Working Together: Question of the Week

Working Together: Question of the Week

Cathy Feldman


Here are some previous Working Together: Questions of the Week. You're invited to post your comments and suggestions in the form at the bottom of this page.

How Do You Deal With a Paranoid Co-Worker?
How Can I Not be Jealous of My Girlfriend's Easy Job
Personal space and the boss
How do I get a mentor?
Working and breastfeeding: do they have to be mutually exclusive?
Sharing responsibilities
It wasn't harassment, but...
Pregnant and Unsure When to Tell Her Boss
Any tips for dealing with a screamer?
Jealous co-workers
Sick kids and double-standards
How do I get more respect?
Childcare: should it be a workplace issue?
Office Romance?

How Do You Deal With a Paranoid Co-Worker?

"I have a coworker that is very paranoid and feels everyone is out to get her. She tries to rule the office by intimidation...the silent treatment, bullying or either blowing up at the smallest thing. Our Boss has counseled her on this unacceptable behavior but she is still causing stress in the office. This person has 2 restraining orders out against her (not work related) and doesn't get along with anyone in her life. How do you get along with such a bitter person?" 1
--Leigh S.


Leigh,

When people are as troubled as your co-worker is, the best thing you can do is not respond to her bad behavior. People who act out and behave badly are usually crying for help. And yet whenever it is offered, they often reject it forcefully. It creates an very difficult situation, particularly in an office, as you well know.

While it sounds hard to do, the best way to handle a person like this is to not react to her bad behavior. Sometimes it works to ignore it; other times a response like, "Well, I guess you are having one of your bad days so we'll talk about this later" and leaving her alone works; sometimes, if you can manage it, trying to joke or find humor in the situation can help. It is a trial and error kind of thing to see what works best in each situation. The key thing is not to respond in kind. By that I mean, if she is yelling, don't raise your voice. If she starts bullying you, don't get mad...just walk away.

Most important, though, is to reinforce any time she behaves well. If she does something right or nice, thank her a lot, give her a piece of candy, whatever. Make her feel like she's done something good. Very often people who are troubled develop these bad habits and don't know how to break the cycle. If she is sees that everything is better when she isn't acting out, maybe she will stop or at least do it less frequently.

Your co-worker probably needs professional counseling, but that isn't your responsibility. If your boss is aware of her problems, sooner or later he/she will have to take action if she doesn't get better, In the meantime, you can try to make your office situation a little better by trying the suggestions above.

Hope this helps.
--Cathy Feldman

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How Can I Not be Jealous of My Girlfriend's Easy Job

"My girlfriend is a first grade school teacher, so she has a lot of time off. This makes me very jealous, for I rarely get a day off, let alone a summer vacation! So all her free time angers me, and I tend to take it out on her, and we argue, but I don't think she really understands why I'm so upset! I even get jealous when she talks all the time about how cute or great her students are! How can I get over this hump, and stop being so jealous?!?" 1
--Joe


Joe,

A lot of people have the idea that being a teacher is an easy job. Clearly your girlfriend likes teaching first graders because she talks about the positive aspects of her job. But it's a lot of work to just to keep control of 20 or 30 six-year-old kids all day, not to mention teaching them the basics of reading and writing.

It might be a good idea if sometime you could visit her class during the day and see what her job is really like instead of what you imagine it to be. The fact that her work day is shorter than yours doesn't mean she isn't doing lesson plans and figuring out how to keep the kids interested and learning when she's not actually teaching. Yes, she has the summer off, but more and more schools are going on year-round schedules, so that may not always be the case. One other thing: she probably earns a lot less than you do.

You need to talk about your feelings with your girlfriend. It's crazy to be mad at her because she's in a job that has different demands on her time than yours.

A better way to deal with your jealousy and anger is to get a teaching degree yourself so you can have summers off too!. Lots of community colleges offer evening classes to let people train for new careers while they are working. Many even offer classes online now. And there is always a need for more good teachers.

Hope this helps.
--Cathy Feldman

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Personal space and the Boss

"I gotta ask you all how to deal with a rather difficult problem. My boss has this habit where he stands just inches away from you when he speaks to you. I have literarly backed my chair away, way way back and he will simply move forward to get closer. He does this with everyone, men and women! It is so annoying, but no one has said anything to him even though they don't like it. They keep claiming that this is a cultural thing (which doesn't make much sense to me because he's from Holland) but it still makes me very nauseous to have to smell this man's breath every time he speaks to me.

I've only worked for him 4 months but I have the feeling he WILL get offended no matter how tactfully I say something. My question is how do you tell your boss not to stand so close to you without being offensive? 1
--Maria


Turnabout is fair play. Eat lots of garlic. And sneeze a lot. 2
--Jack


I have had this done to me in a male-to-male thing. What I did to stop this rather rude thing was to stand up and talk face to face with the supervisor. Every time he aproached me I would stand up. It seems to be a domination thing of standing over you. When they get the message you will not play the game they want to play, the sup[ervisor] stops trying it. They will try it again but when you continue to stand up and face them [each time], they don't try it for long. People today take a lot of notice of those who stand up for themselves. I hope this helps. 2
--Terry


I think you just have to be honest about it. If you feel uncomfortable telling him yourself, you should have someone who is close to him tell him. Of course the person you choose to help you should share the same problem.(lack of personal space) Good luck and I hope you will resolve this problem ASAP. 2
--Name Withheld


Why not get a some mints and keep them in a dish on your desk. Everytime he closes in, offer him a mint. Urge him to take one, and if you have to, eat one yourself. It'd be best to get the soft after-dinner mint kind of things that don't have to be unwrapped and aren't too big or particularly strong. It will definitely improve his breath and it will at least put the dish between you for a while. He may even take the hint. 2
--Sandee


Since you *know* he will get offended, I would just grin and bear it. I have learned, the hard way, that this is what I have to do a lot of the time. When you learn that your boss really *doesn't* want to hear what you have to say, particularly in the way of complaints, it's usually best to tolerate whatever it is or find sneaky, subtle ways to maneuver around it. 2
--Walt


You might consider mentioning this to your human resources person and ask them to intervene. No matter how you say it, it's going to come out like you are criticizing him, and that can't help your career. If a third party tells him that some of his employees are uncomfortable with his "closeup" style, it will be easier all around because he won't be confronted publicly and no single employee has to run point. 2
--Karen


Maybe give him a book on "American Etiquette"? Or slip him articles that you have seen on "Personal Space". I am very sensitive about people being in "My Space" while standing in line at public places. Depending on my mood I either turn around and face them so they will realize just how close they are, or I tell them that they are in my space and to please not stand so close. Good luck! 2
--Debbie


1. From my mail
2. Response to Working Together: Question of the Week

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How do I get a mentor?

