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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Feeling Degraded

A Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about feeling degraded

This situation happened last night. I have only worked at this Greenhouse for a month. Last night I was trying to keep myself busy while we weren’t busy so I wasn’t just standing around, so I decided to keep busy by untangingling the 20 clematis vines that grew together. It started to get busy all at once and I stopped what I was doing and went to go to the register and I go over to help to the other associate behind the register and didn’t make it to behind the counter but in front of and my boss asks me what I was doing in front of all of the customers and I told him I was untangling the clematis and he went mmmm ok. Then a customer had already paid and he told me to start packing stuff in the plastic holder but the customer kept saying clearly that there wasn’t room for all of the very full and tall plants to go into all of the square slots, but he kept shoving them in there and made me do the same. I was embarrassed and felt degraded. Maybe others think I am being too sensitive. I work a full time job and do this part time. He’s made comments to me before, like are you going to do anything tonight. I feel really degraded by him. The owner’s wife asked me to stay and help him with a potting class the one night. So I did, without pay. Even though he still had me doing work. I just feel really degraded. Am I in the wrong? Signed-Feel Degraded

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Coworker Critiques Make Me Cringe

Question: I at times have to work with a coworker who makes me feel uncomfortable in what may seem an odd way. She always calls me out on things I do that my normal shift partner does not comment on or say is actually wrong. She questions some things I do, and I have to say I didn’t feel comfortable doing whatever it was for whatever reason, and I always feel like I do something wrong.

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When Can I Assume I’m Unemployed?

Question: My boss is ignoring my emails, calls and text messages. I work a “flex” schedule, meaning I get a new schedule before my current assignment ends. I have been working 72 hours or more every week for about two and a half months, but the current assignment is set to end in less than a week and I have not received a new schedule yet, although I’ve asked for one.

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Interrupted In Russian

I work for an agency that provides services for many nationalities. Most of the staff speak Russian. I do not. The issue is that numerous times I could be engaged in a conversation with one supervisor and the other jumps in. Then they start speaking Russian. It makes me feel uncomfortable and I have no idea what they are saying. This can go on for a few minutes. What is my recourse? —What Can I Say?

Dear What Can I Say?

You are employed for a global agency. You must have been hired because you have certain skills and credentials they determined were needed. Are you new? Have you earned enough credibility to make this a matter of a staff discussion? Does anyone other than you see this as a problem?

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Screaming Match!

A question submitted to Ask the Workplace Doctors about Screaming

My coworker and I got into a screaming match at work. She called me a piece of shit and I should kiss her ass. I told her I do not kiss woman ass because I am not lesbian. My co-worker told my supervisor I called her lesbian and I was send home. My supervisor did not ask me what happened. He just sent me to HR, and I was sent to a different location to work without telling me why. What can I do?

Signed – Sent Elsewhere

Dear Sent Elsewhere:
What can you do? You can reflect on what led up to the screaming maaaatch (the misspelling is to help you recall what happened) and to list your options. Our site is committed to communication that enables workplace civility and collaboration. We assume that also is your motive for sending this brief drama that probably was heard by coworkers in your work area. 

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Can Bosses Yell But Employees Can’t?

Question: I raised a tone of voice to the finance manager over the phone. We had a quarterly report which I make in a system and then submit it to her. She said she doesn’t see it and I checked again if it is submitted. It was submitted and I told her that there is nothing else I can do as my part is done, and she should ask IT help to see the submission, and I am leaving. I left the office.

Later she called me yelling at me that I left, and I yelled back at her saying it is not my fault. On the next day, the General manager called me and gave me the last warning for raising a tone of voice to the Finance manager who is above my level.

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Avoiding Trash Talker

I have a coworker I distance myself from because she trash talks about others and dupes people that she is a victim then uses others to gang up on one specific individual. When I interact with them I’m always professional and kind even if they spew passive aggressive comments at me. Recently sadly that co worker’s father has died. I wanted to give my condolences but felt wary about letting them into my life again. I decided I’ll talk to them in person at work instead of calling. Unexpectedly a manager came up to me asking why I personally didn’t contact her or call her to see if she was okay.

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Dissatisfied Because Another Department Interrupts

Ask the Workplace Doctors about dissatisfied with work interrupted by an adjoining department that has employees who lack knowledge and are paid better:

I would like to ask what a wise approach would be in this situation. I am working in a department with certain interdependencies with another department. People in the other department are inexperienced and do not take responsibility for their mistakes or ownership of tasks. They constantly come to me and my boss to review their work and ask questions that they should know how to answer at their level or repeated questions that were previously explained. There are Glassdoor reviews attesting to the lack of knowledge persistent in that department.

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Was My Colleague’s Comment an Insult?

Question: I am a project manager at a small, extremely busy advertising firm. One of our clients has direct communication with the creative director, completely bypassing me. This coworker posted conflicting information about a very large project. I asked him about the scope and due date and he told me to “just sit tight”. To me that is something you say to an anxious 8 year old child and not to a coworker who is just trying to do their job. This person regularly makes off-color comments but this response was directed specifically to me. Thoughts?

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Does a Year’s Work Mean I’m Permanent?

Is it possible to act in a position without signing a contract for more than a year and not be given the position permanently?  —Want To Know

Dear Want To Know:

For advice to your question, I invited Danica Rice, a Human Resource manager. Danica replied:  it’s hard to answer because I do not know what type of what this is referring to. In order to provide an accurate response more information is needed.  Ohio is an at-will state which means employment with almost all employers is at-will. The employer can terminate for or without cause as well as the employee can leave the employee with or without any reason. If a contract is in place then the contract has to be upheld or either party could be held liable for breach of the contract. Again, without more information this is all I can say about this question. 

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