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Lynne Curry

Q: Our executive director plans to retire within the year. The board of directors has made it clear that they’re considering two of us as ideal successors.

I couldn’t care less about the potential promotion, as the headaches aren’t worth the money. "Lloyd" desperately wants the job, sees me as a threat and has been trying to take me out of the running. I tried to reassure him by saying, “I don’t want the job,” but Lloyd took this as an insult, asking, “What makes you think you’ve even got a shot?”...

Lynne Curry

Q: I supervise a talented, touchy woman. When I give her compliments, she takes them as her due. When I give her suggestions for how she can improve, she argues and sulks.

About six months ago, I got tired of the drama and stopped trying to give her feedback. That worked until last week when it came time for her annual performance review. Even though I gave her an “exceeds expectations” rating in one area and “meets expectations” ratings in the rest, she became extremely upset. She felt she deserved “exceeds expectations” ratings in all but one area.

She apparently stormed into the HR office, claiming I’d unfairly rated her. They called me on the carpet. Although I was able to back up each of my ratings, the fact that my employee sought out HR made me look bad...

Lynne Curry

Q: We have a dirty little secret in our company. Our comptroller is a no-holds-barred bully. Cross him and your work life isn't worth living. His employees and other department heads either knuckle under or leave.

I refuse to let him know he intimidates me. Although he scares me and I’ve thought of quitting, I’ve decided I’m not going to let him run me out of a job I like. He’s not used to others standing up to him, and he’s making my life a living hell.

We have a code of conduct in our company that supposedly addresses this. I met with our director of human resources and laid out the case showing the many ways in which the comptroller violates the code of conduct. She asked, “What do you expect me to do?”...

Lynne Curry

Q: My company recently promoted me. I was initially stunned and then excited. I’ve always been a follower and not a leader, and my manager’s faith in me made me desire to do my very best.

One of my former co-workers thought he should have received the promotion, as he had a master’s degree. When I reached out to him to tell him I thought we’d be a good team, he rebuffed me, saying, “Your promotion’s a joke” and “Hope you don’t ---- things up too bad.” I didn’t tell my manager about this exchange because I didn’t want him to think he’d picked the wrong person to promote...

Lynne Curry

Q: My husband’s company has branch offices in Anchorage and Seattle and a corporate office in Houston. The branch office manager in Anchorage is younger than my husband and has no plans to move on. As a result, there’s been no chance for my husband to move up the ladder.

I begged my husband to look at other job opportunities, but he stubbornly refused. He said he likes his work and the people in his company, both here and in the other offices, and wasn’t willing to change careers or companies.

He just got offered a promotion to be the branch manager in Seattle. He’d be making more money than the Anchorage branch manager. Because it’s with the same company, he’s suddenly willing to move up. He’s excited and expects me to be excited as well.

I’m not...

Lynne Curry

Q: I love Christmas and giving gifts, but this year I’m feeling I’d like to be as much of a Scrooge as other employees. Last year I gave thoughtful gifts to my boss and co-workers. I gave a beautiful china platter to one woman, a handmade children’s blanket to a man with a small child and similar gifts to others. Other than my boss, only one person gave me anything, a CD so tacky I threw it away. While several said “oh, thanks” as if they deserved a gift but I didn’t, most didn’t even bother to say thanks...

Lynne Curry

Q: One of my co-workers began texting me three months ago. At first, I was flattered because he had a reputation for being standoffish and hard to get to know. After a while, our texting was how we both got through the day.

Our texts became personal. I care for him and he’s told me many times I’m the only one who understands him. When he has something important to tell me, we go out for a smoke and take a walk around the parking lot. On a walk last week, he told me he dreams of killing the man who manages our office. When he could tell he’d made me nervous, he told me he was just joking. That afternoon, he texted me that he counted on me never to betray him...

Lynne Curry

Q: I work as a personal trainer at a small local gym. I also have a membership there and work out on my own time with a small group of people I train with. Recently, the company owner decided to bring in a nutrition product and told all of us that we had to sell it. It was network marketed via a pyramid scheme.

I researched it and didn’t like what I saw, nor did I like that the owner was trying to use the other employees and I for his personal benefit. I was told if I didn’t support the product I’d lose my job. When I asked what this meant, I learned I couldn’t voice my doubts about the product. I also learned I’d have to pay a signup fee to sell the product, and it would only be reimbursed if I sold $3,000 of the product in six weeks...

Lynne Curry

Q: I hate my company’s weekend Christmas party. It’s not that it’s isn’t nice on the part of my employer, it’s that I have shopping, wrapping and Christmas decorating to do and a lot of other parties I’d rather attend than one with people I interact with every day. Worse, I pay a heavy price for dragging my husband out to socialize with people he has nothing in common with.

Because I’m the office manager, I have to organize the party and listen to all the other employees bitching that they have to attend or be called “non-team players.” Worse, I’m on duty during the party, making sure no one gets carried away drinking free liquor and steps over the line sexually or piles into a car and gets into an accident on the way home...

Lynne Curry

Q: When I got hired at a major oil company, my supervisor told me “Stevie” would orient me. I was prepared to like Stevie; she was pretty and seemed smart and classy.

Stevie didn’t waste any time telling me I wasn’t the applicant she would have hired. When I asked her why not, she told me it was obvious, that I came from a small, family-owned business and so didn’t have the requisite level of corporate experience the position needed. I told her I knew I could learn if she’d teach me. She just raised her eyebrow...

Lynne Curry

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