"How do I get a mentor? I keep hearing about how important it is to have mentors to get ahead these days, but no one where I work seems to be doing anything like that. Most of the people who are running things seemed totally wrapped up in advancing their own careers. If you aren't at their level, you feel like you're invisible. How do you get someone to mentor you? And if you do, is one mentor enough?" 1
--Brett


"If the woman is looking for mentoring, she can initiate it by sitting down with someone she's worked with and has a good relationship with and saying, 'I'd like to get some career advice from you.' Don't say, I want you to be my mentor. A lot of people don't understand what that really means.

"Typically you go to somebody who is at the next level up. Don't try to go too high. You are better off to go with your immediate level supervisor because that person is closer to what is going on.

"A lot of women haven't been as organizationally smart as men have. Women tend to be very project oriented and think if they do a good job, that is all it takes. It takes more than just being able to roll up your sleeves and crunch the work out yourself. You have to be able to manage people, manage projects. That's where you need the help of somebody who knows what to do." 2
--Shirley Cheramy


I got my mentor by taking jui-jitsu lessons for self-defense in the company gym. I was very surprised to see my senior manager (a male) in attendance at the lessons. I guess he decided that I was pretty tough and more than capable for upper management after I threw him, held him down in painful arm holds and didn't cry or whine about my nails like the other female participants. I guess in an effort to bond, he even suggested that I give up the Keds I was wearing for more mannish sneakers during our sessions. He immediately started treating me differently and took me under his wing. I never actually enjoyed the judo lessons but can attribute those lessons and a thirty buck pair of black boy's basketball sneakers as a turning point in my career. I had found a mentor. 3
--Liz


I think that it is a good idea to have a number of different mentors and to take what feedback is most positive to you and work it into your image or job performance. I think we all have wonderful God-given qualities and it's best to accentuate them rather than trying to be something or someone you're not. 3
--Maria


Here are some thoughts on mentoring from someone who's gradually come to an executive position in a profession that works through a lot of networking and association involvement.

Women should not be too fixated on finding a single mentor; sometimes it just doesn't happen. We learn from many different people at different times. Sometimes it can even be intimidating or awkward for the "higher level" woman to be approached overtly about being a mentor; that kind of one-on-one relationship almost has to evolve from circumstance, not calculation.

Women who are interested in career growth should be alert to ways to learn from other women more advanced in their career stages. My advice is to become very active in the networks that shape your profession -- associations, regional committees, newsletters, collaborative projects within the organization. Active successful women like to encourage others who show that same potential, and will often be alert to giving helpful advice and timely opportunities to younger women they have seen in such groups/projects. Women (and anyone who wants more than just a "job") need to show their flexibility and breadth of interests; sometimes a really effective mentor/advisor is someone not directly in your main area or organization. 3
--Sarah P.


1. From my mail
2. "The Men At The Office: Working Women Talk About Working With Men," edited by Cathy Feldman. Blue Point Books, 1994.
3. Response to Working Together: Question of the Week

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Working and breastfeeding: do they have to be mutually exclusive?

"My baby is twelve weeks old and I really want to continue breastfeeding her for at least six months because I know it's good for her. I returned to work full-time two weeks ago, and my problem is there's no place here I can express milk. I rented an electric pump, but the women's restroom has no electrical outlets. And a public bathroom is not exactly the best environment for that.

"I work in a cubicle so my boss has offered to let me use her office. She has a door that can be closed but not locked -- I jam a chair under the doorknob. But a couple of times she got tied up in meetings in there so I had to scramble around to find an alternative, which turned out to be the computer cable closet. I was scared to death I would bump something and bring down the whole system. Also, I feel like I'm really imposing by taking over her office every day. I'd really appreciate any suggestions from anyone out there who's found a solution." 1
--G.K.


Editor's note: A number of companies have started providing "lactation rooms" for their new mothers. The rooms are simply previously empty rooms (with a door) that's been equipped a few chairs, a table or desk, electrical outlets, a sink, and sometimes a small refrigerator. Usually the expense is minimal, and employers have found lactation rooms to be very cost effective. --C.F.


"One of the things about working is when you work in an office, you don't have anywhere to go to pump other than a bathroom. If you go to an employee lounge, anybody can walk in. And in our case, we don't have one. I have to go into the bathroom and get semi-undressed and pump. I'd have the secretaries and other women walk in.

"It's funny to see other women's reactions. One of the women had nursed her son and expressed milk as well. She was completely nonchalant. She said, `Hi, how are you doing. Boy, you sure get a lot fast.' Then the other two women who have not had kids were very embarrassed. One of them would avert her eyes and wash her hands and get out of the bathroom as quickly as she could." 2
--Virginia Jones


I work at a company that employs a lot of women and watched several of my co-workers struggle with trying to continue breastfeeding after they came back to work. There were no facilities here for pumping, and most had to wean their babies sooner than they really wanted to because we all know how much healthier it is. When I got pregnant last winter, I decided to see if I could do something to change that.

First, I located a storage room that was just being used for junk. I mean, nothing important was being kept there, and it even had a big work sink in it, the kind that can be used to fill up buckets. The room wasn't big, but it had electricity and you could put a couple of chairs in. Then I talked to a lot of the women I worked with who had young kids and asked if they would have used a lactation room if it had been there when they first came back. Almost all said they would have loved it. A couple volunteered to help fix up the storage room.

Next I went to see the HR person and presented him with a plan to turn the storage room into a lactation room. I gave him the number of women who said they would like to have it and told him how we would fix it up ourselves. All that was needed was to move the junk to another storage place, and I'd found a place that had room for the stuff too.

Anyway, he was great about. He thought the plan was doable, took it upstairs, and two weeks later said the room was officially a lactation room. He even got the company to fix it up for us...well, at least they cleaned it out, gave it a coat of paint, put in some chairs, fixed up the sink and put a sturdy shelf along one wall. A few of us got together and made it a little more "homey" with pictures, flowers, cushions and things. They put a lock on the door; the key is kept at the HR office, and anyone who needs it can sign it out. Two of my co-workers started using it the next day.

My baby's not due until August, but now I don't have to worry about how to breastfeed once I start back to work (because I AM coming back -- I can't afford not to and I like my job!). One thing I realized out of all this is that I don't think we would have gotten the lactation room if there hadn't been a plan for it. Hope this helps. 3
--Karen


I understand how difficult your situation is. One thing you may want to consider is a battery operated pump. It allows for alot flexability in location. I admire you for taking on a huge and important challenge! 3
--M.


