am afraid we are going to lose our funding because of a few bad apples. The board of directors are not monitoring the situation even though it has been brought to their attention. Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds: “It’s clear from reading the daily newspaper, that seemingly small abuses, such as you are describing, can blow up and cause major embarrassment (and loss of funding).”

Surviving ‘wounding the king’ when the king is still around?

Is there a way to survive wounding the king when the king is still in the corporation? Can I somehow develop a relationship with him or work around him? Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “We hope you pat yourself on the back on how well you “get it”, understanding “wounding the king,” acknowledging that speaking truth to power can be done successfully or not, cultivating relationships with those in power in order to influence other stakeholders, discovering your corporate buzz and reinventing your image through targeted behavior changes, and taking what looks like a step backwards in order to take two forward.”

Wounding the king

We personally went and complained against the junior manager but nothing happened… I do not know how to survive in this company. This is my dream job and I simply love the work I do… Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “We describe someone in your situation as having “wounded the king.” The old adage is “if you go after the king, kill him or don’t go after him.” If you wound the king he is alive and knows who did it. In the work place wounding the king means criticizing or threatening the exposure of someone who has more power than you and will use that power to punish or marginalize critics.”

Should employees “kiss up” to get ahead?

Does it mean that one’s education and many years of company loyalty means nothing if you don’t kiss up? Dr. John Burton advises, “Behavior that may look like “kissing up” to someone who is cynical may in fact be a good working relationship. Is there perhaps a combination of personal warmth and competence here?”

Doing water ballet in the shark tank

I find my “non political, good work ethics-self” in the bad position of working with a woman who manages to do nothing, take credit for my successes and blames me for “our” mistakes. Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “At least we know you are NOT living on that river called De-Nile, since the clues of an overly political superior are obvious: fixing blame, taking credit, sabotage through patronization. You sound clearly as less political, self-described as having high ethics and a non-political mentality. This is all fine as long as you are not going beyond being “less political” to become “under political” with a target on your back you are so naive or perceived as having a weak image, knowing no one in power, or doing water ballet in the shark tank.”

Egotistical, self centered, sarcastic attitude loses sales

My supervisor has proceeded to upset a large majority of our advertiser reps with his “egotistical, self centered, sarcastic” attitude (ad rep words, not mine!). Arnie Herz, New York based lawyer responds: “You need to get beyond the “tattle-tale” fear. The current dynamic is not serving anyone – the owner, the customers, you, the other employees, and even the supervisor. Something needs to shift the status quo or this company will be extinct in short order. ”

I can’t stand the backstabbing…

I can’t stand the backstabbing of the general public. I have now become self employed… I refuse to stab myself in the back. Dr. John Burton advises, “While it is difficult to stab oneself in the back, you need to be aware of the injuries that are common to the self-employed; shooting yourself in the foot and falling on your sword.”

Coworker treats people like garbage because they dress “ghetto”

It’s my full belief that if an African American person dressed in baggy clothes walked into the establishment and was greeted by her, they would be treated entirely different than a Caucasian person… Dr. John Burton advises, “What you describe your co-worker doing is indeed reprehensible behavior. I commend you for your own exemplary behavior toward those who are disadvantaged. Were this a situation which had arisen only recently I would suggest that you take your colleague aside and speak with her about her behavior. That would be difficult to do with any moral authority at this stage, however, since you have stood by for some time and said nothing.”

Supervisor yells and belittles employees

My supervisor often yells at employees, belittles them, talks down to us and is very rude…. Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds: “When I was fresh out of college, I was hired by a wealthy, society lady… On my first day, I observed that she yelled at everyone around her. Except me. All the employees cowered in fear of her. I took one look around, and figured that I was in the honeymoon phase…”

Invasive Love and Radiological Romance

The lead radiology tech has been dating a female radiology tech who is under his management… Dr. Greg Ketchum ‘Frasier of the Cubicles’ responds: “It sounds like things have gotten a little too casual in the endovascular unit: favoritism, nepotism, arguing radiology techs and patient care potentially suffering from it all.”

Toxic Boss’ warning signals ignored

The publisher Boss told “stories” about firing previous employees (which he seemed to take great pleasure in) and discussed race, religion, and sex regularly. He actually asked me what my religion was, which I found out was a regular occurrence there. Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: ” The behavior you described we would label as “Toxic” and “Crazy Making.” What is the Learning Opportunity? We feel that you have a lot to extract about this because there were early signals… The publisher as you have described him demonstrates many of the classic traits of a sociopath.”

No skateboard, over 40 and face doesn’t fit…

My ex-line manager said the creative team doesn’t want me because they are creative, into skateboarding, and you are over 40 and your face doesn’t fit. Timothy Johnson, Author and Consultant responds: “Outside of the legal aspects, I would recommend some objective self-assessment and analysis. One of the first questions is why you are not among the favorites. Well, for starters, you appear to have a back-bone…”

Part II: The Lazy Manager

I just don’t understand how a company can hang onto someone who doesn’t pull their weight. Please advise. Erika Andersen, Author responds: “Sadly, you’ve stumbled into what has to be one of the most frustrating situations of modern work life: working for someone you don’t respect. We want to work for people who are good managers and leaders: we like having bosses who are the leaders we want to become. On a more mundane level, we like working for people who do their work, so we don’t have to do it!”

My co-workers see me as a “threat.”

A lot of my co-workers view me as a threat because I have many positive attributes working in my favor and, of course everyone is jealous of the girl that’s been there the least amount of time, but gets promoted faster! Christine Comaford-Lynch, Author responds: “Sounds like there is a lot of fear in your workplace — and they are projecting some of it on you. When this happens to me I always consider what it is that I represent to others. Why do others find you threatening? What do you represent to them? Why are you the target?”

Part I: The Lazy Manager

I just don’t understand how a company can hang onto someone who doesn’t pull their weight. Please advise. Arnie Herz, New York based lawyer responds: “It seems to me that Lazy Manager won’t change. Therefore, let’s focus on what you need to feel better about the situation.”

As Leader, how do I handle jealous sniping?

I have two employees on the same level of the employee ladder… I see that they are very jealous of each other. Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “While the old phrases, “comes with the territory,” “that’s the price of the dream,” don’t eliminate the problem, they provide helpful perspective so that you don’t become overly annoyed. Here are a few questions, tips and ideas to sift through as you decide which dynamics apply to your two children (oops, strike that… employees).”

How do I manage people remotely?

I have never directly managed people before, and now I will be supervising as many as 5 people, all of whom are situated in other states. Erika Andersen, Author responds: “First, let me congratulate you on your good natural management instincts: I think your automatic impulse to meet face-to-face with your folks is spot on…”

My boss is a self-serving ego-nightmare

My once loved job is now hell. I have considered moving and have had a couple of interviews but feel resentful that I should have to move. Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: ” You describe your boss as full of power-tripping, naked self-interest and ego gland hyperactivity, technically incompetent and unknowledgeable, interpersonally unskilled and rude, not a very nice person, a power tyrant and ego tripper, an overly political player who plays favorites and uses the new junior as a spy, and into a low-integrity good old boy network. But, Trapped, other than that, congrats on having such a great boss!”

Under Bosszilla’s Thumb

The director deserves an academy award for her manipulative tactics… Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds: “The way I see it, you have five options ranging from documenting to ridiculing to quitting to going into therapy…”

The Accidental Whistleblower

A few weeks ago I totally snapped and sent a letter to the board of directors outlining my concerns about the quality of decision making from our CEO; backed up with examples… Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds: “By writing to the Board of Directors you have inadvertently stepped into the role of whistleblower. It’s quite a fascinating chain of events that you’ve unleashed. Let’s step back and recognize the hot potato you’ve handed them.”

Part II: Haloed coworker throws others ‘under the bus’

This person constantly throws her co-workers “under the bus.”… We are also dealing with the “halo” effect in this case, since her supervisor doesn’t hold her accountable. Dr. Greg Ketchum ‘Frasier of the Cubicles’ responds: “Sheez, this woman sounds like a regular Typhoid Mary! With a bouillabaisse of bad behavior such as this, it’s hard to know where to start. It is such a ‘target-rich’ environment I feel like a kid in a candy store!”

Part II: Nice to a fault

I’ve cried over this torment as it hurts my feelings and it has made me feel less of a human being… I’ve never been anything but friendly and nice… Erika Andersen, Author responds: “Oh boy. It sounds like you feel completely trapped in this situation. So let’s start by just doing a bit of a reality check, and assessing your options. You really only have four choices…”

Part I: Haloed coworker throws others ‘under the bus’

This person constantly throws her co-workers “under the bus.”… We are also dealing with the “halo” effect in this case, since her supervisor doesn’t hold her accountable. Christine Comaford-Lynch, Author responds: “Ugh. I’ve been where you are, my friend. The halo effect may look like the person gets away with murder, but that untouchable glow is highly isolating. Because she feels “above the law” she is disconnected and disrespected by all around her. So she lashes out, throwing people “under the bus” because she feels so isolated, which only perpetuates the pattern. Sad, isn’t it?”

My new subordinate wants my job!

Beginning on my first day (yes, my first day!) one of my new subordinates began a series of troubling comments and actions including… Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “At least half of being savvy is being alert to signals and analyzing situations correctly. You have picked up the “tells” of a subordinate from day one. This person is demonstrating a variety of sabotage behaviors and is showing you that he is not afraid of you in any way. You are correct to take these actions very seriously and won’t be victim to “I didn’t see it coming”.”

Outrage at playing the game of office politics

HOW do I go back into an office environment and not be a victim of this game of ‘office politics’ again without being accused of not being friendly and personal with others? Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: ” Even though some companies are less political than others, none have repealed the laws of human nature. Even in the Girl Scouts of America, we hear there are lots of politics, so in a family-owned business, you unfortunately would be unrealistic to NOT expect these classic dynamics of politics that you describe: favoritism, a boss “kissing up” to get in inner circle of the family literally, being a “yes-man.” If there are no politics, check the people’s pulse in your company since they are probably dead! ”

Part I: Nice to a fault

I’ve cried over this torment as it hurts my feelings and it has made me feel less of a human being… I’ve never been anything but friendly and nice… Timothy Johnson, Author and Consultant responds: “Many professionals, including yourself, fall into the trap of thinking that “nice” is a dichotomy (either you’re nice or you’re not) rather than a continuum. ”

Missing My Halo

I had the “halo effect” bestowed on me by my boss for the two years I have been in this job… Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “Your boss’ behavior is causing you embarrassment and may affect your ability to lead your direct reports. This makes it a serious issue and we are glad that you are beginning to formulate plans of action and are reaching out for help”

Favorite has Boss in hip pocket. I am getting ulcers.

Before the arrival of this boss I loved my job and the company. Now I am getting ulcers… Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “Be very careful to be verbally disciplined, since that ulcer brewing means you’re swallowing a lot of anger that may be ready to be sparked at the wrong time in the wrong way.”

The boss’ little pet is a big snitch…

What do you do about a coworker who is not only a big snitch in the bunch but who is also the boss’ little pet? Dr. John Burton advises,” What you have described in a few words raises a major issue in the workplace, that of worker loyalty. Though employers usually seek to foster loyalty to the company, the deepest ties of loyalty in many firms run from employee to employee.”

Manager’s favorite is getting all the listings…

The Managing broker, who is also the Office Manager of the firm we are affiliated with, is hogging all the listings. Recently he has picked a favorite agent to be his partner. Is this ethical? Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds: “To answer your question I turned to an experienced and down-to-earth real estate agent who has been in business for many years.”

