At Work from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Wed, 21 Feb 2018 03:22:02 -0800 At Work from Creators Syndicate 9feb39ff84f93217207337ce34b6e903 Is Same Pay Fair For Star Employee? for 02/15/2018 Thu, 15 Feb 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Q: I was hired as an administrative assistant at a small nonprofit. I like working in a "do-good" culture where we are supposed to take a team approach to almost every project. I'm efficient and good at developing new ways for getting things done. I also like being able to take on whatever project we have at the time.</p> <p>I've been there a year and the boss knows I am a top performer. She sees I am willing to take on extra work as compared to my co-workers who do only what they are told to do. They arrange to take the easy projects they can quickly finish; then they sit there doing nothing until another one is assigned. They never offer to help and openly display no drive, energy or motivation. So much for the teamwork! But here's my problem: they make the same pay I do. That is just wrong. </p> <p>I'm obviously not there for the money. I would work at a corporation if only money mattered. But I work at a much higher level than my co-workers, and I think I should be rewarded for my work, initiative and commitment. If our raises were merit-based only, my co-workers would definitely make less. It's one thing to know nonprofits don't pay high salaries, except to the executives. It's another thing to be paid the same as employees who work as if the job is an imposition on their time. <p>Updated: Thu Feb 15, 2018</p> 6797a6ea12d8f942dd6b7b527ac6369a Was Your Education A Waste Of Time? for 02/08/2018 Thu, 08 Feb 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Q: I did very well during my time in the U.S. Army, but after fulfilling my commitment and receiving my bachelor's and master's degrees in business, I returned to my small hometown. I know small town salaries can't compete with those in the bigger cities, but I wanted an immediate job, so I took one at minimum wage. I am at a company where the employees get excited over receiving a $1.00 increase per hour. In the interim, I kept interviewing for financial jobs at smaller companies so I wouldn't feel like my education was a waste of time. </p> <p>I got an interview, which first started with a phone conversation. The person didn't know anything about federal or state labor laws because she asked me how old I was. She said didn't want to hire anyone under 30, but didn't explain why. I assumed she thought they would not be mature or experienced enough for the job or something. I couldn't believe she told me any of that. I answered her age question and did not tell her she was wrong to ask it, much less to share her feelings on hiring from a certain age group. I thought if I tried to tell her anything, it would go over her head, but someone needs to bring her into the present time. I would never sue a company for this, but this kind of naivete is similar to the uneducated type of conversations I hear at my minimum-wage job. How do I educate people who are back in the '50s and '60s without sounding arrogant? </p> <p>A: Wanting to be educated is not about being arrogant; it's about wanting to "Be All You Can Be" (to borrow a slogan from the United States Army). Also, you are not arrogant by wanting to educate people when you see them exhibiting a lack of information, but some people are not open to learning, regardless of the topic or how it may benefit them. If you feel it's your responsibility to teach a person who is lacking in knowledge they need, share your information, but be prepared for rejection. You win some, you lose some, and everyone can learn by the saying, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink."<p>Updated: Thu Feb 08, 2018</p> cae51409a2e5e7d2307ddbaf0bb4a7b6 Sabbatical or Career Break? for 02/01/2018 Thu, 01 Feb 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Q: I worked for seven years in the chemical industry. I had a chance to travel so I left my job and ended up taking about three years off. I'm trying to get back into the job market, but I've gotten negative responses; I'm not sure whether it's due to my reason for taking off or the actual amount of time taken. I think most people would have done the same if they could have, so I wonder if the negativity stems from jealousy. How do I respond to an interviewer who is openly negative, but not detailed as to why? </p> <p>A: Certain fields approve time off for a sabbatical, but you left your job to satisfy a desire to travel, so it isn't the same as a professor taking a sabbatical to study, write and publish for the benefit of his or her career at a university. Calling it a sabbatical may sound better to you, but to everyone else it sounds like you quit to have fun traveling and returned when you felt like it, which is a career break. Traveling can certainly be a learning experience, but you now must make up for the time lost from your career.<p>Updated: Thu Feb 01, 2018</p> 4e75ae6a746412f12ef7b9f80ca9ff88 Focus First on Family and Job for 01/25/2018 Thu, 25 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Q. I'm a 33-year-old woman who was recently made manager of a small financial firm. I'm very capable, efficient and fair. After 6 months, my skeptical, mostly older and mostly male staff members have come to respect me. I'm pretty and have had to put up with ogling and even crushes, but I was determined to be a successful boss, and I succeeded. Then, a week ago, an incident just about destroyed my sense of authority and I'm devastated. I feel like quitting.