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  Dr. L’esa,
About 8 years ago, I started working for a computer equipment store. Everything was fine there for 4 years or so. As long as I sold my technical assurance plans etc, the bosses were happy. The job switched the pay structure for the salesmen. They were switched over to commission (this was my 5th year working for them). I didn't want to work commission. Before the program even had time to start, I was already leaving to go to another job. They offered me a different job if I stayed. This job paid about a dollar less an hour than I was making currently but I was happy.

I learned how to do shipping and receiving. I was trained to cover for the warehouse manager, so I had to learn all the systems. I covered for a warehouse manager on three different vacations. I also knew a little RMA. I pretty much have the operation of the entire warehouse down. Not too long ago my department was closed. They started out moving me to the tech shop as a service writer (that lasted 2 days) but the general manager noticed that I was very good with the customers. I was moved back into sales. I wasn't commission because I worked in a department that had small things like PDAs and digital cameras. I was there for a short time.

I was then moved to Networking Specialist. I learned enough to sell Networking supplies but not enough people were buying the installs so they moved me to a job where all I did all day was try to get people to sign up with an internet service provider. This was horrible. Meanwhile, they kind of have me back to selling the cameras and PDAs. I got called into the office one day and the general manager said that things are changing. Everyone is going to commission. My base pay would be dropped to 7.75 and I will have to sell a ton of stuff just to make the same pay as I had been making. I was really stressing at this point. In a week I found another job doing security. I was going to quit on the spot. The general manager asked me if I could work part time. I said yes, that would be okay.

He asked me when I was available. I said I wanted weekends off. And I wanted to work 5 hours a days (25 hours per week). Either always in the morning or always at night. I just wanted a consistant schedule so my sleep would work into the picture. I even worked on Saturdays even though I didn't have to. A month later the general manager folds under all the pressures. He quits and a new guy comes. He says my hours were unacceptable. I went from looking like a good guy for staying to help out, to a guy that didn't have enough availability. I agreed to be more flexible. The new sales manager had this thing where he wouldn't start the walk until 10 and no one could leave until the work was done.

So if he inspected things and it wasn't right he would make people stay. So at 7.75 (supposed to be our base pay on commission) we were expected to slave until midnight sometimes. I told him I couldn't stay because I had another job to go to. It turned really ugly but I eventually got what I wanted. Now no matter how much I complain, my new general manager has me work from 1pm to 9pm on Saturdays. He knows I work graveyard at my other job (11pm to 7am). And besides, I should only be working 25 hours a week. I sometimes worry about falling asleep driving. This manager has caused a lot of people to quit. That's probably why he needs me to come in longer. So as you can see, I'm still there... We are paid less and since they cancelled the merchandising department, we are expected to stock and sell.

(Keep in mind that our pay was reduced because we supposedly get commission but we can't sell if we're merchandising)... Plus for a while I wasn't even allowed to sell everywhere. I had to stay in the cameras and PDAs instead of being able to go sell laptops etc... Now they kind of let me but kind of not. My question to you is...Are these people doing us legally right? What actions can be taken? (Unhappily commissioned)

Dear Commissioned,
First let me applaud you for your extremely strong work ethic. Your employer should be happy to have you. Unfortunately, your story is probably a fairly familiar one these days. Times have indeed changed and companies are taking drastic economic measures to stay afloat. The dot.com bust effected far more industries than apparent.

What your company has done may not seem fair but as long as they are paying you minimum wage they don't have to give you commission work. However, you should not put your own life at risk by working so many hours between the two jobs that you are not getting enough sleep. You might want to look for a job to replace this one for that reason alone. Good luck. Dr. L’esa




Dear Dr. L’esa,
I've heard that there are A/A degrees that can be obtained through life experience. Can you recommend someone? Do you think I have enough experience? (Degree seeker)

Dear Degree Seeker,
There are certainly associates degrees where you receive get lots of credit for life experience. And there are some where you can receive a complete degree for life experience. Most legitimate programs have some combination of life experience and academic work required. By going this route you might only have one year to get your degree rather than two or three. You might want to first check with your local community college—that will probably be the cheapest way.