Office Favorite Makes Me Want To Abandon Ship

How do I handle an office favorite? We have one co-worker whom the bosses dote on and she can do no wrong… Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “Your bosses are demonstrating an unfortunate bias called the halo effect. The halo effect sounds like a positive thing but it has a negative effect on team members like yourself and eventually the bosses and even the recipient of favoritism…”

Part II: Why was I booted off customer training?

My Manager has taken the training of our customer service reps from my responsibility and given it to another person… Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “Sorry, Rick and Marty cannot answer your letter. This task has been assigned to someone else…”

When being nice is confused with “sucking up”

I was being sincere and thanking my Boss for seeing the good in people, and she wrote back to the office manager- “I just threw up in the trash can”… Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “The area of positive feedback is a complex one. Many people assume that it is universally helpful to relationships and always well received. Your situation is one of many examples that show this is not the case…”

Part II: Soups (supervisors) are giving me indigestion

In our office protocol it is established that the “soups” or supervisors are the go between for us and the techs. However, I get emails from the techs… Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds: “Although you have written for help in dealing with intrusive ‘soups’ and communication, your letter actually raises a ‘red flag’ that indicates your success may be in jeopardy.”

Part I: Soups (supervisors) are giving me indigestion

In our office protocol it is established that the “soups” or supervisors are the go between for us and the techs. However, I get emails from the techs… Dr. Greg Ketchum ‘Frasier of the Cubicles’ responds: “Being a former practicing psychologist I immediately recognized this as the “old double bind crazy-making-mixed-message-theory of how to make your employees nuts!””

Part II: I was let go unfairly. Should I tell Board Member?

I think I was let go unfairly, and am thinking about letting him know the unfairness of how I was treated… Tim Johnson, Author responds: ” So now you’ve been terminated by this OM whose tail you’ve covered, and you’re wondering if you should let your one perceived ally… a board member… know what really happened. I’m going to fall on the side of “no” here… ”

Part I: I was let go unfairly. Should I tell Board Member?

I think I was let go unfairly, and am thinking about letting him know the unfairness of how I was treated… Jennifer Glueck Bezoza responds: “I personally don’t see how attacking others he works closely with and has had longer history with, would enhance his perception of you. Instead, I might suggest…”

Part I: Why was I booted off customer training?

My Manager has taken the training of our customer service reps from my responsibility and given it to another person. Arnie Herz, New York based lawyer responds: “You have a few options. You can consult a crystal ball, a psychic, you can run through possibilities in your head, you can ask friends to guess…”

How do you get rid of bad managers?

Why don’t people go to the human resource office and complain? Because they are afraid of retribution… Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “Wow, if colleges are where you are supposed to learn, it’s sad to hear what you are learning, particularly about politics… You are at least surviving whereas many are axed, say the wrong thing to the wrong person when speaking truth to power… ”

Subordinate keeps jumping over my head…

Now 5 years later she is doing special projects for her and this person is going over my head to talk to my personal about issues or changes. Dr. Greg Ketchum ‘Frasier of the Cubicles’ responds: “Well, let’s talk about this young whipper-snapper and see what we can come up with that puts you back in the driver’s seat. As your Office Politics consultant I’d start by asking you a few questions…”

Part II: No one else has the guts to stand up…

It seems there is no one to complain to, since she and her ‘boyfriend’ are at the top of the contractor ladder here, and Denise is buddies with our Alphabet boss too… Linda Kaplan Thaler, Author responds: ” Well, what a tangled web of intrigue and deceit these companies have woven for themselves! ”

Part I: No one else has the guts to stand up…

It seems there is no one to complain to, since she and her ‘boyfriend’ are at the top of the contractor ladder here, and Denise is buddies with our Alphabet boss too… Christine Comaford-Lynch, Author responds: ” While reading your question I felt transported back to junior high school… yes, not even high school. The behavior of your colleagues seems adolescent, pubescent, downright bizarre…”

Dealing with a Queen Bee and a chameleon

Can you give me advice on how to deal with this type of co-worker, who is very good at changing her colors to match someone else’s for the sake of making her look sincere to the person? Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “You are dealing with one of the hardest challenges in business, how do you deal day to day with someone you don’t trust. ”

Part II: Manager and her friends waste time chatting

My question is, how do I sit back and ignore the office manager who is always chit chatting with a couple of the ladies in the office. They go out to lunch all of the time, taking an hour or longer… Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds: “That little voice inside you that says, “None of us should be taking these long lunches.” is exactly the voice that you should be listening to, not those chatty ladies that are currently getting under your skin. It will take you far in your career… ”

The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

I was the best thing since sliced bread. Pay raises, compliments, and promotion… Now the new guy took over and I am out of favor. Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “It is possible to turn things around in your current situation but it will require hard work and patience on your part. You know you are the same person and just as valuable as ever but the perception of you has changed.”

Part I: Manager and her friends waste time chatting

My question is, how do I sit back and ignore the office manager who is always chit chatting with a couple of the ladies in the office. They go out to lunch all of the time, taking an hour or longer Dr. Greg Ketchum ‘Frasier of the Cubicles’ responds: “My question is, why is your first question, “How do I ignore this behavior?” When there are a plethora of questions one could ask about this situation…”

Hyper-Focus Concentration

I have attention deficit disorder (ADD) and it interferes with my ability to quickly assess situations and change gears… Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds, “Let’s rephrase your statement: ‘I get stuck on what I anticipated as reality rather than regrouping and dealing with the reality at hand.’ to put it in a more positive light, ‘I have the ability to focus very intently on solving problems, but when something or someone interferes, it throws my concentration off and I get upset.”

Pros and Cons of Whistle-blowing…

I am wondering if you believe that it is a good strategy to do an end-round to the new director and discuss what I have witnessed and documented. Timothy Johnson, Author and Consultant responds: “The pro’s of bypassing two levels of management to go to a director is that you can fix an ongoing problem, be able to sleep at night, help your company to really improve its performance, and possibly be lauded as a hero. The con’s of doing the same is that you will be punished or fired for insubordination and that nothing will ever really change…”

Casanova Boss fueling catty gossip…

My Boss has a reputation of having numerous affairs with some of his secretaries (as well as female attorneys outside our office) with whom all have remained loyal to him for fear of losing their positions. Timothy Johnson, Author and Consultant responds: “If his Casanova reputation is so well known, you might gently remind him that his past actions may be catching up to him. While you neither condone nor condemn his behavior, in many people’s eyes, perception is reality…”

Franke James Part II: Hell working for Narcissistic Editor

This woman stumps me because I feel like I’m back in junior high school again and the popular girl doesn’t like someone else having the attention, so she will “dis” her at every opportunity… Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds: ” To do battle with ‘Janice’ you need to keep your emotions in check and your head on straight…”

Snake-handling not in job description!

The Lead Tech has been able to “fly under the radar” while violating nearly every established policy or procedure including falsifying documents, abuse of sick leave, discrediting individuals or agencies, creating a hostile work environment, etc. Timothy Johnson, Author and Consultant responds: “Alas, you weren’t warned about the “snake handling” duties of your job. You’ve been placed in a difficult situation, and you’ve done a great job of identifying the key source of conflict: power…”

Christine Comaford-Lynch: Part I: Office Picnic is no picnic!

I need some insight in figuring out what type of workplace culture I’ve joined… Christine Comaford-Lynch, Author responds: ” Play this game with me…. See yourself as an anthropologist exploring a different culture…”

Jennifer Glueck Bezoza: Part II: Office Picnic is no picnic!

I need some insight in figuring out what type of workplace culture I’ve joined… Jennifer Glueck Bezoza responds: “The culture of your new employer certainly does sound stiff and siloed. In addition, it sounds as if the relationships among colleagues are fairly superficial and transactional in nature. It’s obvious from your inquiry… ”

Introverted coworker won’t even say ‘Hello’

I really feel that ‘good morning’, or ‘did you have a nice weekend’ is the bare minimum that can be expected when you share an office with someone for 10 hours a day… Christine Comaford-Lynch, Author responds: ” My concern for you is two-fold: first, you are suffering because she is simply who she is… Second, you are co-officed with her for what I assume will be a long-term arrangement…”

Timothy Johnson Part I: Hell working for Narcissistic Editor

This woman stumps me because I feel like I’m back in junior high school again and the popular girl doesn’t like someone else having the attention, so she will “dis” her at every opportunity… Timothy Johnson, Author responds: ” You are dealing with one of the oldest tricks in the book for a snake politician: Divide and Conquer…”

My ‘old’ Boss still expects me to do work for him!

I do not need my old boss’s constant phone calls and e-mails… Timothy Johnson, Author responds: ” I’ve always appreciated the scripture that says, “No man can serve two masters for either he will love the one and other….” You get the point. ”

Jennifer Glueck Bezoza: Part I: Trouble brewing working with a colleague

One of my colleagues confided in me that they are having difficulty working with another colleague. How should I handle this situation? Jennifer Glueck Bezoza responds: “First things first… It’s a tribute to you and your trustworthiness that your colleague felt comfortable sharing his or her difficulty working with another colleague. Here a few guidelines… ”

Peter Garber: Part II: Trouble brewing working with a colleague

One of my colleagues confided in me that they are having difficulty working with another colleague. How should I handle this situation? Author Peter Garber responds: “Sometimes, it is easier for someone else outside of the immediate situation to see what needs to be done to resolve interpersonal problems at work…”

Revolving door position: Is it me or them?

Since she was hired, she has stated repeatedly that she could get another job anytime she wanted, and has quit 3 times. Arnie Herz, New York based lawyer responds: “You admit you are “not a diplomatic person”, the new employee complains that you are overly critical and intolerant, and your boss, who has known you for awhile, believes the problem will resolve itself once you take a course to learn how to better communicate and relate to people…”

Age-related disabilities bring out the bullies

My problem is the hostile attitude that other employees have developed toward John and they use his lower productivity to justify why they shouldn’t work hard or be responsible for high levels of quality… Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “As with all vicious cycles it is important to deal with it as soon as possible because it will get worse. We suggest talking with John first. …”

Fear that new promotion sets me up as target

I need advice on how to best avoid becoming a target… Dr. Greg Ketchum ‘Frasier of the Cubicles’ responds: “My, my, this is a bit of a sticky wicket. My guess is that no matter what you do or how graciously you handle the situation you will become a target of wagging tongues…”

I am in HR but the irony is, I am bad at dealing with people…

I cannot work if staff does not talk to me anymore… Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “Thanks for reaching out, since on the ladder of learning, being aware of deficits is the first step to improvement and you sound humble enough to see your areas for improvement…”

Can I trust my Bosses when they are all having extramarital affairs?

As if that relationship being in our faces all day wasn’t enough to deal with, the male VP admitted this past week that he is having an affair with the contact of our biggest client… Timothy Johnson, Author responds: ” You seem like somebody who has a strong moral compass, yet you’re in the midst of a bunch of lusty leaders. Your letter reads like a plot from a really bad soap opera.”

Blame rolls down hill pretty quickly here

Blame rolls down hill pretty quickly here and disputes among them are often resolved by pinning the blame on people down the chain. Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game comments ” The primary question in your letter has to do with a blame trail, and who is the scapegoat. That type of problem can best be addressed by clarifying the roles, duties, deliverables and deadlines.”