I am happy to say my company has lactation rooms. I am sorry to say I had to FIGHT for that right, that my baby did not deserve to have lunch served in the toilet stall (where we pumped prior to these rooms.) The rooms are also a big factor as to when moms come back to work.

They have tried to "time" the breaks, and every time it comes up, I just tell the women to time the breaks smokers take and take the same time. Guess what, it's always less.

And even if a mom breastfeeds for one year, the baby requires less as she grows. So the 3 times a day of pumping at work during the first 3 or 4 months baby's life goes down to maybe once a day if that. 3
--Esther


1. From my mail
2. "Two Years Without Sleep: Working Moms Talk About Having a Baby and a Job." Blue Point Books, 1994
3. Response to Working Together: Question of the Week

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Sharing responsibilities

"I could sure use some practical advice about how you and your husband actually work out sharing responsibilities around the house and taking care of the kids when you both work. I mean, things like, how do you convince the guy to help at home without acting like he's doing you a big favor?" 1
--Sue Palmer

Here are a couple of excerpts from Blue Point Books' "I Work Too" and "Two Years Without Sleep" as well as some of your feedback that deal with this week's question.


"For the first five years we were married, I had the same job my husband, went to night school to get a master's degree, did all the household stuff, the shopping, the cooking, paying the bills, and I did all our social planning and tried to be the dutiful spouse for his career. At one point he was being considered for partner before I was even considered for manager.

Then one day I was needling him because he hadn't done one of his chores around the house, and he snapped back, 'Well, you should really be pleased with what I do. I help around the house more than most men do.'

"When I heard that, I blew up. 'You help?' I said. 'Like it's my responsibility and you're just helping?' I said, 'For the last five years I've been doing all these things, while you sit on your butt and watch tv all weekend. For the next five years, you're going to do everything, and I'm going to put 100% into to my career.'

"He said, 'Wait a minute. Let's talk about this. You know how I always screw these things.' I wound up doing those things because he made such a mess of them, but this time I told him, 'I'm not touching a thing for the next five years. I guess you'll just make a mess until you learn to do things right.'

"And he did it, more or less. I still have to do most the social stuff, but he does help around the house now and he has taken over the finances. Actually, when we hit ten years, he had completely forgotten it was a five year deal, and it never came up for renegotiation, so he's still doing it all." 2
--Sarah Litton


"My husband has always been very good about doing housework. We had a recent conversation. He was feeling put out like he was doing more than his share and I was doing less than my share. Then it came up that he didn't consider vacuuming and cleaning the bathroom as part of the equation. That was something he never did when he had his own place.

"All he was looking at was I didn't clean up the kitchen as much as he did. But I was cleaning the bathroom and vacuuming. Finally he realized he had to count bathrooms too." 3
--Marsha Bailey


My solution is to make a list of what needs to be done in the way of household chores in a given week and splitting it up with my husband. We agree to spend x amount of time on the chores and then plan something fun to do as a reward for both of us. When we first got married, I told him that he lives here too and just like any other adult he could take responsibility for keeping his living space clean. The compromise came in when we each had to learn to accept the differences in our expectations of clean. 4
--Marian


My boyfriend and I are both working on starting each our own business. It takes a lot of our time and we have to deal with strange schedules sometimes. That is why it is really impossible for us to decide who does what and when.

Our trick? We just do what has to be done as soon as we can do it. "Never do tomorrow what you can do today" is for us the best way to get things done.

As for sharing the chores, we have absolutely no problem. As I said, when ever one of us has the time to do something, we just do it. I think that many people waste so much time trying to decide if a task is his or hers to do!!!!

I hope this answers your question properly. Sorry about the mistakes, my first language is French. 4
--Nathalie


As a man who has always helped around the house, I found that my duties increased as my wife worked more. Someone had to take over the finances, cleaning, yard work, etc. Now, I don't shop, and I rarely do windows, but the rest of it is pretty much mine. We share cooking duties (eat out a lot), and we share child rearing responsibilities. What it really takes is an attitude that the job needs to be done, and if your spouse can't do it, you should. Basically, tolerance is the key. Negotiated agreements are wonderful, but they often break down due to unforeseen events. Better to take on the task this week and let your spouse to it next week. 4
--R. F. Russell


The first 6 years of our marriage I did all the housework. My husband is neat, so I did not have to pick up after him, which I would not have done. I just did the usual cleaning and did not mind because he was in army reserves and working fulltime. I was always working fulltime too, and sometimes teaching a class or taking a class.

After the birth of our son, I went back to work fulltime and needed help. My husband kept agreeing and doing next to nothing. I'm not a nagger. Can't be bothered. My solution was to quietly hire a cleaning service to come in. It cost $60 for 4 cleaners to spend an hour cleaning the house. They did a great job. I did this every couple weeks for a few months, and guess what? My husband suddenly took an interest in cleaning, once he saw how much it cost to have it done. Now he does a lot and I have no complaints.

My advice is don't nag, hire cleaners. 4
--Ellen


It seems to me the bottom line is you both have to be committed to making a dual-career marriage work. It takes a whole lot of compromise and willingness to stand back on occasion and try to see things from your spouse's perspective. 4
--Sharon


My husband and I have been married for ten years. We have one five-year old and a second child due any minute. We have both had to make concessions in terms of career advancement in order to balance our professional obligations with our family obligations, and we certainly do not get enough time alone together. But by working out flex-time schedules with our employers and sharing responsibilities around the house, we've managed to keep our careers alive while ensuring that our daughter gets plenty of our attention as well.

We are both stretched to our limits, and go through phases when each feels as if s/he is doing all the work. But it seems to me we've managed to make this work for three reasons:

(1) We are both very commited to our family, while at the same time fully respecting each others' need for personal development (i.e., work)

(2) We have, over time, identified our areas of strength and weakness around the house, and have worked to balance home responsibilities in a way that maximizes the strengths

(3) We talk. This arrangement can get very stressful at times, and it would be too easy to start harboring resentment if feelings of being taken advantage of weren't dealt with openly. It takes a real conscious effort to stand back every once in a while and say, "OK, I know how I'm feeling. What's he been going through lately, and how might that have left him feeling?"

