Employee feels like pay cut is "slap in the face" .

I'm having a bit of an issue at my work. I told my boss and the owners of the restaurant about a month ago about my big...

Workplace Woes - Roze Knows

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Norfolk, VA 23509-9134

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Dear Roze:

I had a job for less than six months and had to quit. My boss and I were like vinegar and oil, and it just wasn't worth it for me to stay. He was a total imbecile to put it mildly. Now, I'm in a position where I don't know if I should even mention this job to potential employers. What do you think?

Job Jam in Chesapeake

Dear Job Jam in Chesapeake:

Honesty is always the best policy. I suggest that your resume reflects accurate dates of your employment. If asked in an interview as to why you were on this particular job for a short period of time, explain that it was not a good fit for you. Do not, however, make any negative comments about the boss.

© 2005 Rozanne R. Worrell

Dear Roze:

I just started my own business and recently had to fire a couple of my employees for being dishonest. It was no easy task and I really don't want to have to deal with such issues anymore if I can help it. I'd like to know if there is a way for me to weed out dishonest people as they go through the hiring process without having to spend a lot of money. It is critical that I have employees I can trust. Do you have any suggestions on what I should do and at what point in the hiring process I should do it?

Business Owner with Honesty Issues

Dear Business Owner with Honesty Issues:

Although there are no guarantees, you should always make every effort to prevent dishonest individuals from working for you. You can invest in a standardized honesty assessment test, such as the CareerEthic Inventory (www.careerethic.com) or the Reid Report (www.reidlondonhouse.com/index.html). However, if you have limited funds, I suggest that you concentrate your efforts with the interview and reference checks. It is your responsibility to uncover any inconsistencies in a candidate's interview and/or suspicious or negative information from the reference checks. Based on any questionable data you collect, you have the power and the responsibility to remove a person from your candidate pool. You can also talk to individuals who have not been provided as references but have or have had a working relationship with a candidate. These people can reveal significant information that will assist you in determining whether or not to hire a particular person.

© 2004 Rozanne R. Worrell


Dear Roze:

I was recently hired by a company for my hard work ethic, creativity, and ability to accomplish numerous tasks at the same time. It's nice to be recognized for my abilities and accomplishments. I have a problem with one of the guys I work with. He's quite a bit older than me and has been with this company for over 15 years. I've picked up on the fact that he has the reputation for being everyone's “go-to” guy and a very hard worker, and I respect him for that. However, since my arrival, he has been very aloof and he never seems to get my name right. He also doesn't acknowledge when I'm in charge of a project and conveniently forgets to do things he says he will do that will support my projects. A senior guy in the office told me that this “go-to” guy probably feels threatened by me because of all the new ideas and hard work I'm doing. I find that hard to believe. The senior guy also says that it doesn't help that I'm a female and quite a bit younger than him. I'm over it. We're in a small office and even though we're assigned individual projects, management promotes teamwork and expects everyone to help each other out. I want things to work out, but I don't want to change the way I do my work. That's why I was hired. What do you think I should do?

Over the “Go-to” Guy

Dear Over the “Go-to” Guy:

Although I understand your frustration, I suggest that you try to empathize with your “go-to” colleague. It sounds like the “senior guy” in your office has him well-pegged. Without changing your work habits or squashing your creative juices, it would be to your advantage to ask the “go-to” guy for his input and feedback on your projects and show interest in his projects as well. If your deference towards him does not improve his attitude and behavior, have a one-on-one with him. Sincerely and respectfully tell him that you admire his work and would like to have a better professional relationship with him. Hopefully, after all your efforts, the “go-to” guy will be a stand-up guy and respond in such a way that reflects his good reputation.

© 2005 Rozanne R. Worrell

Dear Roze:

I have a boss who is so uptight. This is his first supervisory position in our firm and it appears that he's having a real hard time dealing with his new role, especially since those of us who report to him have a lot more years in than he does. He has bitten his fingernails down to their nubs. He always has to go to a chiropractor for stress-related back problems, and whenever he's sitting, one of his legs is constantly shaking. It's really hard for those of us who work for him to be around him. We're in a very small office, so it's impossible to stay away from him. I often do what I have to do to avoid being around him, including making up reasons to get out of the office. He absolutely drives me and the other guys bonkers. Even though he has told us to come talk to him if we have a question or a problem, I really don't think he expects us to come to him when we have a problem with him. Any suggestions?

Going Bonkers in Portsmouth

Dear Going Bonkers in Portsmouth:

I suggest that you approach this situation with empathy for your boss. Let him know that you and your colleagues are sincerely concerned about him and want to know if he is okay and if there is anything any of you can do for him. Your thoughtful consideration of your boss may have a calming effect on him and curb some of his nervous habits.

© 2005 Rozanne R. Worrell

Dear Roze:

I 'm one of about eight administrative assistants where I work. I am so fed up with one of the other administrative assistants. Even though we are all basically equal in status, this particular assistant thinks her projects are more important than anyone else's. She really thinks she's better than the rest of us. As a result, she expects the rest of us to help her when she has a deadline for one of her project managers, and she has no problem butting in line when one of us is working on a project at the copier or in the middle of faxing a big document. But she never helps any of us when we're in a bind and need some help and we all are more professional and would never interrupt her or anyone else's use of the copier or fax machine. I usually just ignore her and shrug off the way she is, but I just don't want to do that anymore. Any suggestions on what I can do, realizing that this woman has a real attitude. She's a real pill, to say the least.