Apparently I am the most ‘hated’ person in my office…

I have just recently learned that I am the most ‘hated’ person in my office and I do not know what to do… Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “Although, we realize that you, too, may feel you’re in an absence of reliable information, we must wonder how you know that you are the most hated person?”

Office-Politics Poll: Are new employees who are ‘different’, welcomed?

In our current Office-Politics Poll, 75% of respondents answered “No”… Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game comments ” Being different does challenge the status quo, but it can also open the door to creative thinking and an inclusive workplace that embraces and respects everyone, no matter what shape, size or color they are.”

Itching to tell off a toxic, back-stabbing co-worker

To many it would feel so very good to tell off a toxic, back-stabbing co-worker. Chew them a new one. Bring them to tears. Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “From the standpoint of career management it is not a case of pros and cons. It is mostly a bunch of cons. If this co-worker is so political, he or she very well may have ingratiated his or herself with someone in power.”

Frustrated by a Flirt / Male point of view

When a female boss flirts in the presence of male subordinates, would it be considered professional? Dr. John Burton advises,” The underlying question that arises for me is the impact of this behaviour on you and on others in the workplace. If it creates difficulty in conducting business or carries the risk of leading to difficulty then it may be wise to address it. ”

Frustrated by a Flirt / Female point of view

When a female boss flirts in the presence of male subordinates, would it be considered professional? Jennifer Glueck Bezoza responds ” You ask whether it is acceptable and professional for a female boss to flirt. The short answer is no. Sexual gestures and behavior are simply not appropriate in the workplace. ”

Frustrated by a Flirt: Office-Politics invites 3 advisers to answer

When a female boss flirts in the presence of male subordinates, would it be considered professional? Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds ” Can flirting be judged objectively or is it in the eye (and mind) of the beholder? Your letter raises many issues regarding culture, behavior, and gender. To answer it, I thought it would be very interesting to hear a male and female point of view. Below you will see two responses to your dilemma from Office-Politics Advisers, and my own response. ”

Sucked in by Suck Up

I work in a company, manufacturing equipment where the attitude of a few is that if you are a newcomer, you should not take up space within the company & you must be out in a few months… Timothy Johnson, Author responds: ” As a newcomer to an organization, you hold a delicate position. You are not yet well known or respected enough to be taken seriously; however, you’re able to observe from an outsiders view. ”

Backstabbed by my best buddy

My co-worker, pretending to be my best buddy was back stabbing me and saying subtle negative things about me behind my back to sway my old manager and now my new manager to distrust me. Whatever he did worked. The whole team is against me. Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “Keep your head on straight since no matter how this turns out, if you handle your reputation well and cover your tracks, you will land on your feet.”

You don’t know that yet, boy are you slow!

My friend was learning some things on the computer and one of the co-workers said, “You don’t know that yet, boy are you slow!” and then laughed and said, “Hey, I’m just being honest!” Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds: “This sounds like the nastiness from a schoolyard! Your friend can do a few things to fight back…”

‘Frasier of the Cubicles’ responds: Co-worker driving us crazy…

Boris is rude, selfish, and wants to do things his way. He will openly argue with anyone who disagrees with his conclusions or methods. He refuses to work as part of our team… Dr. Greg Ketchum ‘Frasier of the Cubicles’ responds: “Your letter takes me back to the good old days of the Cold War, when we knew clearly who our enemy was and had long experience in dealing with the bad old Soviet Union. Sounds like this is the Cold War Redux in the Office…”

Timothy Johnson responds to: Co-worker driving us crazy, too…

Boris is rude, selfish, and wants to do things his way. He will openly argue with anyone who disagrees with his conclusions or methods. He refuses to work as part of our team… Timothy Johnson, Author responds: ” Boris is trouble. I must admit, though, that I am very perplexed. HR won’t keep him from going to a company-sponsored class, but they will allow him to run amok and do immeasurable damage every time he opens his mouth? ”

Coworkers ask: What do you do all day?

Recently, I have been receiving an unusual amount of back handed comments regarding me just “walking around all day doing nothing.” Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “We’d like to suggest that you implement two major Organizational Savvy “ethical politics” skill sets…”

Peter Garber responds: More office politics now than 20 yrs ago?

Do you feel there is more office politics now then there was 20 yrs ago? Author Peter Garber responds: ” I would agree that there seems to be more office politics than in the past. My belief is that there is also more pressure to succeed than ever before in the workplace…”

Am I acting strangely due to menopause?

A coworker told me that it looks that I am going through menopause and that was the cause that I was acting so strange because I was not like that before… Jennifer Glueck Bezoza responds: “I found your co-worker’s assertion towards you “that it looks like you are going through menopause,” inappropriate and offensive. It seems to diminish the possibility that your feelings and experience were completely natural and unrelated to your female hormones.”

Coworker’s DUI arrest and messy affair

After my coworkers second DUI arrest, he allowed his drinking to effect work to the point that we almost lost 2 licenses to operate programs. Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “This situation is not pretty and we can see certain scenarios where it gets very ugly. Any number of people could expose the ongoing behavior… ”

Brandon and Seldman respond: More office politics now than 20 yrs ago?

Some of these difficult situations are causing people to backstab & manipulate other people in order to get good jobs & promotions! Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “Your hunch about the work shortage as a contributing factor to increased politics these days is certainly a piece of the puzzle, since scarcity and job instability can create conditions of pressure, fear and greed, which are all factors that can compel people to act more rashly, selfishly, and sometimes unethically. ”

How do I work with a snake?

I don’t want to get caught up in playing some stupid office politics but I fear she may be trying to undermine my work to advance her position. Timothy Johnson, Author responds, “Wow… it sounds like you’ve assessed the situation pretty well. This new woman in your office appears to be a snake, and by all accounts I think assessment of her motivations could be accurate.”

Former ‘ghetto superstar’ seeks peaceful solution

The problem arose when a contractor joined our team and started to make fun of me behind my back. Timothy Johnson, Author responds, “Your letter reminds me of the scene in the Wizard of Oz when the question is asked, “Are you a good witch or a bad witch?” Unfortunately, the same can be asked of many consultants and contractors…”

Power war is driving me and others crazy

I hate going to work. I thought of telling the partners that their sons are creating a hostile work environment… Timothy Johnson, Author responds, “The reality is that the brothers need to grow up; however, making them do so is not part of your job description…”

The Office Princess

Is there anything I can do to put an “office princess” in her place without hurting my reputation? Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “You can see from our salutation that we agree with your description of your “princess” colleague as being fairly immature, and we applaud your positioning the heart of the issue as wanting to approach and handle the situation without damaging your own reputation…”

Training the Office Pet

Both my boss and the pet are always covering up for themselves… Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “This writer ’s letter illustrates the type of negative impact a leader has when choosing favorites, “pets”, or as we label it, bestows the “halo effect.””

Still working at the job I had in college…

I’m 23 – still working a 20 hour week at the retail job I had while going to college… Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds: “First off you can feel good that you’re asking yourself the question, “How do I get ahead?” Moving from where you are now, to where you want to be, is not impossible, but it will take effort, and goal-setting. ”

Should I ask an ex-employee’s fiance back?

I was very happy with her… Should I make an effort to get Christina back, or just cut bait? Linda Kaplan-Thaler, Co-author of the Power of Nice responds: “My thoughts for you first would be that you should treat this man’s fiance, Christina, as a totally separate individual. Yes, of course you should try to get her to come back…”

Power struggle with coworker

I work with a woman who is threatened by me, therefore, she regularly tries to take over some of my responsibilities to make herself look good. Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “Overly political people put their self-interest over the organization’s interests, do what they can get away with, and often rely on using power vs. competence to maintain their careers…”

The Office Princess likes to flirt all day

Recently one of the girls in our office has developed a princess attitude… Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds: “The flirtatious Princess (The Flirt) in your midst does sound nauseating, but let’s try to get some perspective so you can stomach working in the same office. The Flirt is using her sex appeal as a tool to increase her value in the office. The guys around her are clearly enjoying the game. This is an age old story… ”

There is an extremely hot looking contract worker

There is an extremely hot looking contract worker here… She wears mini skirts and loves coming by so I can smell her perfume. Dr. John Burton advises,”Put an icepack in your pants. That will solve your dilemma… If a mini skirt and perfume have you thinking about cheating on your wife your first priority should be to straighten out your relationship at home. ”

How do I answer the following ‘rude’ questions?

Please tell me how to answer the following questions: ‘Why Don’t You Have Kids?’ or ‘How come you are an assistant?’ Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds: “Humor is your best weapon. With a little thought I’m sure you can come up with some ‘zingers’ that you can throw at those nosy people — and make them step back and realize that their question was ‘out of order’. ”

I am terribly inept when it comes to office politics

Let me first start by saying that I am terribly inept when it comes to office politics. I never seem to know the proper thing to do. Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds: “Your situation sounds like the stuff of grade school playgrounds, but it’s all too common in the workplace. Let’s pull this problem apart and see if we can find a solution… ”

Director of surgical department is a backstabber

I recently found out that the director of my department has stabbed me in the back. I work in a small surgical hospital. Jennifer Glueck Bezoza responds: ” It certainly appears that your manager could have used better judgment when she disclosed to the lead nurse and main doctor that you had warned her — after you received a warning — that she should ‘watch her back with them.’”

My personality seems to sabotage every job

I’ve read reams of books on anger management, team building, etc. but I can’t seem to get out of this rut… I need to learn how to be savvy. Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “We agree that you need to be more savvy, especially when you indicate that ‘my personality seems to sabotage my career in every job.’”

Corporate Misfit ready to be a cashier

I really need some words of encouragement as I am about to give up and find a nice cashiering job… Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “Well, your sign-up name of “misfit” could explain much of your problem, since you do seem to repeatedly cultivate situations of ‘miss fit’… ”

The “tenured” support group has made my life and work hell…

I have tried nice. I have tried conflict resolution. And complaining to superiors. None of which worked. I even plain out asked these women if I offended them unknowingly, and that I apologize. They said nothing… Do you have any seminars on New York city office politics for people coming from other parts of the world or US? Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “You are not alone and not an isolated victim, so you needn’t take their treatment personally… ”

I don’t want to kiss ass to succeed…

However, she has ingratiated herself to my supervisor and wants to become my supervisor. She and her husband have become very close socially, with our boss’s wife. I don’t want to kiss ass to succeed. Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds: “Sometimes the problems that come our way are opportunities for growth. Let me tell you the messages I’m getting from your letter, and then offer you some advice… ”

Torment caused by on-going affair with a clerk…

The owner of this third facility has a long-term, on-going affair with a member of the production staff… Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “Was the affair going on before you formed the partnership and/or did you know it was occurring? If so, you don’t have as strong leverage… ”

Ex-boss & colleagues view me as a traitor…

A coworker and friend has told me that the boss and she will be starting a competing company. I feel I need to tell my new boss… Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “We hope that a second ‘aha’ piece of insight might be the realization that whichever side of this ethical dilemma you land need not make you a bad person, unethical, nor a ‘traitor.’…”

I am the office scapegoat. I loathe going to work…

It took me about two years of frustration, anger, depression, physical exhaustion, utter detachment, fatigue and sleeplessness, to realize that I have become a “target” a “scapegoat” for the office dysfunction. Timothy Johnson, Author responds, “To quote Cool Hand Luke, ‘What we have here is a failure to communicate.’ Unfortunately, the failure appears to be coming from you…”

I am bored, overqualified, underpaid…

I have quietly said to one or two people that I am bored, overqualified, underpaid, and that the management has no idea of what it is doing… Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “In an office setting it is hard to see how these comments help you and it is very easy to see how they could hurt you. High risk/no reward is a poor investment strategy or career strategy…”

Helping a friend trapped in a dead-end position, got me in hot water

The employee confided in me and asked if I would give his resume to my wife, who heads a large organization in another (non-competing) company. Arnie Herz and Jennifer Glueck Bezoza responded to this dilemma.