Mutual commitment, mutual compromise. 4
--Cindi Taylor


1. From my mail
2. "I Work Too: Working Wives Talk About Their Dual-Career Lives," edited by Cathy Feldman. Blue Point Books, 1996.
3. "Two Years Without Sleep: Working Moms Talk About Having a Baby and a Job," edited by Cathy Feldman. Blue Point Books, 1994.
4. Response to Working Together: Question of the Week

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It wasn't harassment, but...

"Yesterday I dressed up more than usual because I had a professional association meeting after work where I was giving a presentation. As I was talking to a co-worker in the hall, my boss walked by and said, 'You look terrific today. Great suit,' and kind of patted my arm. I just said thanks but my co-worker was horrified. She said his commment and actions could be interpreted as harassment and that I should file a complaint. I told her she was making a mountain out of a molehill. I've been working for the guy for three years and know there was nothing sexual about it. Apparently she had a boss who kept coming on to her and finally changed companies to get away from him. Our company has very strict policies on harassment, but she is definitely over-reacting.

"Here's the problem. I'm afraid she's going to say something to the person he reports to even though I told her to let it go. Should I warn my boss just in case something happens? Or should I just leave it alone and hope she'll forget about it? Help!" 1
--Barb


"Women are so sensitive now we think everything is gender or we think everything is race, and it isn't. Not everything has some hidden meaning.

"I've talked to men who've said even the small talk before a meeting makes them uneasy because there has been so much in the workplace about sexual harassment, they don't want there to be any hint that they have a personal attraction or anything personal about anything they are saying.

"There is lots of fear about anything they say or an innocent touch, in fact even shaking hands. Many of them are reluctant to shake women's hands. I've been having a series of meetings with an outside consultant every few weeks. He'd shake the hand of all the men in the room. I was the only female and he would never shake my hand. About a month ago I went up to him and said, 'Won't you shake my hand?' Now he shakes my hand." 2
--Susan Carter


Men are as friendly as women. A touch to appreciate anything is universal and has nothing to do with sexual harassment. I would ask her to talk to her friend again and force her not spread the story.

I hate to see politics at work. If she thinks that her friend does not listen to her, then she must look for some elder person and ask him or her on how to handle a situation. Good luck 3
--Syed Taha Shamim


I think you should be proactive. Talk to your friend again and tell her to drop the whole thing. Then talk to your boss, but don't make a big deal out of it. You might do it in the context of telling him how the presentation went. Just tell him that you appreciated his comment the other day but some folks in the office are very uncomfortable with that sort of thing and tend to interpret even a casual comment or touch as sexual harassment. Make it clear that you do not and will be glad to point it out to anyone who asks. However you want him to be aware just in case it ever comes up. Be up front with him. You don't have anything to lose. 3
--Coleen


Your friend must really be screwed up. That's what's so stupid in the workplace these days. We're all supposed to treat everyone the same regardless of gender, but if you so much as touch a woman's arm, somebody starts yelling harassment. How are you supposed to work as a team, build team spirit and all that good stuff when you have to keep watch to make sure you don't violate anyone's "personal space" or offend anyone? Why can't everyone lighten up? Tell your friend to get a life. 3
--Pete


This could be purely psychological. Previously when things happen like this nobody worried about it. Nowadays people are exposed to more sexual harassment (real or fake) by the press, [so] normal personnel are developing some extraordinary feelings and fantasies about such sitiations....Some people may try to earn money this way by filling a case [to] get some money out of it. 3
--V. Tamilarasu


1. From my mail
2. "The Men At The Office: Working Women Talk About Working With Men". Edited by Cathy Feldman. Blue Point Books, 1994.
3. Response to Working Together: Question of the Week

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Pregnant and Unsure When to Tell Her Boss

"I am 7 weeks pregnant. When should I tell my employer? I'm up for a promotion and they'll be making the decision at the end of March. If I can hide it until then, would I be better off waiting?" 1
--Name Withheld


"I delayed telling my partners that I was pregnant until I couldn't hide it any longer. I kept wearing looser clothes. Finally I told them. Some of them were not happy." 2
--Carol Lewis


(1) Because miscarriages are most common in the first trimester, I would definitely not tell anyone at work what is going on until the first trimester is over. Also, people don't really start showing until the beginning of the second trimester, so it will be relatively easy to hide.

(2) After the first trimester, which I presume will end in two or three weeks, it is a judgment call on your part. Your employer needs to know that you will be away from work for an extended period of time when you have your child, and it is not a good idea to leave that until the last minute. However, if you feel it would jeapordize your promotion possibilities, I would hold off. If you wait until then end of April to tell, you will still be giving your boss 5 months notice, which should be plenty.

(3) Individual bosses are different. Some are very supportive, others are not. I think you should evaluate your individual situation in deciding when to tell. 3
--Sarah W.


I would wait until your 2nd trimester when you can't hide it anymore. When I first became pregnant I told everyone at work and I ended up miscarrying in my 12th week.

Why would you tell your boss so soon? To give them time to prepare for your being away on leave, so why tell them until you are ready to. I doubt that they would start planning for your leave right away, but they may exclude you from long-term projects. 3
--Susan.


Well, I've been on both sides of this issue. When I found out I was pregnant, I was hesitant to tell my boss, because I was going to be applying for a promotion in a couple of months. I barely had enough experience -- timewise -- for the position, so I sure didn't want any more "strikes" against me.

However, I felt that telling my boss upfront, well in advance of the interview for the position would make it much less of an issue. It would give me a couple months to prove that pregnancy would not affect my abilities as an engineer or a manager. In addition, I consider my boss a friend, and we have several mutual friends. I didn't want him hearing it from anyone but me. As it turned out, I got the job!

On the other side of the issue, when members of my staff told me they were expecting, I was flattered and appreciative of the fact that they told me early on. I think I would have been a little offended if they felt so intimidated that they waited until the last possible moment to tell me. Of course, having just had a baby myself, they may have viewed me as more sympathetic to their "situation".

Pregnancy is an issue that affects your job, in terms of doctor appointments, special accomodations (depending on the job), and rather extensive time off in most cases. I believe the upfront, honest approach is best. Most employers should respect you for that, and if they don't, it's not going to get better. If they don't deal well with it now, you have a good indication of what kind of support you'll be getting in the future, with sick kids, inability/unwillingness to work long or late hours, etc. The only way you can balance family and career without short changing either is to have a good support system, and that includes the people you work with. You need tell your boss upfront. 3
--Kelli B.


I would wait until you finish your first trimester unless you are experiencing a lot of nausea or exhaustion. I had an employee who didn't tell me she was pregnant until I was extremely dissatisfied with her performance and attitude. If I had known she was pregnant, I would have understood and worked around a difficult time. You can mention it to your supervisor only, and request that it be kept private until you choose to tell the rest of the office. Good luck! 3
--Michelle M.