Aggravated Administrative Assistant

Dear Aggravated Administrative Assistant:

I suggest that you and one of the other administrative assistants meet with the problem administrative assistant. Explain to her that all of you want her to start treating all of you in the same manner that she likes to be treated (the golden rule). Document your meeting and give your colleague a copy of the document. Give her a chance to improve her attitude and conduct. If you do not see any substantive changes, the two of you should meet with one of your immediate supervisors and request assistance with this matter. Provide the supervisor with an overview of the situation and your efforts to handle it. Also give him/her a copy of your supporting documentation.

© 2004 Rozanne R. Worrell

Dear Roze:

If possible, I'd appreciate it if you would tell me the one tenet you think a person should follow when dealing with issues in the workplace.

Harriet in Hampton

Dear Harriet in Hampton:

Without question, you cannot go wrong by following the golden rule… do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

© 2004 Rozanne R. Worrell


Dear Roze:

I've just started my own business doing computer work for various government agencies and utility companies. I've hired some great people to work for me, from a technical standpoint as well as character. I'm very fortunate to have them in my organization. They could easily stay with the companies they were with, which are very large and renown in this field, but they were so tired of the politics, bureaucracy, and backstabbing that come with a big corporation. I'm concerned that I won't be able to retain these people because I can't compete with the fat paychecks, which often include big raises and bonuses. Is there anything I can do?

Small Business Owner in Need of Help

Dear Small Business Owner in Need of Help:

In addition to substantial paychecks, there are a variety of creative ways you can let your employees know how much you value them. To name just a few, you can give them gift certificates for spa treatments, including massages, manicures, or pedicures; or tickets to cultural and sports activities, including a play, concert, opera, baseball game, or hockey game. You can also have lunch brought in to your employees, send them home with a prepared dinner, or give them gift certificates for various eateries in town. You can also occasionally provide your employees with lawn care service and/or housekeeping service so they do not have to continue to work when they leave the office. It's amazing how these perks can make your employees feel appreciated and, consequently, committed to the organization.

© 2004 Rozanne R. Worrell


Dear Roze:

I work for the government and have done so for over 10 years. We have quite a few guys in the office who have been with the agency for twice that amount of time. These guys have very little computer skills and make no effort to learn, even though it's obvious that we are continuously getting away from paper. One of these guys whose cubicle is next to mine is constantly asking me to fix his documents on the computer. This has been going on for over 14 months! He's very nice about it, but I'm finding that his requests are getting more frequent and taking up more and more of my time. He's using me, but I don't think he looks at it that way. I've had enough. I think he's embarrassed that he doesn't have these skills and would prefer to keep it from our boss, but our boss would have to have his head in the sand not to know what's going on with him and others like him. Any suggestions on how I can handle this without getting this guy mad or embarrassed?

Get with the Program in Norfolk

Dear Get with the Program in Norfolk:

I applaud you for the patience you have exhibited with your coworker's requests and the helpfulness you have extended to him for over a year. I suggest that you meet with your boss and respectfully request that he approve a computer skills training workshop for the office and that he make sure that those employees who do not have the skills, take the course. Volunteer to or be prepared to accept responsibility for setting up this training.

© 2005 Rozanne R. Worrell


Dear Roze:

I have recently ventured out on my own and started a sales company. I have three guys working for me who I have had business dealings with for quite some time. They are very successful salesmen in their own right and that's why I asked them to be a part of my team. But that's where things fall apart. These guys are not working together as a team, and I think if they did, our sales would be higher and the work environment in the office would be more tolerable. I don't know how to change things around here. Any recommendations?

Tim in need of Teamwork

Dear Tim in need of Teamwork:

It is important to establish a work environment that encourages collaboration and teamwork. Besides paying and commending your employees for their individual sales achievements, I suggest that their financial compensation packages and commendations also be based on their contributions to the success of their colleagues. Communicate in writing and verbally the criteria to be used to evaluate each employee's performance. These criteria will not only include each person's sales numbers, but each person's efforts to assist others and willingness to share information with others. You want each salesman to know that his success is dependent upon the success of everyone else.

© 2004 Rozanne R. Worrell

Dear Roze:

Me and all my coworkers are about to blow our tops. We're in a small office and we have this one coworker who never seems to be around the office when there's talk of having to work overtime, which involves putting in time in the evening or on Saturdays or Sundays. This guy is NOT a team player. It amazes us how he always has the uncanny ability to pop up after it's been decided who will be doing the extra work. It's hard for us to be civil to him. If this only happened once or twice, I would say it's just lucky timing, but now, after at least a half a dozen times, I feel otherwise. It's really not fair to the rest of us who regularly give up our nights and weekends. And now that it's summertime, there are so many more festivals, sports events, and other stuff going on in Hampton Roads for us to do with our friends and families. What do you think?

Not a Team Player

Dear Not a Team Player:

Of course, I am hopeful that your boss is aware of this situation in the office, and hence, he/she will make sure that everyone puts in some overtime. If this is not the case, you and your coworkers can also do your part to address the issue. You and another coworker can talk to the problem coworker on behalf of all the employees in the office. Maintain your professionalism; and stay cool, calm, and collected during this discussion. Explain to this individual that the two of you are speaking on behalf of every employee in the office. Tell him that all of you are displeased with his lack of availability for overtime work and would like him to be more of a team player. There is no guarantee that you will see a change in his behavior. You may even find this coworker to be defensive. Nevertheless, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you did your part to make a change and that this coworker now knows that everyone is on to his shenanigans.

© 2005 Rozanne R. Worrell