My peers are envious as I climb the ladder…

Talking to my mentor, he tells me I need to be aware of peer resentment, and have the sense of awareness to recognize people that have in one way or another helped me get to where I’m at. Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds ” I think your mentor is very astute, however if I was in your place I wouldn’t want to be dwelling on the idea that my coworkers were resenting me. It may be the truth but it’s not good self-talk. I would quickly try to refocus my energy, and my coworker’s on the goals ahead. How can you do this? ”

Afraid my Boss is taking advantage of my success…

I’m afraid my Boss is taking advantage of my success, yet taking all the credit for it, while “protecting” me. Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds ” Essentially your question boils down to: ‘How can I climb the ladder without kicking my kind, supportive Boss in the face?’”

I’m holding onto the company key…

I still have the company key and don’t want to hand it in yet because I feel like someone pulled the rug out from under me… Dr. John Burton advises,”The key is your employer’s and should be returned. The fact that you feel ill used by your employer does not affect your legal obligation to respect his decision to terminate your employment…”

My ‘chatter-box’ coworker is driving me crazy!

A co-worker that has his office next to mine spends most of his day talking to his wife and kids on the phone. It drives me crazy! Talking to my boss is out of the question, he is very old school and thinks “women” are below men. Dr. John Burton advises, “In three short lines, you have identified two major dilemmas. Not only does your co-worker’s phone chatter drive you crazy, but you have a boss who has left you feeling he is unapproachable…”

This isn’t just office politics, it’s family politics…

Now, because the other employees have quit because of this, I am the “last person standing” with mom, sister and the Boss. How do I handle this? Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds “In your letter you mention that you are working for the son, who is the “Boss”. However, I would venture to say that although his business title may be “Boss”, he is not really the Boss. The mother, the sister and the son are all in control of the business…”

What would you do if Management won’t listen? Wait until the project explodes?

What would you do if 2nd line management won’t listen? And 3rd line management won’t interfere? Wait until the project explodes? Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds ” It’s the ‘canary-in-the-coal-mine’ syndrome. I gather from your letter that you are front line in the production of this project/product, so you can see where all the cracks are, and where the ‘explosion’ will likely occur. But you have no authority to change the process, or fire the inept. And Management so far has turned a deaf ear…”

Coworker throws hysterical tantrums…

Sue started crying hysterically… I got called into the office to see why I had been so mean to Sue. Timothy Johnson, Author responds, “Don’t Quit Your Job! Companies need more people like you around! Let’s review: You’re doing the right things, You’re acting the right way. You’re saying the right words. You’re showing the right motives…”

Insulted by the Crummy Gift

Did I get get a crummy gift from my coworkers because they think I did a crummy job or because they just didn’t like me? Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds “Gifts carry a message. For better or worse they are symbols of how the gift giver feels toward the recipient. They can show who is the “favorite” and who is not. But it’s good to remember that it’s up to the recipient to decide whether to accept or reject the gift giver’s message!”

The 60-year old refuses to train interns…

A 60-year old near retirement lady is playing games and is refusing to train new interns with various excuses. Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “You actually sound somewhat politically savvy in assessing the situation from the clues you’re outlining but we believe we might be able to help by helping you add up the clues to determine their potential meaning, provide perspective (and therefore, hopefully, some consolation), and point you in a few directions for next steps…”

Bombarded by noise and frequent interruptions

I’ve mentioned several times to my Manager that it’s difficult to concentrate on my work because of the noise and interruption… Timothy Johnson, Author responds, “You have a couple of issues to address, but I think there’s a potential solution at least to help you better manage your work load. Because you are the face of your organization to visitors, track which times are off limits to visitors…”

I am not getting proper credit for my work…

I feel like Polly’s actions have prevented me from getting recognition for what I do… when she is asked by outside people for this type of information, she will not refer them to me… she will answer them herself… The Power of Nice co-author, Linda Kaplan Thaler responds, “We believe the power of nice can take you far in both life and in business. But with that said, there are some situations where no matter how nicely you behave, there might be other factors to consider. While it’s clear from your letter you have done everything “right” in your professional environment, it is important to remind you that being “nice” doesn’t mean being a doormat…”

I am being ridiculed behind my back…

The problem is I am very rough around the edges when it comes to dressing right, making polite conversation and have a hard time fitting it… Timothy Johnson, Author responds, “It’s unfortunate that people over the age of 18 cannot figure out that it’s not nice to pick on people because of how they look or act. That being said, you do have a couple of choices: stay or leave…”

CFO made anti-Semitic remarks…

What to do when the CFO makes anti-Semitic remarks in front of the General Manager and Human Resources and no one corrects her during a meeting? Dr. John Burton advises,”You are immersed in a situation fraught with difficulties. Let me try to unravel what you have raised. The first point is that the CFO made anti-Semitic remarks which are inappropriate whatever the setting. Since other senior managers were present and did nothing one question that arises is what responsibility falls on you to address this issue….”

Trumped by a very competent brown-noser

I’ve seen lots of complaints about the co-worker who is the ‘incompetent’ brown-noser. My dilemma is about the ‘very competent’ brown-noser. What do you do about him? Jennifer Glueck Bezoza responds: “I understand your frustration that the brown-noser’s behavior has seemed to go unnoticed by leadership. It shouldn’t be that the humble, team players, such as yourself, get trumped by the individual who puts others down and raises himself up at every opportunity…”

The friend, I helped, has now turned on me…

There has been talk of the company only hiring one of us permanently. Ever since, my friend has made me feel like I have to compete with her for the position… Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds “What a sad turn of events when you were the person who gave your friend a helping hand back to employment… With the right strategy you can improve the harmony in the office. I am going to suggest a tactic that may surprise you. But you have nothing to lose by trying this approach, and everything to gain…”

Email falsely claimed I was “on the warpath”…

I noticed an email with my name in the subject line… Since it was about me, I read it, and learned that she was emailing her friend that I was “on the warpath”… Timothy Johnson, Author responds, “You’re STARTING to wonder why? Let’s put any guessing to rest right now. (Psssst… It’s Trudy.)”

Winning by understanding the other person

One day, shortly after I contacted you, “Lucy” lashed out at me and a co-worker. My co-worker stormed away, but I saw it as an opportunity… Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game comments, “We answer many letters at Office-Politics.com, and we’re thrilled when people write back to tell us whether the advice worked. Here is some new feedback we received today, on an Office-Politics letter and reply, originally posted in September, 2006.”

The supervisor does not treat everybody equally…

I feel the supervisor does not treat everybody equally, different treatments for different employees. Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “You may actually be learning some things that, over a career, may be more important than designer skills. You are learning first hand about power, perception, politics and some basics of organizational and human behavior. Ultimately this will make you more savvy about people but this is a frustrating way to learn…”

Our office supposedly doesn’t have “office politics”

If you are coined “political” that’s negative in the company. What this means if you perceive a slight (which could be very real) by co-workers and bring it up then you are political… Timothy Johnson, Author responds, “Every workplace has office politics, and every person in a job is political (whether they will admit it or not)…”

Terrible mistake in confiding in my assistant…

I made the terrible mistake in confiding in my assistant about my job offers. Timothy Johnson, Author responds, “Can you come over for poker night? I really need to win back a few hands, and I think you’re just the person to help me…”

Managing Up to protect your turf…

I feel the department isn’t big enough for the 3 of us.. and I don’t know how to hold onto my little bit of the turf without being squeezed from both ends. Jennifer Glueck Bezoza responds: “While you think you will be demoted, my sense of the situation is that Barbara, not you, will be demoted…”

My boss has employed her nephew’s girlfriend…

One colleague has attempted to be physical but i managed to move, i have been told that they will be calling the boss to tell her what trouble i have caused… Peter Garber, Author of ’100 Ways to Get on the Wrong Side of Your Boss’ responds, ” There appear to many interpersonal issues going on amongst your coworkers which are probably made worse by hiring friends of the boss’s relatives. I think you have more pressing and immediate issues other than being promoted that you need to address right now… ”

Entry-level office aide is poisoning our office

This entry-level office aide has decided that she knows all about academia and academicians and has told junior personnel that the faculty (us) are stupid and slow (our PhDs in science/math are no match for her BA in home interiors). Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “The behavior you are describing even exhibited by one person, unchecked can and often does create a vicious cycle on teams…”

Former brown-noser seeks to be trusted

When I first joined, I was a bit insecure and I sort of brown nosed one of the senior guys (he is currently partner). Jennifer Glueck Bezoza responds: “It’s hard to discern from your letter the exact nature of your “brown nosing” of the CEO’s right hand man. Were you overly flattery to this individual?”

Should I warn the Newbie about my manipulative, backbiting co-worker?

My colleague already is starting to butter up the newbie. Should I just keep my mouth shut and my head down, or should I tell the newbie to watch out when there’s a private moment? Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “We admire your good-hearted, caring nature, since it sounds like you have the new hire’s interests at heart as well as the organization’s since no one benefits when a new employee’s early honeymoon goes sour and winds up in “buyer’s remorse.” ”

Unable to function

Please help as I am unable to function at work and at home like this I feel like I am going to blow up one day and have a nervous break down. Timothy Johnson, Author responds, “My question for you is, ‘Why you are letting her affect you?’”

Don’t want to be friendly at work…

I would rather be spending time with people I respect than with people who roll their eyes when I am talking and who stab me in the back every chance they get! Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “Your letter did NOT have us rolling our eyes, but your letter is filled with mixed messages that compel us to wonder if you are more of the problem than you are comfortable admitting to yourself? ”

Dribbling my future away in the NBA

I am a college graduate that’s currently working in the NBA Mailroom… Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “Answering your question is the straight forward part of our reply: don’t quit, but definitely search out your other options in the marketplace.”

Chief of staff passed over for a promotion

I was recently passed over on a promotion opportunity to replace my boss who is nearing retirement… Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “You see, as you sadly discovered, many good, competent, ethical, company loyal, dedicated, technically brilliant and productive people MAY end up suffering being passed over or worse…”

Lies told to Homeland Security Analysts

We were told that we would need to ‘move towards the IT side’ in order to move up in the company. It seems clear now that they have no clue what to do with us, and maybe never will. Timothy Johnson, Author responds, “You and your colleagues need to look in the mirror and repeat: “I am in sales. I am in sales. I am in sales.””

Landed in a political minefield

I’ve just joined an organization, and I feel I’ve landed in the middle of a political minefield! Timothy Johnson, Author responds, “Wow… does your recruiter give refunds? Actually, you appear to be feeling overwhelmed because you have three different political issues going on simultaneously, and (as luck would have it) they are all intertwined.”