You would be doing the right thing by doing what you feel most comfortable with. Everyone else is right though; most miscarriages do occur within the first trimester. It is your right to privacy to keep this information to yourself until you are certain that you will be carrying and showing.

Just think about a couple of things: how long will you have after the baby is born before you return to work? Will you want to return to work? Will this promotion have you working longer hours away from home? All of these questions should be answered in honesty to yourself and husband. If the time is meant to be for you to have this job, you will know. If not, other things do come along. 3
--Name Withheld


1. From my mail
2. "Two Years Without Sleep: Working Moms Talk About Having a Baby and a Job," edited by Cathy Feldman. Blue Point Books, 1994.
3. Response to Working Together: Question of the Week

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Any tips for dealing with a screamer?

"A new guy took over our division two months ago and he's a screamer--you know, the kind who freaks when anything goes wrong and generally acts like a spoiled five-year-old whenever he doesn't get his way. This one is the worst I've ever seen because not only does he scream, he seems to enjoy publicly humiliating in most insulting way possible anyone who displeases him. He never apologizes and he never acknowledges any success or accomplishment. I don't think the word "thank you" is in his vocabulary. He was promoted to this position, so it's clear management thinks he's okay. BTW, he doesn't discriminate; he acts this way toward everyone who works under him.

"I left my last job because of a boss like this. I'm actively looking around now, but I've only been here 12 months, and I'm worried it will look bad if I jump ship too soon. Does anyone have any tips for dealing with this kind of a boss? I'd sure appreciate hearing them." 1
--C.M.


"I've seen a vice-president of a company get angry, rip the phone out of the wall and storm out of a meeting he was conducting. Everybody just sat there silent and fiddled with things knowing he'd come back. He came back a half hour later and then the meeting went on." 2
--Joan Dzuro


"I find I am able to maintain what appears to be a calm and almost detached demeanor because of the bio-feedback training I've had.... What I do when a difficult situation arises is think, have I done something to particularly annoy this person who's yelling. Usually not. When you realize this, it doesn't trigger a guilt reaction, and over time, it helps increase your self-esteem because you become more in control of your life." 2
--Diana Meyers


About a month ago, I was encouraged by a friend to switch jobs and come to work where she did. The switch was good until I realized just how awful the boss was. Absolutely no respect for anyone...a people hater, to put it politely. Loved to belittle, humiliate, attack visciously...never ending. It would have been far better had he just beat me with a stick. Needless to say, I walked out two days ago, knowing fully well that come Monday, I would have no means of employment. SORRY...but I can not work under such conditions, and furthermore, should never ever have to! 3
--M.L.


Two approaches I've taken for a similar type:

1 - not working for the individual with the attitude.
After they threw their little hissy fit for the nth time, I applauded and said "Any more of that, young ___ (sex protection), and I will send you to the time out chair". This worked as a tension breaker, and embarrassed the individual into better behaviour. Not recommended if your pay cheque or career are dependent on this person.

2 - working for the individual.
"Please stop. Your behaviour is unacceptable / tone is intimidated. We can discuss this at a later time, in private, but you are not in a good place to discuss and your outburst has limited my listening". Or words to that effect. You have to let them know their behaviour is unacceptable. 3
--L.C.


I would think the odds that he would last more than a year in the position are pretty slim. Obviously some senior manager made a serious error in judgement by moving him into that position. Determine if that behavior reflects the "corporate culture" of the management staff. If not then, if you like your job and feel you otherwise have a future there, take a chance and wait him out. If you have confidence in your own work then you don't need him to stroke you. 3
--Steve


1. From my mail
2. "The Men At The Office: Working Women Talk About Working With Men," edited by Cathy Feldman. Blue Point Books, 1994.
3. Response to Working Together: Question of the Week

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Jealous co-workers

"How do you deal with office jealousy when you've worked hard and gotten rewards [your co-workers] haven't, so they stab you instead of working harder?

"I've recently been given a larger office than another senior manager who has been with the company longer. I am considered by upper management to have a better chance at moving up in the firm than he does. He's generally more popular than I am, so this move is not going down well with the staff and fellow managers, who see this as a demotion for 'Sam.' I'm already hearing about comments behind my back. Any suggestions for reducing jealousy, or how to respond to the rumor mill?" 1
--P.L.


All I can say is been there, done that, and it ain't fun! When you obviously have a lot more talent than another employee who has been there for a while, and management recognizes it, and gives you opportunities that aren't given to long time employees, you're in a bind. Some people have enough class and guts to realize that, well, he's better than I am, so I have to get better in order to compete.

Others will take any opportunity they can to get you in trouble. They'll say this behavior from you is offensive, and that behavior from you is offensive....

You've just got to tough it out. You've been recognized by management as having talent. They are the ones who count. If some co-workers want to be petty backstabbers because they don't have the talent you do, well, that's not going to get them anywhere.

So I'd say just do your job, and be civil with your jealous co-worker, but don't try to be friendly with him or her. Just blow them off other than for the most business related things. 2
--Tony


I think that jealousy is a simple part of human nature. You can't really blame others for the way that they feel, so in order to overcome that perception you need to "recruit" your coworkers. You were given the larger office because your managers think you are going to be a leader in the company. Take this opportunity to lead. If you show everyone that you did deserve your promotion, and if you make them part of your team (use the word "we" in staff meetings a lot), and they realize that by following your example then they too will be rewarded -- you will not have the jealousy issue come up anymore. 2
--Rachel O.


Shouldn't we, as individuals, or as manager if that is the case, make an attempt to rise above and try working together. Especially if you are a manager, simply "blowing off" a fellow employee is not a sign of maturity.

I feel it is each employee's responsibility to try to make the work place the best. If you feel someone is backstabbing, then have the "guts and class" to confront the situation and bring some closure to it in order to avoid a hostile environment.

Two years ago I moved up two positions at once, at first allienating many of what were my peers. It was my goal as their new manager to get them on my side. This not only helped them and their morale, but made me look good in the owners eyes. My staunchest enemy at that time has now become my second in command and a personal friend outside of work.

Working together as a team towards a common goal is the best way to improve bottom lines and create loyal, happy employees. 2
--Dave S.


[As part of] a process improvement group, we are addressing some of the issues that arise when any employee is promoted. We labeled the problem ' perception of arbitrary selection of managers and supervisors'.

