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Lynne Curry

Q: I handle marketing for a large engineering company. Our owners are engineers and not managers. As a result, no one runs things when people problems occur.

To produce proposals, I need to coordinate with two individuals, a department manager and a project manager. Both are bullies and have made my work life a living hell for three years.

When I ask them for materials or concepts for the proposals, they refuse to answer my emails or meet with me, saying they’re too busy.

When I visit their offices to ask them questions, they scream at me that I’ve been around long enough to know the answers.

When I make up proposal content and they read the final proposal, they curse me for misstating key concepts...

Lynne Curry

Q: I’m a new business owner and supervise my first employee, a young man who pushes endlessly for “perks” even as he displays a lack of work ethic by packing up his things before 5 and texting during the work day.

I could fire him and hire someone new, but I might get someone just as bad. I sense he has no idea how I or any other supervisor would read his behavior. How do I turn this around?

A: The answer you seek lies between his ears. What motivates him? If you find that out, you may be able to get what you want, a motivated employee.

Managers waste both money and time when they ignore the employee mind, the least understood component of employee productivity. Starting from day one, each employee forms answers to questions such as:...

Lynne Curry

Q: I’m the only male employee in a large oil patch company’s accounting department. Although I have a ten year history of positive performance reviews and a generally good relationship with prior supervisors, I’ve always had a testy relationship with a coworker. When our former supervisor resigned four months ago, she was stepped up to acting supervisor and officially given the title a month later.

Since she took over our department, I’ve had a target on my back. She wrote me up for quarreling with her when I simply disagreed. When I protested the write up, I was written up for yelling...

Lynne Curry

Q: Our business development manager slams anyone who dares dispute him. He thinks he’s immune from consequences as he brings so much money into our company.

As I don’t live in fear, I took him on in a recent staff meeting. His comeback was “Young lady, if I may call you that, you need a boyfriend.” I responded “I already have a great one.” He then said “You need a more adequate one.” I was speechless. What could I and should I have said?

A: Speechlessness proves an excellent response to sheer stupidity. A stunned “Pardon me” indicating you can’t believe he said anything that brainless serves as a low voltage response. Alternatively, “Sir, you’re out of line” demonstrates your professionalism in response to his gaucheness...

Lynne Curry

Q. Our business development manager slams anyone who dares dispute him. He thinks he's immune from consequences as he brings so much money into our company.

As I don't live in fear, I took him on in a recent staff meeting. His comeback was "Young lady, if I may call you that, you need a boyfriend." I responded "I already have a great one." He then said "You need a more adequate one." I was speechless. What could I and should I have said?

A. Speechlessness proves an excellent response to sheer stupidity. A stunned "Pardon me" indicating you can't believe he said anything that brainless serves as a low voltage response. Alternatively, "Sir, you're out of line" demonstrates your professionalism in response to his gaucheness...

Lynne Curry

Q: My supervisor is gunning for me.

When I got my job, it was not with his blessing. He wanted a friend of his hired but was out of town when HR called with the hire offer. His friend apparently turned down the salary, thinking he was a shoo-in for the job and could negotiate a higher wage. His attitude ticked off the HR manager, who called me, the No. 2 choice...

Lynne Curry

Q. My supervisor is gunning for me.

When I got my job, it was not with his blessing. He wanted a friend of his hired but was out of town when HR called with the hire offer. His friend apparently turned down the salary, thinking he was a shoo-in for the job and could negotiate a higher wage. His attitude ticked off the HR manager, who called me, the No. 2 choice...

Lynne Curry

Q: My work life is a living hell. I resigned this morning and am taking the rest of the summer off to heal.

For the last six months, I've dreaded coming to work. It started when "Bill" joined our company. Everyone liked his sense of humor. At first, I did too, but then he turned it on me, mocking everything I said.

I tried ignoring Bill because I didn't want to appear defensive, especially as his comments made everyone else laugh, but his barbs got more and more pointed.

I'd always thought my co-workers liked me even though I'm one of the quiet ones, but others followed up Bill's jibes with their own. I became the butt of jokes. I stopped going to lunch with the gang because I didn't feel welcome...

Lynne Curry

Q. I work for a large state agency. I'm totally bored in my job but can't quit and go somewhere else because I'd leave behind pay, pension and vacation benefits I wouldn't get elsewhere.

It's a long time to retirement and I'm hoping you'll give me some ideas for keeping my spirits up. All my life I've wanted to do something more creative and while I don't have artistic or musical talent, I love to write. I planned to live frugally after high school and write for a living but got unexpectedly pregnant, then married and ultimately wound up with four kids and a dull but safe job. So there's never been any time for my dream.

I know I'll write someday but it's a long time to retirement and I'm hoping you'll give me some ways to keep my spirits up...

Lynne Curry

Q. Four months ago, my boss asked me to help train a new employee. She was personable, and we hit it off. Soon we were exchanging details of our lives and frequently ate lunch together.

What I didn't know at the time was that she was a private investigator my employer hired to pose as an employee to investigate theft. I confided in this woman I considered my friend that I was looking for a new job and planned on quitting without notice as soon as I got lucky. I also told her about my gay partner, our hopes to marry in a different state and my son's drug problems.

She let my manager know I was searching for a new job, and he fired me. At the time, I thought maybe someone at one of the companies to which I'd applied for work had leaked my job search activities to him...

Lynne Curry

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