The Diva is bad-mouthing me

I am the new person to “pick on” who replaced the previously picked on person who had her reputation ruined by this diva…. Dina Beach Lynch, Ombudsman, responds, “Are you sure you have a good ‘read’ on the office politics? Several clues in your note indicate that there might be more going on than meets the eye…”

Promoted but no bump in salary

I was told by the CEO that I will now be supporting him… To me, this is a promotion but no additional salary was brought up. Peter Garber, Author of ’100 Ways to Get on the Wrong Side of Your Boss’ responds, ” Unfortunately sometimes those in positions to give raises forget just how important raises are to those being promoted…”

Desperately seasick in the Navy

I am having an awful time at my job. I’m in the U.S. Navy, so I can’t quit. And AWOL or a dishonorable discharge is out of the question. Dr. John Burton advises,”I would advise you to proceed with great caution. The first step might be to find a person you trust who is outside of the office in which you work, but who knows you and the military well…”

Taking the heat for slacker coworker

Because this person is the Team Leader’s friend, nothing was done about him and the blame for all of it was placed on my shoulders for “not managing him”. Peter Garber, Author of ’100 Ways to Get on the Wrong Side of Your Boss’ responds, ” It appears that the Team Leader either doesn’t know what this individual is like or doesn’t want to accept the truth about him. If you continue to complain about this guy to the team leader it may be viewed as a negative about you. Try this approach instead… ”

Toxic environment fed by candy-pushing coworker

I work in a very toxic office… On the surface she is pleasant and is always pushing candy on people… Timothy Johnson, Author responds, “Unfortunately, the reality of life is that some people will always resent other people. The other reality is that you probably will not change her… ”

Boss’ new ‘pet’ is an incompetent brown-noser

What can I do to expose my colleague Mr. Brown-Nose? Arnie Herz, New York based lawyer responds: “When in a bad situation, there are typically three options in order of what most people do: 1. Stay frustrated. 2. Quit and find a new job. 3. Cause real change…”

What can we do about a coworker’s messy desk and body odor?

One of our co-workers has worked here for a very long time, and keeps her cubicle distressingly messy… Even more disturbing is that this person has very poor personal hygiene… Timothy Johnson, Author responds, “There are a couple of different issues at play here. The first and probably most difficult is the offensive hygiene… ”

Getting everyone in a room just made things worse

My Boss put them in a room with 3 other people and tried to get it resolved. It didn’t work. Dr. John Burton advises,”Your decision to speak to your boss was the right one, even though the outcome seems no better than the previous situation…”

My colleague gives me orders to do work…

One of my colleagues always gives me orders to do work for her… I feel that she just wants to show people that I am under her and should do anything for her…. Dina Beach Lynch, Ombudsman, responds, “Colleagues must be proactive in defining working relationships. All it takes is a brief question: how do you do your best work?”

Ostracized by rumors

I’m a teacher at a junior high school. Three teachers out of ten in my department conspired to remove me from the chairmanship… At some point they began spreading rumors about me throughout the school and beyond…. Timothy Johnson, Author responds, “Tell me, who are the junior high students and who are the teachers? The actions you mentioned are making it a little hard to tell who is imprinting on whose behaviors. That being said, you do have my sympathy, empathy and support… ”

Just enough rope to hang herself

I feel that this new employee lacks time management and organizational skills, does not have the necessary education and qualifications, and will not be able to handle all the added responsibility… Timothy Johnson, Author responds, “You probably will not need to do much to cause this individual’s demise. It sounds like she is on an express train to disaster… ”

My supervisor and I bid on the same job

Through office gossip, it was pretty clear that this was a set up to let her go. In fact, the hiring supervisor asked to me to apply for this job…. Timothy Johnson, Author responds, “Your letter spoke volumes about your character, and I am sorry that a great event had to be tied up with a political situation to oust somebody else… ”

Mutiny in the office

It has become evident that my boss is not doing his job. He is having to let people go because of this. I feel that for the sake of the program, he should be the one to leave. He gets paid twice what any of the rest of us earn, and that money could go towards more valuable staff members… Peter Garber, Author of ’100 Ways to Get on the Wrong Side of Your Boss’ responds, ” Trying to get your boss fired is obviously a very serious matter. Reporting this type of problem to higher levels in your organization is something that should be given serious thought… ”

Is the spotlight fueling jealousy towards me?

For the whole year the owner loved everything about me… Boy was I in the spotlight. Now, there are certain people who despise me and start rumors and they are really hitting home. Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: ” It is very possible that the heightened visibility and recognition you have received this year has made you something of a target. When you add the incentive of hurting your reputation and driving you from the company to feelings of envy, people unfortunately behave in the way you are describing… ”

Bullying office manager

I witnessed her behaviour bestowed on many coworkers (one had to leave the company due to it) and for the most part just passed it off as “her”! I have managed to maintain good relationships with everyone else in the office. However, she has now turned against me… Guest author Robert Mueller responds: “From your bully’s treatment of others, you might have had a sense your supervisor’s excruciating rudeness was eventually headed your way. But if you had never experienced a “Bullying Boss” before, you would have had no reason to know they exist. Please forgive yourself… ”

Lone female working with cowboys

I am female and work primarily with guys that, while highly educated, come across with somewhat of a cowboy attitude. Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “Dear Annie Oakley… We address you as that, so that you can remember that plenty of females learned to fit in with cowboys… ”

Spread news of coworker leaving

I participated for the first time in a employee review session and I repeated a remark made to me that one of our colleagues had told me in a casual conversation that he might want to leave the company to work elsewhere. Arnie Herz, New York based lawyer responds: “As an employee you have an obligation to act in the company’s best interests. On the other hand, depending on your role, you may need to afford your co-workers an open ear so they can share things with you confidentially as a means to helping them sort through issues that impeded their effectiveness…”

Not in the in-crowd

I’m afraid I could be missing out on getting promoted since I’m not in the in-crowd, or worst yet, being let go because I don’t fit in… Dina Beach Lynch, Ombudsman, responds, “You’re right to recognize that informal gatherings at work can be an important source of information and a way for co-workers to promote familiarity and trust with each other….”

Feeling manipulated

I explained to the office manager that I believed there to be a miscommunication about my position, and that I would like the opportunity to renegotiate. Peter Garber, Author of ’100 Ways to Get on the Wrong Side of Your Boss’ responds, ” There obviously was a disconnect between what HR told you the job was supposed to be and what the Office Manager decided what the job was to be. ”

Mental health disorder label is hurting me

During that time it became clear that my mental health information had been widely circulated and that my interactions with people were negatively affected by the opinions of my former supervisor. Dr. John Burton advises,”Your situation is indeed a difficult one. It is challenging to try to unravel the origins of the attitudes that people have toward us…”

Not fitting in

I have recently moved from New York City to San Diego to start work at a new job. At my new office I don’t feel like I fit in. Everyone is quiet. No one expresses themselves. Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “If you had made the choice to start a new job in Mexico City, Moscow or Rio you probably would have prepared yourself for working in a new culture. You might have been on the lookout for cultural differences, asked people beforehand about the culture and accepted that you would have to work to fit in…”

Out to Lunch

This particular issue is a problem year-round, but becomes particularly exaggerated at taxtime, where everyone deems themselves ‘the busiest person here today’. Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds, “I think we all have experienced moments when we dodge unofficial ‘duties’ (like being the office gopher, putting the recycling out, emptying the trash, replacing the toilet paper, etc.) — and we’re so relieved when the other person takes care of it. (Phew. I got away with it this time….)”

Is the deck stacked against me?

I have strived harder to make them notice me but for some reasons my rival and my boss’ bonding is unbreakable/unbeatable. In addition, I don’t seem to get projects where I could “shine”. Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “Your efforts to garner positive attention are what we would recommend but the deck seems stacked against you. The other data point that you mentioned that concerns us is how the company responds to people who push back and challenge. So we agree, as described, this is far from an ideal environment. Does that mean you should leave?…”

Promotion with no job title change and no salary change

A company I have been working for offers me a “promotion” in work duties with no job title change and no salary change… Susan Bulkeley Butler advises, “One of my secrets is: Ask for what you want…”

Help: I’m a new writer for a TV show…

One of the writers who was already on staff and who has known the star of the show for most of his life (I try not to believe he got his position through nepotism but it seems likely) seems to have taken a dislike to me… Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds, “Creative work, like team writing, really ’soars’ if people who work together can build on other people’s ideas — without trying to hog all the glory. Too bad this guy is insecure and feels the need to steal all the credit…”

Paycheck envy in new job

I have been told I will be earning more than one of my contemporaries who has worked there for over two and a half years. They also know this and they are not happy about it… Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “Our first caution is to be sure that you are not “catastrophizing” and “awfulizing” the future when many in your shoes would be celebrating their being recognized and rewarded…”

Troubled soul in a toxic workplace

My last job was with a company with 2,700 people there, this is a 30 person company but i am amazed with the insecurity and amount of loose talk that goes on around here… Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “You are describing an office environment that is dysfunctional, and potentially toxic…”

Office politics going on between the CEO and CFO

I have been noticing some office politics going on between the CEO and CFO of the organization I work for… Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “If you were not in Human Resources, we might be tempted to caution you about getting in the middle or even being overly concerned about mediating this battle of titans, since it’s often the “facilitator” who winds up the heavy since both power holders may end up resenting you for not choosing their side…”

Feeling mugged at work

I feel that I have been mugged at work and the mugger is still allowed to mug me further… Dr. John Burton advises,”Your letter identifies quite a number of issues that are potentially problematic. Unfortunately my response is similar to that of the Human Rights Commission…”

They accuse me of not being a team worker, but I am the only one on the team

Why go to the second level manager and say I am not a team worker when I am the only one on the team… Dina Beach Lynch, Ombudsman, responds, “You’ve been told you are not part of the team but then accused of not being a team player. The key thing to re-examine is the meaning of team…”

Confused about my role. Am I paranoid?

I’m being told that I will head up a group that is getting no support and even being “cannibalized” by other departments who want to market to its clients… Peter Garber, Author of ’100 Ways to Get on the Wrong Side of Your Boss’ responds, “Either one of two things is happening: Option 1- Someone (probably your boss) is reluctant (afraid?) to tell you that you are “out” as far is this new project is concerned; or Option 2- There really isn’t a plan or vision for how this work is to be done and by whom and that these decisions will be determined by who steps forward to do this work.”

Charming Colleague Demands Praise

A new younger colleague joined our hardworking team… The problem? He seems to expect praise all the time… Peter Garber, Author of ’100 Ways to Get on the Wrong Side of Your Boss’ responds, “It is always difficult to give negative feedback to someone whom you have no authority over. It’s called influencing without authority. Your situation has been made even more difficult by the fact that this colleague is not receptive to hearing any constructive feedback about his work.”

Lifelong Learning

A senior manager wants to step down to go back to school but wants to continue with the organization in an entry professional position… Dina Beach Lynch, Ombudsman, responds, “Reading between the lines, you sound a bit concerned about a senior person returning to work in a more junior role. If so, why not sit this manager down for a talk….”

Insulted By The Crappy Gift

Did I get get a crappy gift from my coworkers because they think I did a crappy job or because they just didn’t like me? Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds, “Gifts carry a message. For better or worse they are symbols of how the gift giver feels toward the recipient. They can show who is the �favorite� and who is not. But it�s good to remember that it�s up to the recipient to decide whether to accept or reject the gift giver�s message!”

New Boss Trying To Prove A Point

I’m frustrated that I was overlooked, particularly since everyone else has since been promoted and I’m still in the same role I was in when I started… Peter Garber, Author of ’100 Ways to Get on the Wrong Side of Your Boss’ responds, “Your new boss is trying to prove to someone (probably his new boss) that the organization made the right choice in hiring him. He may even try to make this point by trying to show that you wouldn’t have done the right things if you had been given the job…”

New Boys Socialize With Old Boy

My concern is a very strong, mostly new boys (30/40ish) network who socialize together, ally together in the office, and direct connect to the top through an old boy who has the confidence of the director… Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “Please be extremely careful. Instead of losing sleep over your management challenges what could keep you up at night is the threat to your job..”