We identified the major problem as a lack of communication - about promotions and to the nonselected candidates. Often, we found out about a promotion through the rumor mill, and were hesitant to share our promotions, lest someone feel it undeserved. And if someone else was selected, the nonselectees discovered it through sheer perseverance.

We came up with three key guidelines: One, a manager/supervisor should publicize promotions within their group in a public forum. Second, all non-selected candidates should be debriefed prior to the public announcement, with specific comments about why they were not selected. Finally, we recommend that the resume of newly appointed managers/supervisors from other areas of the company or outside, be distributed. [Of course], it's very important that privacy and individual rights be respected.

We had our first public announcements of promotions last month, and as yet I haven't heard anyone complain about it. 2
--Michelle


If you treat people coldly, as if they have nothing to offer you, the situation will NEVER change. Even if they decide that you're really OK and stop 'backstabbing', you're not going to see it. Look for the nuggets of gold in your co-workers - they are there. People will often live up to YOUR expectations of them. Maybe a brusque person is just shy, or maybe an overbearing person is really dedicated to their job. Try imagining the best about people - we all make up stories about other people anyway, so why not make up nice stories? Of course, a little honest communication (in private) wouldn't hurt either.

Two objectives: 1) it's no fun to be mad or uncomfortable with someone, so for your own comfort, start working on how you FEEL about your co-workers. 2) Take actions to make those feelings reality.

Many of us honestly, deep down, work the other way - we wait for tons of evidence before trying to feel good about others, and once we get an idea set, we are loath to change it. Why not try a new attitude? 2
--Pamela K.


1. From my mail
2. Response to Working Together: Question of the Week

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Sick kids and double-standards

"One of the guys I work with didn't come in today because his daughter was sick and his wife couldn't miss any more days at her job. Everyone around here is acting like he's being a martyr and going on about what a great dad he is.

I think it's great too, but I remember all the times I had to leave my kids in makeshift arrangements when they were sick because if I called in like he just did, everyone would think I wasn't reliable. Listen, I'm all for guys really sharing the load, but the reaction to it screams double-standard. Why is it okay for dad and not for mom?" 1
--Nancy P.


"When a father brings his children with him to a meeting, people say, `Gee, what a good dad. He's interested in taking care of his children.' I just totally resent that. If I did that, the comment would be, `What a poor professional.'" 2
--Janet Ellis


"There are double standards everywhere. If you are a woman and you have children in this organization, you are seen as somebody who can't give a hundred per cent. If you are man with children, you are seen as a stable worker." 3
--Ellen Frazier


I've been working now for 20 years. Men's ideas surrounding the care and upbringing of children have changed drastically now that they are expected to share these responsiblities. I have seen men bringing their children into the workplace. I've noticed they are more sensitive to having to time off to attend school functions or attend to sick children (I used to lie and say I was sick).

I find these things interesting as they seem to indicate that empathy for women can only be generated when men find themselves in the same situations we have.

So what about child support and equal pay . . . 4
--Leslie R.


If more companies realized that helping their employees with backup sick childcare would cost them less than losing that employee's services for the day, it could be a win-win situation for everybody. A number of hospitals in the area where I am have "sick bays" where the children can go to a special ward, spend the day, get their meds, etc... My company, as a bene, actually has an agreement with the hospital across the street to provide this. It's only costs me about $3/hr, and it can be a God send. 4
--Shelly N.


1. From my mail
2. "Two Years Without Sleep: Working Moms Talk About Having a Baby and a Job," edited by Cathy Feldman. Blue Point Books, 1994.
3. "The Men At The Office: Working Women Talk About Working With Men," edited by Cathy Feldman. Blue Point Books, 1994.
4. Response to Working Together: Question of the Week

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How do I get more respect?

"I supervise five men. They're a pretty good group but I get the feeling they think of me more as their mother than their boss. They sometimes don't do the jobs I assign them in a timely manner so I end up having to remind them and check up on them constantly...almost nag them. There's no big age difference between us. And I keep hearing about all their personal problems with significant others, friends, kids, etc. I try to be businesslike and fair with them, but it's almost as if they aren't taking me seriously enough. Any suggestions how I can get my guys to treat me more like the boss?" 1
--Mariam R.

Here are a couple of comments from Blue Point Books' "The Men At The Office: Working Women Talk About Working With Men" that deal with this week's question. What do you think Mariam should do?


"In the business world today, you want to be liked and respected, but if you can't have both, respected is far more important than liked." 2
--Barbara Abrams Mintzer


"I have to be much more firm with male employees. They don't listen to me if I don't tell them they have to do something rather than just giving them friendly helpful coaching. Women like you to make suggestions. Women like to make suggestions to each other and coach each other in a friendly way." 2
--Kate Silsbury


"Before I realized the difference in the way men and women communicated, I would sit down with a partner to discuss with him a project and he would start either picking up the phone or doing something else because he didn't see where the conversation was going.

"Some of the men here are more linear than others. Now I know which ones to go into and say, "I've got five points, a, b., etc." They are comfortable with that.

"Women on the whole don't do it that way. They are all over the board discussing it. By the end of the conversation you've pretty much covered it all but not necessarily in a linear order.

"If women started realizing these differences in communication they might understand when they feel they are being discriminated against, it's not really a matter of discrimination because she's a woman, but because the communication is coming at the men in a way they don't know how to deal with.

"So they stop dealing with you, not because they don't like you as a woman, and they will be adamant to say that they have no problem with men and women. They just want you to think like they think!" 2
--Loni Collins


In the work environment men don't take women seriously. The world is changing and there are a lot more women being boss than in the past. If men would listen open-mindedly they may realize that women do have the strength and intellegence to be the boss and can do it a lot more openly than most men. You do however have to decide if you want to be liked or be the boss because you can't be both and be taken seriously. 3
--Kathleen Dorsey


How did you allow yourself to slip into a situation where you don't feel as though you are regarded as 'the boss'?....The employees are said to be communicating their needs to you through their descriptions of their significant other relationships. Are you listening effectively? Or are you filtering out key information to satisfy your need to be respected as 'the boss'?

The informal discussions between you and your staff are key to communication and building the organization of people to do the job. There is a critical balance in maintaining a high standard of professionalism at all times and in achieving functional relationships.3
-Philip Orticke


Miriam, perhaps you are behaving more like a mother and, surprise, surprise, they are treating you more like a mother! I guess you are the good listener. However the bottom line is that you are not getting what you need as a supervisor.To get a good result you first must change your own behaviour so that you are percieved in a new way. Second, you must prepare for an interim period while your staff adjust to the change.Your staff already hold the answer - just ask them " How do you know when you are performing successfully on the job?" Their answers will give you a variety of clues on how to get the best out of your team. 3
--Jude Downey


1. From my mail
2. "The Men At The Office: Working Women Talk About Working With Men," edited by Cathy Feldman. Blue Point Books, 1994.
3. Response to Working Together: Question of the Week

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How do I get rid of the cube campers?

