Before You Submit Your Question…….

Ask the Workplace Doctors is a FREE resource to help you find solutions to workplace communication problems.  

1. You may find the answer to your question in our archive of over 3,000 questions and responses in the categories on the right.

2. You will receive an email response. When your question is posted, it will be shown as anonymous.

3. Our expertise is workplace communication, not legal or medical concerns. Under the “Useful Links” tab at the top, we list sites to which you might submit legal and medical questions.

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Love My Job

I’ve been in Biology for three years now, and I’m really loving it.  The department is so large that they have multiple support staff, and I get to do my absolute favorite thing, which is personnel.  Everything from placing ads for new hires (they have a LOT of grants, huge amounts, and are always hiring research techs and postdocs), through RTP and eventually retirement.  It’s a very kind, grateful, fun, appreciative department with lots of laughter.  I love it.

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How Can I Politely Let Customers Know I Can’t Help Them?

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about how to handle calls for assistance that aren’t really part of the work.

Question: A couple of months ago I got a new job as a system design architect. That is basically a fancy way of saying that I install smart home technology and audio systems. We put in a lot of Televisions for home theaters and there are a lot of people that believe we are like TV repairmen.

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Unhappy about Time

Question submitted to Ask the Workplace Doctors about reporting time:

Is it legal for my office coordinator to ask me to fill out a timesheet every two weeks on a spreadsheet, when I’m already doing my time sheet online through Human Resource. And she doesn’t want it as a pdf which cannot be changed. I’ve been working at my company for over twenty years and have never had to fill out two time cards. I work for a very large mutual insurance company and I looked up this new office coordinator’s background and she is supposed to be some sort of stress relief or motivator of sorts. Every Friday, we have to come up with a game to play at 4:30 which is a pain in the you know what when a bunch of people are trying to complete their work. So why is she asking us to give her a two week timesheet? I don’t know of any company that fills out two time sheets. To top that, she’s an email spammer! Could it be that she is just looking for something to do? I don’t get it. Signed Time for a Change

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Working in the Horse Barn With Lazy Jan

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a coworker:

I work at a horse barn and I have a coworker that has been working much longer than I have and at times is my “boss” if my original boss is not around. She is quite lazy when it comes to doing her job. Everyone there does the same type of work no matter if you’re new or not. Frequently through each shift she will disappear for like 20 minutes and sit down somewhere on her phone. No one really says anything because she is bestfriends with the boss. But then she still will yell at people for being lazy even though she disappears every time we’re about to do something hard. So my question is, how do I mention to either her or my boss about trying to get her to be more involved and not disappear when we have to do things that are hard?  Signed– Where’s Lazy Jan

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Not Enough Time For Work and School

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about work vs. school:

I’ve come into a recent problem with my job as of late, causing me to not be able to take care of my classwork properly like I should. Now I know that normally the answer to this question would be quite simple, just request more hours off to help alleviate more time for me to do things school related and to be able to catch up on homework. However, just recently we got very short handed at the last minute and was desperately needed for my skills at my job. The fact being that I’ve worked there for just about a year now and all of my managers are very impressed with my improvements I feel that it’s a good thing, but I have run into a problem. I’m working way too much(pretty much 40 hours a week) alongside being in school full time, and I don’t know what to do. 

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How Do You Stop Ms. Rude?

A question to Ask theWorkplace Doctors about a rude coworker:

I have a coworker who is very controlling and rude. Whenever we have meetings, she cuts everyone off. She does not listen to anyone’s ideas and she never wants to accept constructive criticism. There was one time where we were doing a group project trying to reorganize things in the office. I had an idea and voiced it out loud. Before I finished my idea, she cut me off and ignored the fact that I was saying anything. How do I confront my coworker without offending her or being rude? But a time I felt good in the workplace is when my manager was cutting all the employees that were minors in half and I went to her respectfully and advocated for myself and got my hours back. This happened in the beginning of the virus pandemic. Signed–Stop Ms. Rude

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Hard and Risky Work But Unappreciated

A question to Ask theWorkplace Doctors about hard work not being appreciated:

Why some are underappreciated in the workplace for putting in more effort.

I have worked at a nursing home/assisted living facility for over a year and a half. I have been there long enough to see that there are a lot of people, including me, who get taken advantage of. Not to sound full of myself or cocky, but I put in a lot more effort and care a lot more about my job than most people and I am not being treated like I do. I train all the new employees and do all kinds of extra work and I am actually thinking of quitting because the raise I was given was not a reflection of the work I do. I just do not understand how over the last few months, they have let all these amazing employees leave because of their treatment.  Signed–Unappreciated

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Why Should I Step Back After Doing The Work?

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about how to respond to being shut out on a project after doing all of the foundational work.

I’ve led the development of an application from project conception to many successful deployments in my department while also actively working as senior programmer. I’ve had the support and respect of the project leadership and sponsors from the beginning. However, over the years another team in another department attempted to develop the exact same application and failed many times. I have now been asked to collaborate with this team, and was told by my manager that the team will now take over the project going forward.

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COVID-19 and Family Separation From Work

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about quitting work in a family restaurant.

For a little over two years I worked at a local restaurant owned by my cousin. I worked alongside other family members while working there as well, so we became pretty close through the years. Due to a recent COVID-19 incident at the restaurant, for my health and my immediate families health I decided to take two weeks off, even though that was not mandatory, but I thought that was the safest option. During those two weeks I went back and forth with my family on what I wanted to do in terms of employment there. My family and I decided my safest option would be to quit working at the restaurant. I called my boss and explained to him my concerns and what I thought the best option for me and my family would be and that I personally did not feel safe working in a restaurant during this time. He was very understanding towards the situation and told me to do what I thought was best for me and my family.
I was very relieved on how the conversation went but I was still a little concerned on the family matter of things. My question is to you, what is the best way to separate family and working matters? I am trying to avoid the awareness, if there is any, next time I see them either at a family event or possibly at my old job. Signed–Covid-19 and Family

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