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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. Under the “Useful Links” tab at the top, we list sites to which you might submit legal and medical questions.

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This Special Thanks Was Personal

I work at Allstate. We have a lot of different forms of recognition built in already. You can send these points to your teammates when they help you out, do something good or create a change that benefits the whole office. Typically they are work related, something along the lines of “thank you for helping me with a difficult policy” or “thanks for always being there to answer my questions”. Recently I had received recognition and expected it to be along those same lines. I was surprised to see instead that it said “Thank you for always being open to others ideas and listening instead of assuming. You’re an excellent person and it makes you super easy to work with”. I really felt that was heart-felt and more of a compliment on my personality than just a typical “thanks for your help” email. It really made me feel like a solid piece of the team.

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Just Four Cents to Feel Good

I started out my shift by cashiering just like any other normal day at Heinen’s. This was my third job that I have had. I was a cashier and bagger. Moreover, the job was simple to understand. I was quickly approached by two men who were going to the airport to fly back to Oregon when they checked out. I knew this by starting a friendly conversation with them as I do so with every other customer. Their total came to $10.04. One of the men asked, “Do you have an extra four cents someone put beside that I could use?” He asked this so he didn’t have to carry ninety-six cents through the airport, which would be a hassle for anyone. Quickly, I dug out four cents of my own wallet because I always carry change on me. I put the four cents in the drawer and handed his receipt. He was extremely grateful that he didn’t know what to say at first. He then asked, “What’s your name?” I replied.  Afterwards he said, “When I get home I am going to send in a review of what you did here Evan.” Overall, all it took was four cents to make this guy very happy and grateful. This act of kindness made me feel really good about myself. This made me want to make someone else’s day. I hope this encourages many more to do acts of kindness to spread happiness because it truly can turn someone’s entire day around.

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Lab Mess–Everybody Does All of This Once in a While


A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about complaints about creating a mess within one’s work area:

“The entire lab has come to me to complain about you.” This was what my supervisor told me. I completely accept that I am absent-minded and may forget to keep things in their proper place. Truthfully (10 times in 10 months). But so does all my colleagues. It’s a laboratory! Sometimes people are in a hurry to finish their experiments, and it’s already really late and things are forgotten to be replaced. I have even seen the lab technicians (who apparently have gotten together to speak about me) have done things absent-mindedly. 

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Should I Quit My Job, Since My Manager Doesn’t Support Me Against an Insulting Employee?

Question: I’m a 29 y/o female who works in a male dominated field as a highly-trained industrial worker. I used to work the day shift, but a year ago I switched to working nights due to how I was being treated by the lead hand at the time.

A couple days ago this same lead hand reeked of alcohol (not the first time I’ve smelled it on him), and when I had to ask a work related question in front of both my supervisor and him, he immediately told me, “Shut the fuck up.” My supervisor began laughing, and so did the lead hand.

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Step Down and Train My Replacement! No.

I have been working for a company for 6 months and have been receiving a lot of hostility from an employee that was overlooked for my position. The previous manager before me did not recommend him for the position due to his lack of experience. Since this, that said employee has been hostile towards me and creating a toxic work environment. He also makes the office uncomfortable due to his hostility and anger towards other office personnel within the department.

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Should I Report What My Colleague Told Me?

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about whether or not to report that a coworker
was asked to make a false accusation of sexual harassment.

Question: A work colleague told me that my boss asked her to fake a sexual harassment complaint against another manager. He told her he would give her $4,000 now and $4,000 later, for a total of $8,000.

I asked her what she said and she told me “Oh my gosh, I was so shocked, I didn’t know what to do!” I told her to report it to someone higher, but she said no.

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Apology?

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about dealing with a coworker that acts like she knows everything and can do everyone’s job better than them.

I sent an email to my co-workers asking for guidance on an email that I had to send out. Moreso for them to proof and to edit it if need be. The co-worker in question sent back a harsh email telling me that my email was incorrect. Instead of giving me advice on what it should say she just told me that it was incorrect and if I sent it out the employees would never trust our department again.

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