There are many other programs if you are willing to pay the money. Also, you’ll want to make sure that the school where you receive your degree is accredited. More and more degree mills are popping up daily. Be careful not to pay a lot of money for something that is useless. If you are looking on the Internet for information, most (not all) “real” schools have .edu or .edu/cc as the suffix to their web address. Also, the government has a list of recognized accrediting organizations: http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ous/international/usnei/us/edlite-accred-recog_associations.html





Dear Dr. L’esa,
I am so frustrated and seem at an impasse as to what to do to find a lucrative position. My background is in educational policy, research writing, and public speaking for over 15 years in Washington DC at various top national organizations. I moved to the SF Bay area 7 years ago, had a position with a consulting group that was not a good fit for me. I left that position 4 years ago and have not been successful in finding any good job leads etc. Right now I am working as a guest Teacher in the Oakland unified School district and for a time it was perfect.

Also during the time I lost my mom 2 years ago which was so devastating to me and perhaps explains my career stagnation. I guess what I am asking you is what should I do now, I really have not had any luck with making good connections here in the Bay area and have found it quite difficult. Are there any groups or people I could talk to that might me helpful? I also should mention that I am looking for something that is flexible and would allow me to also pursue my music career part-time. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. -Frustrated with job prospects

Dear Frustrated,
There are many groups, personal coaches and career counselors that can help you clarify your goals so that you can move towards living the life you desire. You might want to search in some of the local papers where people advertise such services; a few examples in the bay area are Common Ground or Bay Area Business Woman. Also bookstores often have readings from local coaches / writers who are not only promoting their book but also promoting a new support group. You might also try the local YWCA, community college, or church. The Learning Annex has fairly inexpensive classes for helping people identify the life they want to live.

Here are a few books you might consider reading: Are You Living Your Dream?: How to Create Wealth and Live the Life You Want, by John Fuhrman; What to Do with The Rest of Your Life : America's Top Career Coach Shows You How to Find or Create the Job You'll LOVE, by Robin Ryan; I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was: How to Discover What You Really Want and How to Get It, by Barbara Sher, Barbara Smith (Contributor); The Miracle Path: Learning to Live the Life You Want, by Mary Bray. Good luck and prosper! Dr. L’esa




Dear Dr. L’esa
My supervisor on three separate incidents has singled me out over 100 of other employees, and constantly harasses me after 2 years on the job. I'm an African American that speaks if I feel you are treating me unfairly, and I think that why she doesn't like me and tries to provoke me so I can lose my job.We work in a Distribution Center where all employees are told that everyone must be cross-trained on all jobs in order to be valuable to this company.

First incident: Several of my coworkers and I were moved to another Department after lunch, and then told that that particular department would have a change in their work schedule starting the next day for 3 consecutive days after. I notified my supervisor that I could not change my schedule the next day because I had to find childcare. The schedule change was to come in 1 hour earlier. I had some hours of unexcused hours I could take and wouldn't be penalized. So the next day I didn't come in the hour early, and so didn't some other employees. I was the only on harassed all day even though she couldn't write me up because I used an hour of my unexcused time, she constantly stayed in my face all day threatening me of a write-up. No other employee that didn't show up an hour early got this treatment. Matter of fact, they got nothing said to them.

Second Incident: Several employees and I were moved to another department again. 5 minutes before the bell to go home rings you are allowed to clean up and wait for the bell to ring at your job. Of the over 100 employees, maybe 30 follow this rule on a daily basis and no one ever says anything. This particular day we all went to stand at the time clocks about 2 minutes before the bell rang. About 15-20 employees stood at the clock where I was and about that many at the other four clocks and waited for the bell to ring. The next morning I was the only employee wrote after getting so upset I decided to go to the plant manager and talk to him because now I realized I'm being singled out harassed and she constantly trying to provoke me. he talked with her and she was told to tear the write-up up. After that she really started retaliating on me. She started moving me more than others because no one ever wanted to go to another job that wasn't there own. So now I was getting so much cross training when other employees were never moved. I started to complain to the plant manager.

