“Ask The Workplace Doctors” Is A Free Workplace Communications Resource!

For over two decades, Ask the Workplace Doctors, the site developed by William I. Gorden, Ph.D., of Kent State University, School of Communication Studies, has been a workplace communications resource for thousands of people from around the world. You can still count on us to provide practical, reasonable, useful and compassionate advice.

Ask the Workplace Doctors invites you to:
•Ask a question about your workplace communication problem.
(We cannot respond to medical questions–please talk directly to a medical professional.)
•Search for answers in our archive of over 3,000 questions and responses.
A NEW FEATURE!
Share your “Good Feeling Workplace Moments”!

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What Can I Do About a Coworker Who Incessantly Grinds His Teeth and Taps His Foot?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a coworker who has distracting habits. 

Question:
I’ve been working with this individual for a few years now and I’m beyond my breaking point. He grinds his teeth and taps his feet all day, every day. This is particularly worse on Mondays, or following any time he takes off (vacation, sick..). When I presented these issues to the Manager, I was told there was no other spot for me, and to just wear earbuds with music to drown out his grinding, tapping and all other of his disgusting bodily noises. Two years later, this is still the only solution we have. Which makes me wonder two things: what is the long-term damage to my hearing, if I’m constantly having to raise the volume of my music to drown out his teeth grinding (which also impacts my concentration when we reach those music volume levels), and why should I have to modify my behavior?

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Ignored by Boss

A question to the Workplace Doctors about a boss’s attitude:

When I started working in the office I got on great with my boss but a colleague of mine was forever fighting with me so when I told my boss he told me to completely ignore her and just send messages to her by e mail which I did. This girl in the meantime slandered me to everyone and anyone who would listen but I just got on with my work.

However, we decided to change offices, and my boss was going to let this girl work from home. She went mad and said she was leaving. She is best friends with my boss’s lawyer who spoke to my boss and turned the finger at me. My boss needed her back because she does his accounts and her conditions were that she do all the accounting and everything was taken off me. For the past 3 years, I have continued working but most of my work has been taken off me and my boss never speaks to me. It is really humiliating, he gives work to everyone but nothing to me. I suppose I should leave but the pay is good and I need the money. Any advice?

Signed–Don’t Like Being Ignored

Dear Don’t Like Being Ignored:

It is disheartening to be ignored, and you are right to want to earn what you are paid. I commend you for not wanting to loaf.

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Given My Coworker-Friend’s Job

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about stress caused by being assigned to a coworker-friend’s job:

I am covering for my coworker who is out for 6 weeks. We have became really great friends over the last year. I was approached by our boss and was told/offered my friends job. I do like the job. My friend has complained about the job for 2 years. But they are making me take it. I know my friend is going to feel like I stabbed her in the back and not have anything to do with me. I don’t know what to do. (more…)

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Kissing in the Breakroom

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about employees kissing: 

Two female employees were seen kissing in the break room by a number of other employees. The other employees were offended by this. The department manager talked to the two employees, who initially denied it, but after several employees who witnessed the kissing spoke out about it, the two female employees came clean.

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Managers and Supervisors Won’t Promote Me

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about having
a non-supportive supervisor and manager

Question:

In the place where I work, a few managers hate me because they are racist. I want to get a promotion, but I’m afraid they will turn me down. Even if I get the position they will annoy me a lot, because they don’t respect me.

The only thing I do that they might not like is that I turn my head and do not say “Hi” to them. They are not my managers now, but if I get a promotion they will be my managers. My supervisor says bad things about me because I am smart and he feels jealous of me. So, I need a miracle to prove how much I work. That’s why I am so serious at my workplace and don’t smile.

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Micromanager Makes Me Hate My Job

After 10 years of being the top performer in my division I am suddenly being micromanaged in ways that are seriously harming my productivity and destroying my morale.

In the past 10 years I have produced over $63 million in documented personal productivity for my employer, which is almost 8x the average for my division and more than 2x that of my next closest co-worker. I’ve gotten consistently outstanding performance reviews ever since I started this job, and continuously sought out challenging professional development opportunities. I have developed cutting edge technical tools, processes and skillsets that are respected regionally and even somewhat nationally (I am invited to speak at conferences and seminars fairly often). (more…)

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A Feel Good Moment From Helping A Subordinate

I am faced with all kinds of wonderful challenges every day. Some days are tougher than others and I always keep in mind how important it is to help others as they are coming to me and my teams for assistance.

I recently had an employee approach me about getting an office set up at their home due to a sick spouse and wanting to be able to work from home on the chemo days. The employee understood prior to the request that we don’t tipically setup home office equipment for office workers and asked me to make an exception. They stated their spouse is very ill and would need to work from home to take care of the spouse on chemo days. (more…)

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Concerned That Wife Might Harm Employee

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about what to do to prevent
a jealous wife from harming female employees. 

Question:
My wife is adamantly opposed to me being around other women for any reason. Unfortunately I run a business where I need to hire them. I am constantly, verbally attacked, accused, etc. of being unfaithful on all levels. Her verbal attacks are so out of control the other day she threatened that if I didn’t fire the new hire, she would see to it that the new hire would be gone. My wife has zero authority in the company and nobody there has any idea of this insanity I deal with. I brought it up at marriage counseling, this new threat, but the counselor just let it go since the wife said she wouldn’t hurt anybody. I am worried about the safety of my employee. I can’t sleep at night I am very afraid my wife will go to my office and completely lose control and actually hurt someone. Any suggestions?

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How Do I Handle a Bigot?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a lead who is intolerant toward those holding different opinions:
My team lead is not a leader. She is unapproachable, arrogant, inconsiderate and downright mean. This girl’s significant other also works in the same building and it adds fuel to this fire. A positive? She’s good at her job and knows her stuff. She moved up quick and management is her fan.

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Should I Quit Over Concern About The Affair of Two Others?

Question:

I’ve been employed by an international multi-million dollar company that manufactures and sells medical instruments, for over two years. My question pertains to the specific location I work in. Just over a year ago, one of the Human Resources associates began having an affair with a department Lead, who is married. At least that’s what everyone (not an exaggeration) says. The Lead has admitted to it, but the HR associate hasn’t and probably won’t. They often collaborate on work-related projects and she (HR) gives him (Lead) commendations and publicized thanks in the form of company-wide emails for whatever help he provides. Their flirtations are obvious and occur anytime they’re in the same space together.

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