Scapegoat In Quality Assurance

It is critical that this software release on time and with acceptable quality; more than a billion dollars worth of business uses this software… Bottom line, it is not going to be ready for the deadline… Peter Garber, Author of ’100 Ways to Get on the Wrong Side of Your Boss’ responds, “It is a sad but true fact that Quality depts often get the blame for problems that really aren’t always their fault. I do believe that you are being set up as the goat.”

Working For Mr. Hyde

In the morning my Boss is usually a normal manager with the usual normal stresses but immediately after lunch he becomes Mr. Hyde after consuming high levels of alcohol... Robert Mueller, JD, Author of ‘Bullying Bosses’ responds, “A boss can be bad or go bad for any number of reasons, sometimes being an unredeemable bullying boss and, sometimes, as here, having a rather common but nevertheless destructive and potentially injurious, substance abuse problem…”

Power Imbalance

She was very friendly at first… She would be best characterized as rough around the edges. I have been nothing but complimentary to her and everything was just fine and dandy. Then all of a sudden she turned on me like a bat out of hell… Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds, “The main takeaway in my message to you is that there is a power imbalance. You are new, but you are Lucy’s supervisor. You are young. She is older. She has less power than you in the workplace. This may be causing resentment and feelings of inferiority by Lucy…”

Sticky Notes And Email Wars

Because of my lack of involvement in her game, she does not talk to me, which is peaceful, but now she sends sticky notes to tell me something or will stand in front of me and tell another admin to tell me… Peter Garber, Author of ’100 Ways to Get on the Wrong Side of Your Boss’ responds, “It sounds like the Executive Assistant is on a power trip and making everybody miserable in the process. It is a shame that this person has been allowed to get to this point… The good news is that you don’t to report to her.”

Preordained Winner?

While working on the review, I find out that one of the bidders had already given my manager’s son a summer job. I get the feeling that no matter what the results of the review, the winner is pre-ordained… Arnie Herz, New York based lawyer responds: “If it was pre-ordained, why would the manager waste your time having you do the review?”

Fashion Victim

I work in the fashion industry and in my last three jobs I have been the victim of workplace politics. I have been on the receiving end of backstabbing, nepotism, and coworkers turning bosses against me… Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds, “You need to learn some survival skills on how to genuinely and effectively promote yourself to your Boss and your coworkers… Plus some basic techniques, like have your ear to the ground for clues, and also be observant of other people’s shifting agendas.”

Former Male Model Can’t Get No Respect

Everyone at work is always complimenting my work and my looks, I’m male so it is kind of odd but flattering nonetheless. I used to be a former Calvin Klein model… Lately, even though I’m being invited on business trips, I’m being excluded from meetings within the office. Arnie Herz, New York based lawyer responds: “You are in a common dilemma. Common in the sense that you are not being valued and respected the way you need and deserve. For you, your good looks are an asset but also an impediment to the extent people cannot see the intelligent person you are. For others, it might be their body, their connections, their fame or perceived lack of experience that prevents others from seeing them fully and accurately.”

Neophyte Auditor Learns A Lesson

I am getting fairly distressed here. I am at the start of my career in accounting, and I am facing quite a tough situation… Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “I’ve done a great job and achieved terrific results, while pouring hours of overtime in continually. My results will speak for themselves.” No. Not enough. We must practice the political and organizational savvy strategy we call Balanced Self-Promotion…”

New Ceo Bringing In His Old Cronies

In two years, the new CEO has replaced the COO, CFO, Sr. HR VP and several business presidents and functional Vice Presidents with his old colleagues… Dina Beach Lynch, Ombudsman, responds, ” Acquisitions and transitions are never easy and I’m sorry this one has been especially hard for you… I hear you saying that you want to survive 16 months until your retirement date. But before you commit to gritting it out: ask yourself why that is important to you.”

Does Higher Title Trump Advanced Degree?

I had to decide whether to listen to my department manager or the president of the company (who put me in the position). It does not seem like it is clear cut that I should listen to the person who holds the more advanced title… Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “The situation you are in is difficult but not unusual. We ourselves have been caught in the middle of these differences and we have coached dozens of people facing this challenge.”

The Silent Treatment

My co-worker and I had a personal disagreement which caused her to become angry, and she’s been giving me the silent treatment for over a month now. I tried to apologize, but she ignored it… Dr. John Burton advises,”I think that your instinct to involve your boss is a good one. Either your boss or some other person in the organization needs to intervene to work through this situation. Obviously it is causing you too much stress to be ignored…”

Nobody Wants To Work For Me

The problem of office politics is in getting students to work in my lab. The colleagues with whom I declined to collaborate spread rumours that any student joining my group does not have a good future… Dina Beach Lynch, Ombudsman, responds, “When you decided to work exclusively in your own lab your colleagues probably felt that you had rejected them and their ways of doing things. You can see how this would lead to hard feelings and cause them to be less than supportive of you…”

Nurse In Need Of First Aid

Professional counsellors recommend I ignore these people as they are only ankle-biters and are insecure in themselves. The problem is that they are drawing others into the posse as well… Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “It’s clear the “Nurse” is in need of first aid! Firstly emotional first aid…

Thrown Out Like A Thief

They publicly fired me for unethical conduct that I did not do… I am still intensely bothered that people I devoted my time to, and trusted, threw me out as a thief, how could they know me so little? Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “It sounds like the bruise that hurts most is this slur on your character. So remind yourself of all you do that is ethical and find ways to “fill your bucket” to repair your self-esteem that has suffered a blow”

Roller Coaster Ride

I have gone through a roller coaster ride… and I can’t make any sense of why I shouldn’t be promoted or at least recognized for my efforts… Dina Beach Lynch, Ombudsman, responds, “Getting a new job is exciting yet confusing because the rules are different. It takes time and effort to figure things out and begin to feel confident in your abilities and part of the culture.”

Not Playing the Game

I have been recently advised by my manager that the problem with me is that I don’t ‘play the game’… Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “There are so many things you mention that are unprofessional. Although they seem to be �getting away� with their management practices, there are definite short term consequences and of course they are vulnerable to legal complaints.”

Bullied And Belittled

This is a female who is well known for being a disease… using favoritism, rudeness, even sexual harassment… Dina Beach Lynch, Ombudsman, responds, “There’s an old saying about not being able to see the forest for the trees. Take a moment to think about your overall job situation before deciding to quit…”

No-Tell Hotel Auditor I find myself becoming the target of office management because everyone has become so complacent that they don’t speak up, and their work is sloppy at best, which directly affects my shift… Arnie Herz, New York based lawyer responds: “You seem like a smart person. My bet is that you should be able to find a better fit for your needs and get out of this bad situation…”

Pregnant Expectations

Last week, she told me that she and husband had decided to stop birth control in April and, lo and behold, she is expecting… Dr. John Burton advises,”You express general support for this woman and for her decision to have a family. It is the breach of your understanding that is really sticking in your craw…”

Don’t Say A Word To Anyone!

I am concerned regarding the last project I was given by my boss in private. I was told not to share the information with anyone… Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “It’s curious that you are being held to secrecy which raises concerns regarding whether your boss might have a hidden agenda or ulterior motive behind his project request.”

Ideas Being Filtered

The C.F.O. recently told me to “Stop emailing the Boss and pass your ideas to me. I’ll ‘filter’ them to him as I see fit.” Arnie Herz, New York based lawyer responds: “It seems you have an insecure boss who is threatened and/or annoyed by you. As a result, she is trying to keep you contained in a limited role…”

The Secretaries All Hate Me

The women in my office hate me. I am an attorney and took a “temp” legal job at my firm 3 months ago via a headhunter… Arnie Herz, New York based lawyer responds: “Brusque, demanding, unfriendly boss. Very hostile secretaries who hate you and don’t even say hello. No chance of changing the environment. Wow…”

Receptionist As Gps Device

I fear that a serious situation will result from not being able to find the attorneys and I will be left “holding the bag”… Arnie Herz, New York based lawyer responds: “You can’t control this partner any more than you can control the next hurricane. If someone blames you for the next hurricane, you would laugh..”

I’d Make A Better Manager

This man is educated, has every insurance designation imaginable, yet has NO idea how to treat people… I may not be as book smart as this man, but would make a far better manager. Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “In terms of how you handled this situation we give you high marks… Two concerns emerge from your letter. One, you are still upset and your self-talk about the manager is quite negative. ”

Fed-Up-Of-Boss-Again! Updated In May 2006

My boss is pressuring me to take over another area… Like telling that openly at meetings. I refused (openly) and now he is mad with me… Dr. John Burton advises,”My suggestion is to help your boss be a better boss by arranging a private meeting to discuss your future within the organization…”

Hospital Psychology

The hospital management and staff are weak in skills and very back biting. We all took the Myers Briggs test. I am an INTJ... Franke James, Creator of the Office-Politics Game responds, “Since your office is open to taking psychological tests, perhaps they would also consider game-playing? Games can be an effective way to help solve relational problems.”

Ready To Quit But Owe Company Tuition

I’m ready to call it quits. Unfortunately, I owe the company another year’s time because they paid for my tuition… Arnie Herz, New York based lawyer responds: “This is a complex situation and I don’t want to give you a superficial answer. The stakes are high in that your tuition is at stake.”

Dreading The Cubicle World

Little did I realize that losing the title of Manager meant losing my office too! I don’t want to return to the cubicle world… Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “Ouch! We do feel your disappointment and chagrin, which might be a tough pill to swallow. It sounds like you unfortunately did not ask enough questions about the new position’s perks, benefits, and disadvantages…”

Merger Missteps

People moan about the merger and are negative while I believe we have a huge opportunity for growth and improvement… Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “Any time a merger or acquisition occurs, it is a fertile time for new unwritten rules in the company, new power holders (both formal through title and informally through influencers with their agendas).”

Working For A Jealous Boss

My immediate boss is insanely jealous of me and has tried to trip me up quite a few times… Dr. John Burton advises,”Ask if there is a way that the two of you can avoid such an embarrassing situation as you mention, yet still give her the scope to provide you with direction and feedback when she feels it is genuinely needed.”

Slacker Co-Worker Getting High At My Expense

One afternoon, I smelled marijuana on him… Needless to say, after doing most of the work to find out he’s coming in high… I got mad. Arnie Herz, New York based lawyer responds: “You both need to get clear on what your true needs are. Then, you both need to learn how to effectively communicate those needs (no blaming) to each other.”

Supervisor Is Missing In Action

The office supervisor is ‘missing in action’ most of the time and is completely incompetent as a supervisor… Dr. John Burton advises,”If your supervisor has been in this position for 15 years then she must be meeting the expectations of her managers… It is not an easy situation to address from your position, but I urge you to do something…”

Appreciated In Lip-Service Only

I’ve been a Secretary/Administrative Assistant for over 20 years. I love what I do… Yet, employers seem to be clueless when it comes to rewarding me… Arnie Herz, New York based lawyer responds: “Tell them that you need to be valued in a concrete way. Mere lip service will not do it. You want that appreciation fully reflected in the check you receive every two weeks.”