Third Incident: She moved me and several other employees to another department and I had only worked this department about three times out of 2 years so I wasn't real familiar with the job as I were some of the other jobs I done within this plant. The job was easy. It was just working up your speed. So she walked me to the job, when I got there the line was behind, because they had been short on help all that day. She stood over me and the first box I started labeling she spoke in a rude tone at me to speed up. All of the lines were behind but I was the only employee she stood over and harassed that day. At the end of the day, I was notified that I was to be put back on that same job tomorrow. What was strange to me was, that the department had gotten caught and everybody was going back to their original job the next workday. She was already scheduled to have a vacation day on that next day, and the supervisor in charge that day knew nothing about this move.

Another employee in that department was sent on my job, and I was sent on their job. To our knowledge (the employees) this hadn’t ever been done before. We were the only 2 employees that had to switch jobs without any prior notice. Several employees realized that I was getting picked at again. At my job I can make more. She stole my income that day from me. I hope you understand my concerns of being singled out and harassed. The management didn't want to listen to anything I had to say, stating that my concerns was petty and if I didn't want to do as I was told I could clock out and go home. And management told me this in front of my co-workers, further humiliating me. Is there anything I can do? I don't know where else to turn. I think they are trying to provoke me to lose my temper so I'll will be terminated!! Singled out and harassed

Dear Singled out and harassed,
Let me understand some things first, your pay varies depending on where you are working? Most companies that require cross training are careful to have a pay structure that does not create hardship or inconsistent compensation. But even if that's the case, there is probably nothing illegal about it.

What I'd suggest immediately is that you (1) Don't give them reason to fire you. Keep your nose clean; I mean do what they tell you and don't argue with them. If you complain too much you will be labeled a whiner or complainer and nothing you say will matter. (2) begin documenting everything that happens that you feel is an indication that you are singled out. Keep notes in one place a calendar or notebook. A calendar is good because it is assumed that you are not fabricating information. (3) You might also want to keep a calendar of your hours and the location where you are working. (4) If it gets too bad and you have gathered your facts, file a formal grievance on your supervisor. Retaliation to a grievance is definitely taboo.

You mention that you are African American. Are other African Americans receiving different or the same treatment as you? There is such a thing as disparate impact, which means that even though there is no intention of racism or discrimination, actions show a difference in treatment. This can be useful information if you do in fact get fired. Best of luck. Dr. L'esa




Dear Dr. L’esa,
I have a case of some very difficult individuals who think their way of doing things is always better than mine. My business skills and entrepreneurial spirit are being compromised to the point of frustration. Is this a case of job and skills mismatch or am I just being ignorant of corporate politics? It appears that my suggestions are usually treated with disregard, but when someone else (of the majority race and color) makes the same suggestion, they are accepted. Help! Dr. L’esa, I'm So Frustrated.

Dear So Frustrated,
You may not be ignorant of corporate politics, but you might be a bit naďve about people. This type of thing happens everywhere, all the time, for various reasons. One person's voice is heard while another’s is not. There are many reasons this happens...certainly racism (as you allude to) could be one, sexism (depending on your gender and the gender of others in the group-particularly if you are female) could be another, ageism could be a factor, or some combination of the these could even be present. However, it could also be that you make too many suggestions, you aren’t making your suggestions in a clear and concise way, you aren’t making the suggesting in a way that is consistent with the way your coworkers can hear them.

There are just too many possibilities for me to even try to tell you what the problem is. I’m not one to minimize the reality of racism, sexism and ageism in the workplace; but in this case you might not want to first rule out the possibility that you need to adjust your presentation style. There are courses and books available to help you develop effective presentation skills. Some books that might help are: Work, Sister, Work : How Black Women Can Get Ahead in Today's Business Environment, by Cydney Shields; The Black Manager: Making It in the Corporate World, by Floyd Dickens; and How to Present Like a Pro: Getting People to See Things Your Way, by Lani Arredondo.




