Lynne Curry

Q: As a contract flight attendant for a charter airline that serves corporate clients, my income depends on the relationship I build with the airline’s pilots. Three months ago, the chief pilot and my best friend, a flight attendant for another airline, divorced. Ever since then, the CP has had it in for me.

Immediately after their divorce, he saw me on the tarmac and told me, “You need to find another airline.” I was shocked and didn’t say anything. He then said, “Scared? I can ruin you.”...

Lynne Curry

Q: I just had the oddest conversation with my boss. He asked if I’d like to own my own business.

When I realized he was serious, I asked, “What’s the catch?” He said there wasn’t one and that if I became a franchisee, and we created a business to business relationship, it would be a win for him and for me. He said since it would lower his payroll costs, he would guarantee my new small business work from his business and become a subsidy client for me. He acted like we should break out the champagne and celebrate.

I asked if I was being fired. He said of course not, but then he gave the franchise paperwork to sign and a list of Internet websites that I could use to set up my business. He expects my answer today. Could this get me into trouble?...

Lynne Curry

Q: I started a job search because I’d felt my position was going to be eliminated. When I asked my former supervisor, she admitted she was planning to outsource my duties. So I found a better job and gave two weeks’ notice. My supervisor wished me well.

Soon after I started my new job, my former supervisor called me and asked that she be able to call me whenever she had questions. She didn’t offer any compensation. I let her know I had just started a new job and would get back to her later that week.

One year into my new job, I was laid off. After I had several interviews that seemed like home runs but received no job offers, I called the last interviewer. She said my former supervisor had badmouthed me and implied I was not to be trusted. What can I do?...

Lynne Curry

Q: When I arrived at my office this morning, I found a sealed envelope with my name printed on it in block letters. Inside was an anonymous note informing me that our sales manager has had an illicit affair with the accounts receivable clerk who quit last week.

I don’t believe it. My sales manager is married and my wife and I regularly socialize with him and his wife. The head of accounting received a similar note and brought it to me. I told her to toss it in the trash. She mentioned she’d heard rumors about the sales manager and another individual who left our company last year.

She thinks we need to do something. Do we?...

Lynne Curry

Q: We legalized pot in this state in February, so can you tell me how I got fired for THC on my drug test last week? I smoke in my house and on my own time and it’s none of my employer’s business.

My buddies tell me I should sue my employer for violating my rights. Can I?

A: Although we legalized recreational marijuana use in Alaska, you probably don’t have a winnable lawsuit , particularly if your organization has a zero-tolerance policy regarding drug use...

Lynne Curry

Q: I’m the human resources manager you wrote about in a recent article. I didn’t take action when an employee came to me complaining about a bully manager.

It’s easy for you and others to say HR should handle bully managers. In reality it’s not so simple. First, bullying isn’t illegal. Unless there’s a documentable offense, HR’s hands are tied, particularly if the alleged bully is talented and productive. We need evidence before we can act.

What the employee undoubtedly didn’t tell you is that almost every employee who comes to us pointing the finger at an alleged bully asks us to keep what they say and even the fact that they’ve come to us confidential. This means that if we do anything, it’s as if we’ve made up the stories we heard...

Lynne Curry

Q: I’m the project lead for our department and single. As lead, I sometimes have to make hard calls in terms of who gets leave and who doesn’t when two employees both ask for the same day off. I also give input into my co-workers’ performance reviews. I’ve always followed a rule -- don’t telegraph an interest in any of my co-workers.

A year ago, a tall, nice-looking single man took a job here. We quickly became office “best friends.” I knew I was taking a risk but his face lit up when I came into his work area and, since I was between guy friends, the positive vibe I got from him felt great...

Lynne Curry

Q: I get along well with "Mitch." He runs a department that supports my department and so I need his goodwill. I'm well aware that department heads who tangle with Mitch pay for it when their departments need help from his team. I don't like watching what happens to those who get on Mitch's wrong side, but I've told myself that these battles aren't my concern.

Last week one of Mitch's employees came to me and sought my help. I'd been aware that Mitch's department had a high level of turnover, but again, what happens in a peer's department isn't my issue. This employee painted a picture of bullying that was far worse that I’d imagined...

Lynne Curry

Q: I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I let everyone in the workplace, my boss, my peers, even my employees, bully me. I back down from every skirmish. Everyone tells me “I’m the best,” but then instead of treating me that way, they take advantage of me. When I hear those words, I cringe. I know they mean “you’re gullible” and “I’m about to manipulate you.” I’m working on Memorial Day weekend, while everyone else is off fishing and camping.

In the past, I’ve looked for a new job when I finally decide I’ve had enough, but that’s getting old. How does a person turn around a lifetime of giving in, putting others’ needs first and being bullied? Is it best to quit and start over at a new workplace with a new resolve?...

Lynne Curry

Q: Four months ago, two people from my organization suddenly left, both for understandable reasons. One moved out of state. The other learned her daughter had an illness requiring home care.

I was last person standing in my department. My boss came to me and asked me to “dig in” and work extra hours, to help train the new people we’d need to hire. He said, “as soon as the new employees were solidly onboard,” I’d be promoted to lead.

We hired them, I trained them and both passed their three-month probationary period. They each got raises. I’m still waiting for my, “promotion to lead.” I asked my boss about it and he said, “The situation is fluid.” What the heck does that mean?...

Lynne Curry