The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

January 15, 2013

Your Office Coach: Office feud leaves both parties tainted

By Marie G. McIntyre
McClatchy-Tribune News Service (MCT)

— QUESTION: For a long time, one of my co-workers was very rude and snippy to me. Our new manager recently decided that we should be separated, so she transferred both of us to other branches. My office is now located an hour from home, which is causing a lot of problems.

Because this transfer seemed unfair, I made a complaint to our department head. Now he has scheduled a meeting with me and my manager to discuss the situation. How can I get him to move me back to my previous location?

ANSWER: Although you blame your snippy colleague for this problem, the fact that both of you were transferred clearly indicates that management holds you responsible as well. They undoubtedly view this as a silly squabble between two immature employees who put their dislike for each other ahead of what’s best for the business.

Unless you can acknowledge your contribution to the conflict, your odds of reversing the transfer will be slim. Therefore, when meeting with the department head, you should not complain about anything. Instead, you need to convince him that this has been a learning experience for you.

For example: “I am truly sorry that my disagreements with Brenda created problems for our group. By taking her remarks personally and refusing to speak to her, I just made the situation worse. That was really childish, and it will never happen again.

“Although I completely understand why I was transferred, the hourlong commute is creating problems in my personal life. If you could give me one more chance to work at my former office, I can assure you there will be no more issues.“

If you come across as mature, professional and contrite, management may be willing to grant your request. But if you still appear to be angry or resentful, they probably won’t consider it.

Q: In our office, the women often come to work wearing skimpy tops, sleeveless dresses and flimsy sandals. Although I realize some companies have a casual culture where everyone dresses informally, that is not the case here. The men all wear coats and ties, but most of the women look like they’re going to a picnic.

I was always taught that you should wear businesslike attire if you want to be taken seriously. I hope you will comment on this in your column, because these women may have no idea that they could be hurting their chances of advancement.

A: An old adage states that you should dress for the position you want, not the one you have. This doesn’t mean that an ambitious mechanic should come to work in a suit, but it does mean that people should consider the impression made by their clothing.

Today, career-minded women have a wide variety of suitable options when it comes to business attire. Nevertheless, some of them have been known to make unfortunate choices.

Readers, if you have any opinions about “dressing do’s and don’ts“ for professional women, send them to me at http://www.yourofficecoach.com or via Twitter officecoach.



Marie G. McIntyre is a workplace coach and the author of “Secrets to Winning at Office Politics.“ Send in questions and get free coaching tips at http://www.yourofficecoach.com, or follow her on Twitter officecoach.