Hi Dr. L'esa,
Every year for the holidays my office has a voluntary gift exchange. I have never participated in it. It seems that some co-workers feel I am snubbing them by this. Should I participate just to show I am a team player? Bah Humbug!

Dear Scrooge,
“Voluntary” means that you don’t HAVE to do it; it doesn’t mean that it is not expected for you to do it. When you are a part of a workgroup or family, unless you have solid religious, cultural, or personal reasons for not joining in an activity that seems to be expected why not join. If it is not your intention to make a statement by not participating I would suggest you participate. What’s it going to cost you? A few dollars and some good will? My advice...join the gift exchange! Dr. L’esa



Dear Dr. L'esa,
I work with a manager who I believe is insecure because of my education and work experiences. Although I had a very good interview with him almost two years ago, I now find myself in a working environment that is so unhealthy for me, that I am forced to take sick days very frequently. My manager and I are essentially not in talking terms, because we really have nothing to talk about except work.

Unfortunately, I do my job without contacting him for directions as most of my peers do, because I know my job, I know what I am doing, but because he is a control freak, he doesn't appreciate the fact that I don't come see him every hour for him to give me directions.

I feel like quitting my job, but I also want to stay because I am not a quitter. But it gets more difficult everyday to go there to the office. What would you recommend I do? I don't want to go to HR because I don't think it will be helpful, I am thinking of going to his manager, but then again, I am concerned about the fall out. -- What gives?

Dear What gives?,
I spent one year collecting statements of people who were miserable in their job. Here are three of the over one hundred statements I collected.

  • You know you're in the wrong job when...the thing you can say you've gained most from your job is...weight!

  • You know you're in the wrong job when...the top right hand drawer of your desk is filled with Aspirin and Antacids.

  • You know you're in the wrong job when... you wake up in the morning feeling great and getting dressed you think about work and end up calling in sick.

    The third one sounds like your situation to me. Forget not being a quitter. There is wisdom in knowing when to quit. So, “what gives” is it’s time for you to look for a new job. -- Dr. L'esa



    Dear Dr. L'esa,
    A coworker sent me a virus in an email. When I opened the attachment it sent out emails to everybody in my email distribution list. The problem is that last week our IT department told us not to open attachments but since it was from a coworker I opened it. Can I get in trouble for sending a virus to everyone’s machine? ---Worried

    Dear Worried,
    The only thing that you could possibly get in trouble for is violating the request not to open attachments. Computer viruses are everywhere these days and the likelihood that your company would hold you responsible for it is slim to none. Contact the I.T. department and explain that an email from your coworker contained a virus and you opened it and think it spread to everyone on your distribution list.

    Don't worry, just take responsibility for your action and inform the I.T. department as quickly as possible so that they can stop the virus from spreading. I'd imagine the worst that will happen is that a technician in IT might yell at you for ruining his day but keep in mind since the virus came from somebody inside the company it was only a matter of time before it spread. Good Luck, Dr. L’esa



    Hi Dr. L'esa,
    I am a maintenance worker in a theater. It is a very physical job. Our theater is not up to OSHA code so I must carry programs, 90-gallon containers of ice, and boxes of supplies, up and down several flights of stairs. Two years ago I injured my back when I slipped on the job. Six months ago I was diagnosed with a degenerative back disease.

    I was operated on for this and it was better for a short time. I am not in any condition to resume my duties yet. My doctor will not let me lift anything over 5 pounds. I am currently on long term disability. I received a letter from my employer yesterday stating they have discontinued my position and my insurance will end as of December 31, 2003. The employee handbook states that long-term disability will cover you for 6 months. Do I have any recourse? – BACKed in a corner

    Dear Backed in a Corner,
    Did you file a worker’s compensation claim when originally fell and injured your back? I’m assuming you didn’t because your explanation on how this is progressing make no sense if you did. Unless a workers’ compensation claim was settled you should still be under the care of the physicians through your claim.

