“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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I’m A Target of Coworkers

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about coworkers’ gossip:

So I work in a call center where we take incoming calls. Two of my coworkers whom I work with on the weekends has accused me of several things:

  1. I go on breaks but set my phone on admin or training. Also that I logout of my phone during the shift to spend time with colleagues or go to the local supermarket.
  2. I watch videos on the computer using earphones by covering it up with my headscarf.

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Employee Texts Us After Hours and Is Effusively Complimentary–Especially to My Husband.

A Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors: What to do about an employee
who is excessive in her flattery and texting? 

Question:
My husband and I own a small business with four employees. We live in a very small town and we run the business out of our home. Our secretary continues to text both my husband and myself after hours with subjects totally unrelated to work. She will constantly give compliments to my spouse and myself about what a great boss he is, how he is the “rock” for the team. She will also provide nutritional supplements for his “stress”, etc. We have attempted to discuss these issues with her and she is great for a time, but then falls into the same habit. I don’t want to lose a productive employee, but this invading our time after hours is getting old quickly. Any suggestions – before we end this work relationship?

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A Supervisor Yelling at Her General Manager

Question submitted to Ask the Workplace Doctors by a supervisor who became enraged at her General Manager.

I had a startling experience at my new job last week. I am a general manager with 6 supervisors reporting to me. One Supervisor asked for my time in the office last week. She raised a concern that I had checked off some of her tasks in our task planner system when she was not done. I acknowledged that I had because they were overdue. It is a high company priority to complete them on time. She continued to raise her voice while telling me ‘you can’t do that’. (more…)

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Called a Racist on Facebook–Worried It Will Hurt My Business

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about being labeled racist by an employee

I own a small restaurant with 5 servers and 2 cooks.  I have been doing an excellent level of business with no issues.  I do have a set of rules and have discussed how to prepare/cut/serve the desserts but the servers often cut pieces extra large.  That is what happened.  She did and I asked her to follow the portion size.  She then cut the pieces in half and then it was too small.  Any time I have need to provide instruction or training to this one server, it results in a flare up. She feels I treat her differently because she is black.  I do the exact same thing with all servers.

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I’m Afraid I’ll Cross a Line With My Boss!

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about
how to get over an attraction for the man who is her boss.

Question: 
I caught myself staring at my boss and I was smiling about it. Instantly I told myself to stop. He’s married, but not only that, he’s my boss. He’s such a nice man. I’m not exactly sure on the age difference. However he’s one of the youngest bosses I’ve had. I would say he’s in his 20’s possibly he’s 30’s. I myself am in my 20’s. I had one previous relationship with a man I used to work with. But the moment he became a manager, and my supervisor, we put things off. He was offered a transfer to a different location and after that we did date. It was different that time, because he was single.

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How Do I Get Over Loving My Boss?

A Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about how to get over obsessive thinking
about a higher level person at work. 

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Question:
I have a strong love for a boss at work. It started off early this year, when I first got to know him.  He’s higher than me in work level, but I do not report directly to him. We do play a sport at work on our free time.

At the start he was soo much attracted to me, he used to come up to my desk and talk to me and also used to tap me on my shoulder and give me a hug when I played well. I shared with him my personal stuff and also did mention to him once that I wish I had met him earlier, but I did not receive an answer.

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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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