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Lynne Curry

Q: One of our long-term employees is a hypochondriac and a hysteric but great at her job.

In September, when a severe viral respiratory illness infected thousands of children in Colorado, she bought hand sanitizers for everyone’s desk and quarreled with those who didn’t regularly use them in her presence.

The Ebola death in Dallas followed by the nurses' illnesses recently sent her over the edge. Yesterday another employee showed several co-workers photos taken by his father who recently returned from an African safari. “Cari” saw the photos, heard the word Africa and immediately left the workplace. She then texted me saying she wouldn’t return until her co-worker was placed on leave and he and his father had medical examinations...

Lynne Curry

The first time Wayne barked at Annette, she raised an eyebrow and asked, “Bad day? You’d prefer I come back later?”

“Now’s as good a time as any,” he snarled. “You people push for this and push for that. You think you’re the only people who count. What’s this f---ing email you sent?” Annette got up and left his office.

Wayne sent her a stormy email, which she forwarded to her supervisor, Wayne’s supervisor and Human Resources. The next day, a chastened Wayne responded with the information Annette had requested...

Lynne Curry

Q: I’m the chair of the board for a high-profile nonprofit organization. Our executive director is a task-oriented, “take no prisoners” individual. In the last year, he’s managed to tick off many board members, and we’ve had a high level of staff turnover.

I like our ED because he gets results. The employees who left needed to go, and our ED had straightened out many of our organization’s funding problems. He’s given our board the first accurate financial statements we’ve received. The other board members, almost all women, like the results the ED produces but accuse him of “caveman” methods...

Lynne Curry

Q: When I returned from lunch last week, my manager stopped me from going to my office and ordered me into the conference room. When I asked, “What’s up?” he refused to answer, but instead brought in the human resources manager. Together they interrogated me, asking me questions that led me to realize they’d looked through my personal iPad.

I asked point blank if they had looked at my iPad and they said they weren’t answering questions, but were asking them. They said since my iPad was at work in my office, I apparently used it during the workday. I said this was an assumption, that I preferred not to leave it in my car and had full right to use it on my lunch hour. They said since I’m exempt, my lunch hour could be considered work time...

Lynne Curry

Q: When I read the Alaska Dispatch News article about the man fired for talking to the media about the brawl at his employer's birthday party, I wondered if I have a wrongful termination lawsuit.

I got fired for voicing my opinion about my supervisor at a Saturday night party to a friend who worked for one of our company's clients. I didn't say anything that wasn't true. Tuesday morning I got hauled in and fired. My boss didn't even ask me to explain the situation; he just told me I'd talked negatively about our company and he didn't want me around...

Lynne Curry

Q: "Steve's" resignation three months ago took me by surprise. He'd always told me how much he loved his job. Then one day he walked in with a resignation letter dated the prior week and said he was leaving by the end of the week because he'd been offered a "dream job." When I asked him why he wasn't giving us two weeks' notice, he said his new employer needed him and he'd given them his word the prior week.

I'd always respected Steve, and he'd told me many times in the eight months he worked for me that I was a great manager. Still, in his last week, he screwed up every assignment, trashed me to his co-workers and voiced a number of made-up grievances. By the time he walked out the door I thought "good riddance."...

Lynne Curry

Q: As a shareholder, I was thrilled to get hired as a management trainee by my tribal organization. Shortly after I made it past my probationary period, our agency’s deputy director encouraged me to apply for a senior position, one in which I’d write grants and oversee contract compliance.

When I hesitated, saying I didn’t have enough education to handle the job’s duties, he told me I had the right stuff, would be a fool to turn down the chance for more money, that our organization wanted shareholders in leadership positions, and that he’d get me the training I needed. I applied for and received the promotion. A day later, his daughter got the position I vacated. Apparently she had been the No. 2 choice when I’d gotten hired...

Lynne Curry

Q: Three months ago, my employer asked me to establish LinkedIn and Twitter accounts. I couldn’t believe my good fortune in getting paid to create and maintain a social network.

Although I created a somewhat sedate LinkedIn profile, I followed everyone’s advice to let my personality shine through on Twitter. At first I had a lot of fun with Twitter and followed as many feeds as I could. I was excited when the individuals I followed in turn followed me. Soon I was up to 400 followers...

Lynne Curry

Q: I moved to Alaska to escape my past. I’ve moved like this many times before. I look for a small company that doesn’t check references and get a job. Then, it happens. Someone in the workplace won’t stop asking me questions. No matter how I try to deflect this person’s curiosity, they ask ever more probing questions.

When they realize they can’t get information out of me, they dig using the Internet. Ultimately, they learn I was married to a man formerly on a terrorist list who fled the country...

Lynne Curry

Q: I’ve worked three years for our branch, first as a salesperson and then as the sales manager. When I started to burn out on sales, I told our company’s CEO I wanted to move into operations and he said he’d move me up as soon as he could. Last week, our branch manager unexpectedly resigned and I got the promotion.

I need to decide who to hire or promote into my place as sales manager. “Anne” is the logical choice. She’s our highest-producing sales agent and a true go-getter...

Lynne Curry

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