What An Egomaniac Needs To Learn

This man ‘x’ is a little ego-centric male chauvinist, and always tries to tell me that he knows everything about the technology behind the project… Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “Attitude in office politics is half the battle. So consciously alter your internal dialogue from ‘how dare him,’ ‘it’s unfair,’ and whatever else revs you up to ‘where is it written that life is supposed to be fair?’…’he has an ego and it’s his problem that I don’t have to take so personally’…’I am more savvy than he is so I can deal with this.”

How To Deal With A Jealous Boss

Most recently, she embarrassed me in front of a meeting of 20-30 people. Because of this, I have thought of leaving many times… Dr. John Burton advises,”I would suggest that you then tell her what your perceptions are about her behaviour, but be prepared to hear her perceptions as well… It is unfortunate, but often employees have to help their supervisors to be good managers, otherwise the employee suffers the consequences.”

Being Connected Is A Double-Edged Sword

Most of these people have had their jobs awhile and look at me as a threat because I know the owner… Arnie Herz, New York based lawyer responds: “It is great to have the ambition to become a manager. To be a truly great manager (which is a type of leader), you need to develop many skills and qualities….”

You’re Fired!

I was fired just three days before my probation was complete and I have no idea why… Arnie Herz, New York based lawyer responds: “It is good to want to get the information. You need to be more persistent (but not aggressive) in getting the information…”

Argumentative Reporter?

I have just joined a smallish city newsroom… I know that I am argumentative, but I really did not think I was being so at work. Franke James, Creator of the Office-Politics Game responds, “I find it curious that Management at a newspaper would think being ‘argumentative’ was a flaw. I thought it was a job requirement for reporters ;-) I’m only partly joking. It seems that reporters are by nature ‘skeptical’ beings.”

Third Wheel In An Office Romance

Two members seem to be having a “romantic” relationship. They spend time all day together working on the same work issues… Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “What’s really eating at you? Well, whether or not they are experiencing certain “perks” with each other isn’t an issue you need to invest time, energy, aggravation, or risking of your own reputation, is it? What is?”

Girl Beats 2 Men

The girl is recently promoted. Now everything the girl does is wrong according to guys… Franke James, Creator of the Office-Politics Game responds, “It’s not surprising to hear that the promotion of a ‘girl’ to a senior position over these two guys is causing all sorts of jealousy and feelings of inferiority. But rather than just stand back and scratch our heads let’s try to come up with some solutions.”

Do Nothing All Day?

One of my Bosses said, “You sit there and do nothing, why can’t you put notes in the lawyer’s software?” Franke James, Creator of the Office-Politics Game responds, “Your job description may be ‘receptionist’ but there’s a lot more to being successful at it than just doing the routine tasks… Many of the legal secretaries (and receptionists), I know have as much on the ball, or more, than many lawyers.”

Glass Ceiling

I’ve been told (even though I have a graduate level education) that my educational field is not what they desire to fill the position… Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “You have some important career decisions to make given the news you’ve received that your educational discipline area forms a glass ceiling…”

Is It Bad To Voice My Opinion?

Someone in the office told me that he heard about the conversations I had, and is worried that I am being “labeled”. Arnie Herz, New York based lawyer responds: “A company is fortunate to have employees who care enough to speak out about issues that may be hindering performance… Now, what to do when you don’t get results?”

The Complaint Window Is Closed

They are reluctant to ‘make waves’ with this person… fearing they will sound like whiners who cannot take care of their own office difficulties... Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “Your instincts are ones to be trusted since your dilemma involves two co-workers who are not taking responsibility for cleaning up their own rooms! This is less an office politics issue and more one of basic communication skills of constructive confrontation, assertiveness, and accountability…”

Is Speaking Out In Bad Taste?

When the Personnel Manager took me to lunch — I told her that I was insulted and subjected to racism by two employees… Dr. John Burton advises, “When you are speaking to someone, particularly someone in a position of authority about a co-worker you should first ask yourself two questions. 1) Could I take a first step to address this behaviour? And 2) Why am I telling this?”

Double-Standards Driving Me Crazy

But the double standards pile up. He called me into his office for inappropriate work attire… So I switched… However, no one else in the office changed . Arnie Herz, New York based lawyer asks, “Why do you (and others like you) stay in such situations when you know it is so unhealthy and where meaningful change of the work environment is as likely as a month-long blizzard on the equator?”

Changing First Impressions

I later realized my conversation was taken out of context by other employees, and used as a shallow basis to make judgements on my character… Arnie Herz, New York based lawyer pulls no punches, “Sounds like the “parasitic female workers” you refer to may have a point. You have mastered the art of blaming and insulting others, playing victim and taking zero responsibility for your role in the situation.”

Management Failure

Five years later, I am in a living hell… I have tried everything possible to try to have a friendly professional relationship with her to no avail… Dr. John Burton responds, “What you describe is a failure on the part of management. Despite the differences between government and private sector employers, there is no way that a manager should tolerate an employee as obstinately uncooperative and unproductive as the person you describe.”

Anxious Postal Worker

I believe they are trying to set me up for a nosedive and lose my job… Dr. John Burton responds, ” What you describe is a very unhealthy work situation for yourself. When things reach the point where you can describe yourself as “paranoid” and “miserable”, you need to take some action. ”

My-Way-Or-The-Highway

My Boss has been a bully, a ‘my-way-or-the-highway’ type of guy with a napoleon complex… Arnie Herz, New York based lawyer responds, “As you state, your boss is a bully. And, unfortunately, being a bully to my knowledge is not grounds for an EEOC claim. When I do corporate trainings on preventing harassment in the workplace, I make it clear that the equal opportunity jerk or bully is fully protected, unless of course he/she has discriminated against someone for an illegal reason.”

This is not what I expected! I am being blamed and lied to…

I am beginning to question my choice of careers. Every office I have worked in has been a challenge. Women have blamed me for things they did wrong, lied about things I did do and did not do, spoke to me like I am a child… Franke James, Inventor of the Office-Politics Game responds: “Your letter is full of disillusionment. It sounds like you’re in the wrong place for you. Obviously there are good companies and bad companies in the world to work for. Your letter shows that you highly value working in an ethical environment where everyone is pulling together for the greater good — and not bickering over petty incidents. That is an admirable goal…”

I can no longer count on her to do something she once did better than me… Franke James responds

I have been witness to thefts of office supplies, and illegal drug thefts, and have been helpless against all of them… John Burton responds

I really do not want to have to leave the company over this high school $!#!… Rick Brandon and Marty Seldman respond

Why do I have to be here at 7:30 am if this guy doesn’t stroll in until 11:00? Franke James responds

How come hardworking honest and focused individuals always lose out to pathetic scheming inefficient people and their clout? Arnie Herz responds

I work in accounting with the most hated employee in the whole company… John Burton responds

I have considered resigning as union president, but believe that would be a “cop out”… Arnie Herz responds

I would like to believe that I am being discriminated against when they so obviously show favoritism towards workers from their own country… Rick Brandon and Marty Seldman respond

I am honestly so torn, so tortured I cannot think anymore… Arnie Herz responds

Girl power environment or sexually inappropriate comments or both? Arnie Herz responds

In spite of all my skills and experience, I am at the bottom of the office totem pole… John Burton responds

Since the divorce, I really don’t care… I can be in the top 5 by doing a half-ass job and I’ll still get the same raise. Franke James responds

Is there a way to survive ‘wounding the king’ when the king is still in the corporation? Rick Brandon and Marty Seldman respond

My new Manager has mentioned that she hates the city, and can’t see a way out of debt, so she may as well go home and kill herself… John Burton responds

On July 7th, the day of the first transit bombings in London… Arnie Herz responds

I just got barked at for being late (again)…. Franke James responds

I think our district manager is ripping us off… Arnie Herz responds

Please tell me how to answer the following [rude] questions… Franke James responds

A few people think I am assigned to do all the ‘grunt’ work… Arnie Herz responds

People in the office are making off-the-wall comments like “What does she do all day” or “she does nothing”! Betsy Gullickson responds

We recently lost a highly intelligent, highly motivated executive to another firm… Franke James responds

I applied for an internal posting and now my whole department knows… Some of them are treating me as their enemy. Betsy Gullickson responds

I feel like they are conspiring to get me out of the firm when my internship ‘expires’ instead of getting hired on. What am I to do? Betsy Gullickson responds

My problem is with colleagues who walk in and sabotage my closes — just before the customer either emails me the final trading agreement! Betsy Gullickson responds

A co-worker had an inappropriate item from her bachelorette party in the office and was passing it around, teasing about it… Franke James responds

A new employee joined our team… The problem is, she’s quite chatty! In fact, she could probably fill up 2 solid hours without taking a breath… Betsy Gullickson responds

I found out that my colleague is cheating the company over time claims… Arnie Herz responds

I was romantically linked to a female colleague… In the end, she accused me of having been pursuing her, in such a way as to cause her distress… Arnie Herz responds

Now I have a twenty-person-large group of enemies examining everything I do for weaknesses… Franke James responds

When does office politics turn into illegal behavior? She put a rear view mirror on her PC monitor and angled it toward me to watch every move I made… Rick Brandon and Marty Seldman respond

My boss informed me about complaints that I was “insensitive” and “disrespectful” to a colleague in a meeting… Franke James responds

Everyone avoids meeting with me, including my manager, my coworkers… Rick Brandon and Marty Seldman respond

I feel the strangling hold of office politics… Franke James responds

The job went to an outside applicant who was the neighbor of a Manager… Franke James responds

What would you do if Management won’t listen? Wait until the project explodes? Franke James responds

Last week, one of our co-workers was attacked at work… John Burton responds

If you are asked to lunch by one of your employees, and discuss work-related matters, who should pay for the lunch? Franke James responds

One day when we were alone my Boss tried to grab me… John Burton responds

A co-worker took credit for a project I have been working on — and passed it off as his own! John Burton responds

Now I realize that the Director’s wife will be getting the larger office with the executive furniture… Rick Brandon and Marty Seldman respond

I am addicted to using email for saying things in a stronger way than I would normally. I seem to be pissing people off… Franke James responds

How do you get a colleague to return a personal item borrowed? Franke James responds

Manager and Supervisor are sabotaging psychopaths

Should I change careers? Look for another company? How can I overcome them? My situation is very stressful and they’re acting like a sabotaging psychopath. Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “It’s often tough when people resent or are threatened by accomplishments of younger people so they attempt to plateau their careers. This, of course, assumes that you are correct in your assessment. Assuming you are correct, we would suggest…”


I can no longer count on her to do something she once did better than me… Franke James responds

I have been witness to thefts of office supplies, and illegal drug thefts, and have been helpless against all of them… John Burton responds

I really do not want to have to leave the company over this high school $!#!… Rick Brandon and Marty Seldman respond

Why do I have to be here at 7:30 am if this guy doesn’t stroll in until 11:00? Franke James responds

How come hardworking honest and focused individuals always lose out to pathetic scheming inefficient people and their clout? Arnie Herz responds

I work in accounting with the most hated employee in the whole company… John Burton responds

I have considered resigning as union president, but believe that would be a “cop out”… Arnie Herz responds

I would like to believe that I am being discriminated against when they so obviously show favoritism towards workers from their own country… Rick Brandon and Marty Seldman respond

I am honestly so torn, so tortured I cannot think anymore… Arnie Herz responds

Girl power environment or sexually inappropriate comments or both? Arnie Herz responds

In spite of all my skills and experience, I am at the bottom of the office totem pole… John Burton responds