    You should even be eligible for retraining if you are not able to resume your job. If you did not file a worker’s compensation claim at that time, I suggest you contact your former employer in good faith and explain that you were not aware that you should have filed a workers’ compensation claim at the time of your injury and see what they can do. If you do not get a satisfactory response, you may want to an attorney.

    If the attorney feels that you have a case, he or she should take your case on contingency, which means they won’t get paid unless you receive money. The money the attorney takes may be significant, but you are better getting a portion of a substantial amount through an attorney than doing nothing and getting nothing at all. Good Luck, Dr. L’esa



    Dear Dr. L’esa
    I am a middle school teacher who works extremely hard to create lesson plans that are interesting, interactive, and academically challenging. Many nights I am up until 11:30 am planning, grading, and reading stories about the history that I teach in order to bring the personal side of the important figures of history alive for my students.

    The problem that I am having is not with my administrators, students, or parents. In fact they continually tell me what a wonderful job that I am doing. My principal has told parents in front of me that I am the most requested teacher on campus, which I asked him not to mention again. Recently, I have overheard teachers complaining because their students want to transfer into my classes. I informed the counselors not to move students to my classes from other teachers just because they want to move. I gave the reasoning that my classes are overcrowded, which is true.

    Still a few students were moved to my room and this has caused the teachers within my department to ostracize me. They have stopped asking me to do things after school, they no longer visit my classroom, one teacher even approached me and told me that she resented the fact that I allowed students to transfer from her to my class. I told her that it was the counselor who made the change and that I had asked for it not to be made.

    I am beginning to feel very lonely at work. I enjoy the students fondness for my class, but I miss the adult stimulus that is increasingly waning.I truly want to build a relationship with my colleagues without having to jeopardize the work that I do with my students. I don't feel that I am a better teacher than my colleagues in fact there are many things that I would love to learn from them and I have mentioned that to them. I look forward to your advice. Teacher in need!

    Dear Teach,
    Please don’t stop providing a quality education for your students. If I am correct most schools have teach-ins where teachers or others provide education for the teachers. Maybe you could suggest to your principal that during one of the teach-ins the topic of negative peer pressure from teachers be addressed. Also, request that each teacher present something they do to make the classroom exciting, interactive and stimulating for students. By sharing ideas hopefully other teachers will step up to your standard of teaching and it won’t matter to the students whose class they are in.



    Dear Dr. L’esa,
    I recently returned from maternity leave and my boss said that the temporary handling my job did a better job than I do. So he hired the temporary employee. I was in a professional position and while he did not demote me (monetarily) he put me in a clerical position where I am mainly filing.

    I know I am over paid for the job I am doing now and I feel like my job is in jeopardy since I’m being over paid for the position. I know they have to hold my job or a comparable job. Is this job really a comparable job since I’m working in a lower position but getting paid the same as I did? By the way, the company I work for is a very large Fortune 500 company.Thanks for your help, Displaced Mom

    Dear Displaced Mom,
    You have every right to be concerned. It doesn’t sound like the job you are doing now is comparable, but without knowing the details it is hard for me to make that assessment. Assuming you have been employed long enough to qualify under FMLA, whether what your boss did is technically legal is questionable.

    However, I would suggest that you write a letter to your boss explaining that you would like a meeting with him/her to discuss your position. Since you are in a large company also ask that a member of Human Resources attend the meeting. Explain that you feel the job you were placed in after your maternity leave is not a comparable position even though you have not received a reduction in pay, you question how long the company can justify paying you above the rate for that job.

    Also state that you are concerned that the temporary employee hired to replace you was given your job, while in fact she/he was supposed to be in place to hold your job. Have a copy of the letter go to your manager, Human Resources and your Human Resources file. When you have your meeting, state your concerns clearly and concisely. For more information go to the U.S. Department of Labor website: http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/ and also The Guide to FMLA and Addiction Recovery. Good Luck and congratulations on the new one, Dr. L'esa



    Dear Dr. L’esa,
    I have worked for a school for almost 10 years and just with in the last two years, my student evaluations have been very low. I have worked with my administration in hopes of determining the cause of the problem and what I can do to improve, but no one can tell me. My Dean has observed my work and says I am doing everything fine.