"I work on the biggest account that my business handles, and I have very little "down time" in the office. I am also a very friendly, outgoing type. The problem I am encountering is that my office seems to have become a social gathering place. Co-workers who have much less work to do, are having personal problems, or are just waiting for someone to get off the phone, feel they can plop down in my office and kill time. I hear about office gossip, emotional problems, family troubles, physical problems - you name it. I appreciate being thought of as a friendly, compassionate person, but when do I get a chance to get my work done?

Sitting next to the xerox machine, fax machine and laser printer doesn't help. either. I'm overrun with questions about how to tell if you fax went through, where's the laser paper, how do un-jam the xerox machine, etc. I've gotten to the point now, when someone brings in their cup of coffee, sits down and wants to chat, I don't even turn away from my computer - I keep typing. They don't seem to be phased.

I don't want to be unfeeling or unsensitive, but I need to get work done. How do I handle this without seeming like a snob?" 1
--L.R.


You might try having a few "no-brainer" jobs handy and when one of these campers plops down say, "Oh, great! I am so behind. Since you have a few minutes would you mind . . ." In no time at all your office will no longer be the company hang-out. 2
--Sherry


You need to simply look people in the eye and say, very politely, something to the effect of "I'm sorry. I can't talk right now. I've got to get __________ done." If done politely, but firmly, there's nothing snobbish about that. Understand that if you've been allowing people to monopolize your time as you say, they will have some problem with the transition. They may not like the change. But stick to it, remain your friendly self, and it will all blow over in time. You'll be doing these people, and the company, a favor. 2
--Warren


You have to see things in a more positive manner. Set maybe a dish of candy or nuts on your desk. Get a sign that says "Counselor (or whatever) not available". Or place some interesting magazines on your table for their entertainment. Then find a machine like the post office or social security uses with numbers for the next customer. You are probably someone people look up to and are open enough to listen--which is a very good quality to have. Your time means a lot to you, also means something special to others. Find different ways to communicate your concerns and feel that you are accomplishing what you set out to do--be yourself and stay strong! 2
--Strawberry


Here are some things I've tried:

1. Get an office friend to bail you out. When someone in my workgroup is ambushed, I give them a quick phone call and say "If you want to get out of there, tell the person you just got a call to go see someone, or go to a meeting, or whatever". Works pretty well and has become standard operating procedure for my people - now they help each other out.

2. Put them to work. "Hey, if you have a minute it would be great if you could make some copies for me! I'd really appreciate it." Or send THEM to get your printout. You might develop a whole army of clerical support now that I think about it.... Because you are next to the copier, can you send them over to someone's office to pick something up for you? If you are always helping them out, they should be willing to help you out.

3. The above doesn't work for you because you are next to all of these - so try some subtle hints. Take some of copies of your work and tack them above your desk. In RED thick marker, in the best approximation of your bosses writting, put "HOT!!! NEED TODAY!". Hopefully one look at your wall will give them the picture.

4. It's giving in, but post some of the FAQ on the equipment above the machines. Or, post the phone number of who to call.

5. This should be number one I guess - just tell them that you are busy and don't have time. Unfortunately, as reasonable as this advice sounds, it does not work. People usually miss the message.

Good luck! 2
--Don


1. From my mail
2. Response to Working Together: Question of the Week

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Childcare: should it be a workplace issue?

This week's question is one I am sure will interest working parents with young children. Even if you don't have a response to the specific question, I thought this might be an opportunity to compare notes. These days working parents often get so caught up in a blur of sleepless nights and hectic days, sometimes just the chance to share stories and tips and advice with our colleagues can help a lot.

Laura wrote to ask, "How can I convince my company that doing more to help me and all the other new moms who work here cope with the costs and problems of childcare is a good investment? I don't know a new mom who isn't constantly worrying about the costs and hassles of getting reliable childcare. It's a constant distraction from our jobs, and this must be hurting the company, but how can you explain that to bosses who want to pretend our kids don't exist?" 1

A few excerpts from "Two Years Without Sleep: Working Moms Talk About Having A Baby And A Job" Ed.


"Childcare is probably one of the biggest problems. It's a heartwrenching decision as to what to do. There are a lot of alternatives but when you are working and trying to figure all that out, you don't have time. Going out and looking for the right place and interviewing all the right people. When you've got someone to help and you're happy with it, it's all great. When you haven't, it's a panic situation." 2
--Marcia Ross


"The climate of the workplace doesn't accommodate having a baby and a job. It's the rules that separate out as much as possible the personal needs of the worker from the workplace generally. You come to work to do your job the way we the employers say it will be done. That's true for coalminers as well as new moms." 2
--Carol Lewis


Good benefits make good economic sense. It costs a hell of a lot more to train a new employee to replace a good one than to just keep the good one in the first place. If a company's too stupid to see that, let them die like the dinosaurs. 3
--Tony Wang


Children are a national resource. We should pay for each other's kids, because we end up paying directly (in taxes) and indirectly (in quality of life) when children grow up to be illiterate, unable to work, criminal, unhealthy, etc. I'd gladly pay for your children because I need them to be my co-workers, my employees, those who provide the services I rely on, those who help put into office the people I want elected and so on. Working together and living together imply some cooperative interdependency. We need each other and we therefore must be sensitive to each other's needs. 3
--Suzanne Silk Klein


I have just returned to work again after having my second child. My wonderful sons are eight months and two-and-a-half years old. Last week I was informed by our city's family services department that I have come to the top of the waiting list for subsidized daycare. I first went on the list when I was pregnant three years ago! Fortunately I told them last year that I would soon need two spots.

My advice for working women planning to have a family is to find out as soon as you can about the services, daycares, playgroups, school programs, etc., in your area and get on the waiting lists. Periodically phone these organizations to make sure they haven't lost your name, and to update them with any changes to your situation. Securing quality daycare is definitely a time-consuming task which seems to always fall on the mother's shoulders. 3
--Melanie H.


I am very fortunate to work at a facility with on-site childcare. If I had not had this option, I don't know how I would have been able to return to work. Unfortunately, it took the facility 10 years of lobbying from parents before it built the center. The center also is treated as stand-alone and does not receive much operational subsidy. The teachers there are the lowest paid people on site: they make less than the janitorial and maintenance staff. Even with the heartache that we parents feel with the pay of our staff, the center has been able to find many outstanding staff members.