Since the divorce, I really don’t care… I can be in the top 5 by doing a half-ass job and I’ll still get the same raise. Franke James responds

Is there a way to survive ‘wounding the king’ when the king is still in the corporation? Rick Brandon and Marty Seldman respond

My new Manager has mentioned that she hates the city, and can’t see a way out of debt, so she may as well go home and kill herself… John Burton responds

On July 7th, the day of the first transit bombings in London… Arnie Herz responds

I just got barked at for being late (again)…. Franke James responds

I think our district manager is ripping us off… Arnie Herz responds

Please tell me how to answer the following [rude] questions… Franke James responds

A few people think I am assigned to do all the ‘grunt’ work… Arnie Herz responds

People in the office are making off-the-wall comments like “What does she do all day” or “she does nothing”! Betsy Gullickson responds

We recently lost a highly intelligent, highly motivated executive to another firm… Franke James responds

I applied for an internal posting and now my whole department knows… Some of them are treating me as their enemy. Betsy Gullickson responds

I feel like they are conspiring to get me out of the firm when my internship ‘expires’ instead of getting hired on. What am I to do? Betsy Gullickson responds

My problem is with colleagues who walk in and sabotage my closes — just before the customer either emails me the final trading agreement! Betsy Gullickson responds

A co-worker had an inappropriate item from her bachelorette party in the office and was passing it around, teasing about it… Franke James responds

A new employee joined our team… The problem is, she’s quite chatty! In fact, she could probably fill up 2 solid hours without taking a breath… Betsy Gullickson responds

I found out that my colleague is cheating the company over time claims… Arnie Herz responds

I was romantically linked to a female colleague… In the end, she accused me of having been pursuing her, in such a way as to cause her distress… Arnie Herz responds

Now I have a twenty-person-large group of enemies examining everything I do for weaknesses… Franke James responds

When does office politics turn into illegal behavior? She put a rear view mirror on her PC monitor and angled it toward me to watch every move I made… Rick Brandon and Marty Seldman respond

My boss informed me about complaints that I was “insensitive” and “disrespectful” to a colleague in a meeting… Franke James responds

Everyone avoids meeting with me, including my manager, my coworkers… Rick Brandon and Marty Seldman respond

I feel the strangling hold of office politics… Franke James responds

The job went to an outside applicant who was the neighbor of a Manager… Franke James responds

What would you do if Management won’t listen? Wait until the project explodes? Franke James responds

Last week, one of our co-workers was attacked at work… John Burton responds

If you are asked to lunch by one of your employees, and discuss work-related matters, who should pay for the lunch? Franke James responds

One day when we were alone my Boss tried to grab me… John Burton responds

A co-worker took credit for a project I have been working on — and passed it off as his own! John Burton responds

Now I realize that the Director’s wife will be getting the larger office with the executive furniture… Rick Brandon and Marty Seldman respond

I am addicted to using email for saying things in a stronger way than I would normally. I seem to be pissing people off… Franke James responds

How do you get a colleague to return a personal item borrowed? Franke James responds

Manager and Supervisor are sabotaging psychopaths
Should I change careers? Look for another company? How can I overcome them? My situation is very stressful and they’re acting like a sabotaging psychopath. Co-authors Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. respond: “It’s often tough when people resent or are threatened by accomplishments of younger people so they attempt to plateau their careers. This, of course, assumes that you are correct in your assessment. Assuming you are correct, we would suggest…”

Is a ‘Jerry Maguire’ move acceptable? Rick Brandon and Marty Seldman respond

My employer wants me to work extra hours for ‘no pay’ in order to cover past of the cost on the broken artwork. John Burton responds

I encountered a political conflict which makes my existence at work a true nightmare… Franke James responds

My boss makes comments that are rude and abusive, then chalks it up to ‘sarcasm’… John Burton responds

My boss will say “I’ve had feedback that your attitude is negative.” Franke James responds

My supervisor told another candidate that I am her competition for the Six Sigma position… Franke James responds

I challenged the leader that the work load was too much. So the leader went to our manager and accused me of not being a team worker… Rick Brandon and Marty Seldman respond

I work with someone who is keeping track of everyone else’s movements in a journal… Franke James responds

I’m doing an Organizational Behavior on office politics but I could not find much information on the internet… Franke James responds

This boss also has taken many responsibilities from me, slowly, and sometimes without telling me directly… Franke James responds

My boss is peeved because I ever hardly show up at company functions… Franke James responds

My Boss says: You have done nothing. You are inefficient. You are unproductive. You do not have any initiative… Rick Brandon and Marty Seldman respond

A new secretary has been causing havoc on our floor. She claims she is being harassed by my secretary, who has to sit right next to her… Rick Brandon and Marty Seldman respond

In the bad position of working with a woman who does nothing, takes credit for my successes and blames me for “our” mistakes… Rick Brandon and Marty Seldman respond

One of the lawyers, an extremely competitive ‘superjock’, is literally a loose cannon who goes off on people for no apparent reason… John Burton responds

Our new Manager requested that we no longer go out for coffee as a group, as it may leave a bad impression… Franke James responds

A lot of admin work that she is supposed to do, she is trying to push it to me… But I am the Senior Marketing executive… Franke James responds

I still have the company key and don’t want to hand it in yet because I feel like someone pulled the rug out from under me… John Burton responds

I recently got a job with a stock photo agency that took 6 months of periodic phone calls and emails to get… Franke James responds

How do I get everyone to see that this co-worker is just plain incompetent? Franke James responds

My new Manager continually messes up everyone’s schedules and books me to work days I have marked as not available… Franke James responds

A coworker went directly to my supervisor with an e-mail alerting him to a problem on a project… Franke James responds

Our holiday luncheon is at a coworker’s home — and I don’t want to go. Franke James responds

I have a colleague who is calling me a ‘backstabber’… Franke James responds

My Boss works 30 min. away and we have not developed any type of working relationship… Franke James responds

Every time the supervisor brought up a project for my new co-worker, I got angry inside… John Burton responds

I was threatened with dismissal and even attempted assault… John Burton responds

I tallied who was doing what… John Burton responds

Our receptionist became a favorite to the new GM… John Burton responds

A male co-worker and I were pretty fond of one another…. John Burton responds

I have two female colleagues who were complaining about everyone non-stop…. John Burton responds

The company no longer treats me with the same amount of respect that they used to… John Burton responds

The Boss’ wife is very jealous of me, to the point where it has turned into harassment… Franke James and John Burton respond

How do I broach the subject of title and salary tactfully? Franke James responds

To be frank the Boss has been brutal… Franke James responds

All 3 routinely take the same days off… John Burton responds

Invitations were sent out and I was somehow omitted… Franke James responds

I blind-cc-ed the email to my boss… Franke James responds

I am not getting anywhere… Can I ask my boss for advice and help? Franke James responds

Do I have any rights to find out who evaluated me, making me lose my post and my raise? John Burton responds

Makes my life as difficult as possible and talks about me behind my back… John Burton responds

My old boss retired and I can’t seem to get on the right side of the new one… John Burton responds

My desire to leave an unpleasant work environment… John Burton responds

I have a problem with my Supervisor… John Burton responds

Hey Buddy, turn around. This guy has work to do! Franke James responds

Do I bite the bullet and hope to survive the downsizing of my authority… Franke James responds

What do you do when a boss takes credit… John Burton responds

What type of volunteer work would help a person learn how to deal with office politics? John Burton responds

There is one co-worker in my group who is not doing her work… John Burton responds

There are some 20-something women in an office clique, who don’t like men… John Burton responds

My co-workers have the boss convinced that they know what they’re doing, and my ideas are always squashed… John Burton responds

We do not feel we have to ‘brown nose’ or brag about our every accomplishment… John Burton responds

I somehow stepped on the boss’ tail and now he is trying to bite me… John Burton responds

Our office was informed that we would be going through renovations… John Burton responds

I’m the boss and my employees walk all over me… John Burton responds

I am resented by some of the other employees… John Burton responds

My boss and I don’t seem to have chemistry… John Burton responds

I am told by our manager that it isn’t a good idea to have this office party… John Burton responds

She is taking credit for all the work I do… John Burton responds

My Boss is too powerful in terms of influence on others… John Burton responds

One of my office mates is attempting to gather personal information about his female co-workers… John Burton responds

My new Boss wants me to give him my business cards that I have collected over the months… John Burton responds

My problem is they complain about everything… John Burton responds

Our management team is young and they have a clique… John Burton responds

Are there any particular ways of pushing for a position… John Burton responds

I have a boss that totally loses it over next to nothing… John Burton responds

Fears for tears… John Burton responds

My boss sometimes unzips his pants… John Burton responds

I am tired of being the fall guy… John Burton responds

They all have the same problem of accusing me for their problems… John Burton responds

What do you do with an emotionally manipulative micromanager boss? John Burton responds

Some staff members think they are better than the rest of us… John Burton responds

The boss tried to tarnish my name… John Burton responds

While assisting to rebuild a company, my efforts go continuously unnoticed… John Burton responds

The company has rejected my request for a pay and grade increase equivalent to the person I’m replacing… John Burton responds

My husband works in a department that consists of people quite the opposite of him… John Burton responds

The staff is lazy … The hypocrite wants to get rid of my wife… John Burton responds

My Boss thinks I want to outshine her… John Burton responds

This rep is a compliance nightmare… John Burton responds

My department hired a woman that has received intense one on one training… John Burton responds

My revenge: I plan to order in pizza for the entire office… John Burton responds

As I’m implementing the contract, I end up with a new boss… John Burton responds

It took me two days to realize that the boss was a cruel and abusive mental case… John Burton responds

Things became quite difficult when the boss brought his son into the business and promoted him quickly… John Burton responds

How critical are office politics affecting a corporation’s vision statement? John Burton responds

Wherever I go somebody knows somebody who knows me, and they have an axe to grind… John Burton responds

I have applied for 2 positions and received none… John Burton responds

After moving 4000 miles to accept a position, the organisation told me that the position had changed… John Burton responds

There is some crazy financing going on… John Burton responds

I have deep misgivings concerning the reputation of the boss… John Burton responds

How do you recycle into a new field of work, when your age is… John Burton responds

Paper trails can work both ways… John Burton responds

I am the lone administrator in our office… John Burton responds

I signed a non-compete clause…otherwise I would not have been hired… John Burton responds

A co-worker that has his office next to mine spends most of his day talking to his wife and kids on the phone…” John Burton responds

My Branch Manager recently promoted a good friend… He is horribly inept… John Burton responds

I am loaded with doing 3-4 people’s jobs all at once. I am making less than everyone in the office… John Burton responds

I used to work for a security company. The problem is that… John Burton responds

My boss hates the boss above them and so on and so on…so my cries for more… John Burton responds

My boss tried everything in her power to get me fired… John Burton responds

I have had first hand experience with a back-stabber. I had just completed a report on a new idea when…John Burton responds

Categories

Coaching Employees
Inspiring Thoughts
Office-Politics
Backstabbers & Snakes
Betrayals & Whistle-blowing
Brownnosers & Sycophants
Bullies and Bad Bosses
Climbing the Ladder
Cliques
Coworkers driving me Crazy
Goodbye! Quitting. Being Fired.
Jealousy, Envy and Lust
Nepotism & family matters
Office-Princesses, Boss’ Pet and Halos
Power Plays
Rumors, Gossip and Buzz
Stealing Credit
Toxic Workplaces

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