    I am also following the same procedure as my colleagues, and they receive good evaluations, My students use statements such as she does not know me, I'm not comfortable with her and we just have bad chemistry. The students do not say I'm incompetent or note anything specific that I am doing wrong.

    I work in a school where 80 per cent of the students are white and rather affluent. My administration is holding me responsible for the problem and my job is on the line. I am one of three African American faculty members but the only female. More than anything, I want to do a good job, but do not know where to start.

    I also don't want to say, it is a race issue, but since I am following the same procedure as my colleagues, my administration cannot give me any directions, and the student's comments are vague, I can't help but think it is a race issue. I expressed my concerns to my administrator and he told me it was an issue of incompetent and not a race problem. Please help, I don't want to lose my job. I don't know how to improve since I have no direction and my employer refuses to consider that the students could me racist. Professor

    Dear Professor,
    Two things concern me about your letter. First, I am wondering what has changed in your environment or teaching style in the last two years. Has your research matured to a level that is uncomfortable for students? Has your teaching style changed? Have the courses you teach changed in the past two years? Have the evaluations given to students changed? I would suggest a complete analysis of what has changed in the past two years.

    Even if it doesn’t initially seem to be directly related to the change in student evaluations it could have an impact. Once you identify what has changed, you can determine how to proceed. From what you have said, students are not calling you incompetent. They are basically saying they just don’t like you. Every school likes to have popular professors but good schools also have controversial professors.

    Have you thoroughly analyzed the reviews to specifically see what the students are saying? Are the students rating high or low on the content and quality of your teaching? Are the other two African Americans having problems? If not, seek their advice. If they are having problems the three of you should collectively go to the Dean. I don’t know how large your school is, but unless it is very small, the school is doing a disservice to you and the students if they have a non-representative number of African American faculty.

    Does your school have a diversity committee or an EEO officer? You might want to talk with that committee or representative about your situation. My final suggestion is that you must not become defensive and negative towards your students because you now assume they do not like you. Sometimes this becomes a downward spiral, i.e. you receive a couple bad evaluations, you unconsciously become defensive and super self-conscious and turn what was originally a complaint by a few into the norm. Remain professional, non-defensive, and very positive. Always remain positive. Act as if you know your students love you. Who knows they may just start loving you? Happy Teaching, Dr. L’esa



    Dear Dr. L’esa,
    I am a recent graduate with a BS degree in Networking. I have no experience in this field and am having absolutely no luck breaking in. Most positions I find that I KNOW I can handle require 5+ years of experience. I have been told that I should begin in a help desk, technical support or customer service position. All of the help desk positions I see require experience and/or A+ certification.

    I have plenty of customer service experience, but how do you go from "customer service rep" to "network administrator" or "project manager"? Besides that, I'm sick of customer service!! I have also been advised that getting industry certifications, joining an organization (ie. BDPA), and networking would help. After a year of searching with no results, I am at my wits end. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance for your help. Sincerely, Recent College Grad

    Dear Recent Grad,
    In order to give you the best advice possible, I asked the author of the book How to Start a Career in Information Technology to answer your question. Here is his response:

    Congratulations on your college degree! In order to improve your employment prospects I would address the following issues:

    IMPROVE YOUR QUALIFICATIONS
    A bachelor’s degree is often not enough to qualify for a position in today’s competitive job market. Despite excellent preparation, employers nowadays can be choosy and get away with it. I recommend improving your qualifications by obtaining the A+ certification from CompTIA. This will give you an industry recognized credential. It will also teach you many essential hardware/operating system skills, which you may not have picked up during your undergraduate study. (I completed my certification in about six months of self-study.)