These people are the living saints of our times. I have been able to take advantage of the center -- my oldest child started there when he was a 10 weeks old. I used to go and breastfeed him a couple of times a day. I always took leave or leave-without-pay to go see him, so I did not take advantage of my employer in this respect. My children are almost at school-age, but I still go see them everyday. It's wonderful. I only hope that somewhere, somehow, more women in America will be able to be as fortunate as I have been. 3
--Lucy F.


If you want to get your employer to help you with your need for childcare, you have to take some of the responsibility for achieving that goal. Talk to other working parents where you work, find someone who's sympathetic in your human resources department or on the executive team and have a meeting or brown-bag session where you try to figure out what is needed and what can be done. Form a committee, circulate a petition, do something help point your employer in the right direction. Find out what other employers near you are doing. Find some real life examples to use as models. In our city, a group of employers in the same area got together to partially subsidize a stand-alone childcare center for their employees. It's been a huge success and they've already expanded it even though it's only been open for three years. An added plus is that it generated all kinds of great publicity for the businesses in it. Good luck. 3
--Kathy O.


There is no question that the issue of who should be responsible for our children's care is an extremely sensitive debate. I personally feel that we all too often forget about the quality and value of our children's care over economic issues.

There is no doubt that many parents are forced into a need of double incomes, forcing tough decisions about where we place our children. At the same time employers may feel, if not approached properly, that the "burden" of child care is expected of them and somehow they owe us that.

I often wonder what the next generation will look like years from now when individuals or organizations have been responsible for the early years of day to day care and upbringing. There is no question that the first 5 years of a child's life directly affects the value systems they grow up with. Having a child and raising that child is the most important "job" we could ever have.

How we cope with our financial needs and raising children is no easy task. 3
--Gordon Ferguson


Childcare in the workplace is essential to the working family of the '90's. Although I am not married, nor do I have any children (I'm a new hire), I would want my current employer to at least have that option available to me. This would make for more satisfied employees, hence, more satisfied employers. With all of the problems going on with daycare now, it would be good to know that your child is close to you and the parents of the other children are near as well to provide a small network of its own. 3
--Thais G. Boyd


Not only should our workplaces assist with the provision of daycare in the workplace, but our government, both state and federal, should recognize the contribution of parents who choose to, or would choose to if economic conditions permitted, stay home with their children. I feel there should be some type of assistance or tax break for those who wish to personally oversee their children's upbringing. 3
--Debra


1. From my mail
2. "Two Years Without Sleep: Working Moms Talk About Having a Baby and a Job," edited by Cathy Feldman. Blue Point Books, 1994.
3. Response to Working Together: Question of the Week

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Office Romance?

James is facing a tough problem because he's caught between company policy and his emotions. What do you think he should do?

"Why should I have to lose my job just because my supervisor and I fell in love? Our company has a policy against these kinds of relationships. Since there is no job I can transfer to, even if I'd take a demotion, when any of our bosses find out what's going on, I'll probably have to leave the company.

I don't think a man and a woman falling in love is anybody's business unless the company can prove our relationship is hurting our job performance. In fact, for some reason, we both have been doing better since we fell in love. We don't know anyone who has actually had to deal with a situation like ours, so any advice or feedback on our problem would be greatly appreciated." 1
--James


"I'm getting married December 12 to someone who works for the company. A lot of people at work know, but the people at the top don't know. I have a reporting relationship to the CEO, and I deal with the managing committee on a daily basis. None of them know who I'm marrying.

"I'm not telling them who I'm marrying. I'm not afraid they'll fire either one of us, but I have a real fear of I'll be alienated, not included any more because they think the information about the company will be leaked. There's a fear of being put on the shelf and not being promoted to higher positions because they think I won't keep information confidential from my husband. If I were a man it wouldn't make any difference. But with a woman it will." 2
--Ellen Frazier


I know how anxious you must be about informing your boss about your relationship, but you are going to have to do it. I'd suggest doing it as soon as possible so he or she finds out about it from you. You want to do everything you can to make your boss think you are not hiding anything and know how important it is to keep him/her informed. Sometimes policies are more flexible than you expect, especially if you have good communications with the people above you. 3
--Marcy L.


Try not to hide anything from your boss, just as you would not hide anything from your spouse (or significant other). If your boss fires you because you fell in love with your supervisor, then as hard as it may seem, your job was not meant to be -- but your relationship is. 3
--Jeff


The problem for James, of course, is not so much his "job performance" as 1) other workers' perception of "special" treatment he may receive from the supervisor, and 2) the repercussions that could result from an end to the relationship between him and his supervisor.

If James falls out of love with his supervisor, how is he protected from her unconscious anger towards him? If she terminates the relationship, how is she protected from him going over her head in some unconscious effort to hurt her? How can she truly objectively evaluate his work performance, now or at any time in the future?.

The most ideal situation is one in which James transfers to a position in which his new partner is no longer his supervisor, or that she transfers. I wish him and his new partner luck, because it most certainly is a problem of our times. 3
--Nancy Riggs


Should there be office romance? I don't believe that it is a good idea for one person to be the boss of the other. No matter what happens, someone [in the department] will feel that they are getting the short end of the stick. It is not actually what happens, but the appearence of what is happening [that can cause problems]. The director of that department must step in and keep a close eye on the whole department to verify that productivity is not being adversely affected, and that attitudes are not being affected. The REALLY hard question to answer is: What happens when this couple breaks up? 3
--Craig E. Kasold


My husband and I met on the job and eventually married. Working together was very difficult and strained our relationship. Based on our experience, I strongly stress that they learn to communicate their feelings to each other, particularly if the environment is very competitive, corporate management is not cooperative, and the woman is in a position of greater authority (as was the case in our situation). Another very important agreement the couple should make is to refrain from discussing office matters at home. 3
--Jennifer H.


I [once] hired a married couple [and it] worked out wonderfully; they were two of my best analysts, and I moved 'em from Lynn, MA to Phoenix when I set up a shop there. If the survivors of the undeclared class war are going to have to spend 16 hours a day at work, the only people they will have time to fall in love with will be fellow workers (or airline personnel!). Cheers! 3
--Herb Grosch


1. From my mail
2. "I Work Too: Working Wives Talk About Their Dual-Career Lives". Edited by Cathy Feldman. Blue Point Books, 1996
3. Response to Working Together: Question of the Week

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