    OBTAIN WORK EXPERIENCE
    You need to obtain work experience in order to be a more competitive candidate. This is not a difficult task and can quite easily be obtained by volunteering. Seek out your local nonprofit or small business; offer to do four hours worth of work each week for them if you will be allowed to work with their IT staff. Volunteer work counts, the important thing is that you have the relevant experience, and an excellent reference from a former employer.

    IMPROVE YOUR JOB SEARCH STRATEGY
    If after a year of searching you’ve had no results I suggest fine tuning your job search strategy. Going directly to employers is the best way to go. Target a group of employers in your area where you would like to work and approach them directly. Be professional, be persistent, and be polite. Try and establish a few professional contacts in each organization. Do not expect immediate results.

    DEVELOP INDUSTRY CONTACTS
    Your industry contacts could be mentors, teachers, hiring managers, or colleagues. They are people that must be aware of your career goals, and willing to help you achieve them. I think joining BDPA is an excellent idea. The Black Data Processing Association (or any similar type of association) can put you in contact with others able to foster your job search.

    I hope this information helps and I wish you the best of luck! Sincerely, Ian K. Fisher

    [Ian K. Fisher is an IT professional specializing in training and the management of IT training programs. He is also the author of “How to Start a Career in Information Technology” He can be reached at 866-877-9791 or  ikfisher@onebox.com



    Dear Dr. L’esa,
    I've been working with my company for nearly a year in an administrative role. Another co-worker started about the same time that I did in a "on the job training" managerial role. He is not my immediate supervisor. I do not have to report to him for any reason. I know that it has been said that office romances are a no-no but in my case it never really got as far as romance; the first date never really happened. He basically stood me up without explanation or apology. He stopped talking to me altogether.

    He was later sent away for 6 weeks and returned with a nicer attitude. I later decided that I wouldn't pursue anything with him (romantic) because of his Dr. Jeckle and Mr. Hyde routine. We later became better friends and co-workers so I thought. Until, I discovered that I didn't like him as a friend either. He was an ex-NFL player and college football star and I just couldn't "worship" him anymore. So, I restricted our conversations to work and work only.

    I was still polite but I just wasn't personal. He, on the other hand, became very rude. Hanging the phone up on me, putting his hand in my face when he didn't want to deal with whatever I needed him to address, and speaking down to me (using a harsh tone or words). I reported this to our boss and after that it actually got worse for a few days rather than better.

    Now, I can hardly stand the sight of him. He doesn't work. He spends most of the day on personal phone calls. If I ask him to address an issue, he is very rude and crude. So, I've began emailing him request or concerns and copying our boss on each one. He replies with emails that suggest that I don't know what I'm doing or condescending tone, if he replies at all. I've heard him give the wrong information to our customers and have later gone to him in private about it. Needless to say, it wasn't received well. I am thoroughly sick of him.

    Even more sickening is the fact that his ex-football status lets him get away with everything! It is even helping him advance in the company, which seems so unfair. What is your best suggestion for dealing with this guy? In addition, he gets these personal phone calls in which numerous people in our office have answered. The caller can be VERY rude and I've already spoke to him once about it. He said that he would take care of it but nothing has changed in a year's time. I honestly can't express to you how much I can't stand this man and the fact that I work so hard and my work is hardly being noticed. I almost feel like I need a glamorous past to make headway in this company. Let me know what you think and thanks for the advice. Co-worker woes

    Dear Co-worker woes,
    It’s really naďve to think that co-workers will not get into relationships. Given that we spend approximately 40% of our waking hours at work, it makes work a significant social ground. The key to the numerous attempts at relationships in the workplace is how both parties handle it when the relationship either doesn’t happen or goes awry.

    Your best bet is to be extremely professional and polite. Don’t waste your time worrying about the information he is giving others, leave that to his manager. Quite honestly, by focusing on this man you are making yourself sick. Your focus should simply be to do the best job you possibly can do and allow him to show his own incompetence without your help. Dr. L’esa
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