</p> <p>I arrived early at work and on that Tuesday as I opened the door of our small building I was accosted and pushed in by several men demanding money. I was trapped, frightened and shaking. They left me thoroughly bound and gagged in a storage room unable to get free, but luckily unharmed. I spent the next two hours desperately struggling to get loose, not wanting to be found like this. When I heard some staff members arriving, I was exhausted and still tied up. I then heard footsteps and voices and saw the storage room door opening. To my embarrassment, three staff members appeared, then several others, and in a daze, I felt hands untying me, removing the gag and heard them comforting me. I tried to regain my poise by joking (probably dumb), but on being found in such a position I had felt my self-esteem, dignity, and pride evaporate. Energetic, competent Ms. Proficient helplessly bound and gagged in a closet.</p> <p>My employees have been caring and supportive, and I've tried to act normal, but my sense of authority is shot. I'm angry with myself for being careless, for lamely allowing myself to be bound without putting up a fight, for being unable to free myself. I go through the motions each day but feel worthless and still embarrassed. How do I snap out of this nightmare and return to my confident self?<p>Updated: Thu Jan 25, 2018</p> d6d963695d78be8a26c215e57fdcbd5e Reigniting Lost Passion Is Possible for 01/18/2018 Thu, 18 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Q: A friend and I were talking about what we had thought we wanted to be when we were in high school. Her goal was to be a history teacher, so she got her bachelor's and master's degrees, began teaching history and loved her decision. I, on the other hand, wanted to be an actress, had auditioned for plays in high school and was told I was good. I went to college and worked low pay, low stress office jobs so I could pursue acting. I didn't audition a lot but I don't really know why. I stopped pursuing it and started taking more serious office jobs to make more money. I have been miserable ever since, but I feel like it's too late to try again. The actors who have made it have started young and had supportive or stage parents, or had industry connections. My regret and frustration grows every year and I'm lost as to what to do. I feel like my salary runs my life and I hate living this way.</p> <p>A: You and your friend had very different types of passions. Becoming a history teacher is a realistic, doable goal, which is why she was able to achieve it. You, on the other hand, pursued a career that inherently has high odds against a person achieving it. It also sounds like you gave up early on. If it had been a true passion, you would have searched for auditions and moved to an area where you had greater opportunities. Your first step is to identify what deterred you from following your dream; ask yourself why you didn't audition as much as you could have. It takes a different level of effort to be a little fish in a big sea compared to a big fish in a small pond. You may think you're angry for giving in to choosing a job with a secure income, but the anger may be that it reminds you of what you did not achieve. </p> <p>Focus your energy on activities to release your frustration and disappointment over your current situation. You cannot go forward surrounded by negativity and hopelessness. You likely see your dreams as loftier than your friend's, but comparing the two careers &#8212; one that is easily attainable to another that is equal to winning the lottery &#8212; will naturally drive down your confidence since you think you are not living up to your expectations. <p>Updated: Thu Jan 18, 2018</p> 02973fedc2ac6bed51f9788ca5889d4e Invest Time in School Over Job You Don't Want for 01/11/2018 Thu, 11 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Q: I am a full-time nursing student, and I work full-time as a caregiver at a senior assisted-living facility. I am married with no children. My husband has been very helpful with chores at home so I can go to school, but I still don't have enough time for homework. I'm in my last year and my classes require more homework now. The only way I'm getting through this is to skip some of the assigned readings for papers, which lowers my grades. A friend suggested I quit my job and focus on school because my husband makes enough to support us. I don't know if this would be a smart decision since my job gives me experience in the healthcare field. What do you think?</p> <p>A: Prioritizing is important in many types of jobs, as well as in life. In nursing, where you will face mild to life-threatening situations, your ability to prioritize will be critical. It could make the difference between saving and losing a life. While your commitment to your job is admirable, your commitment to school would be wiser. To make such decisions, compare what you gain and what you lose in each venue, and the impact your choice will have in your future. </p> <p>You may think skipping or glossing over school assignments is minor since you view nursing as a caregiving type of job. But degreed nurses working at top hospitals handle far more than a caregiver might do by making patients comfortable in bed or changing bed sheets or responding to personal requests, such as providing extra pillows and blankets. <p>Updated: Thu Jan 11, 2018</p> 8d6908c27bac07b9401cdf7a1f08c477 Home Office Worker Alone Faces Stalker for 01/04/2018 Thu, 04 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Q: I am a female, independent sales rep whose apartment is my only office. It took time to find the perfect location &#8212; one with a lot of natural light, is quite and peaceful and convenient to my company's warehouse. I love my job and my company, and often work seven days a week. That's why what has happened is so upsetting.</p> <p>One of my female neighbors hangs out with a man who visits her all day, once or twice a week. They are both regular drinkers. They invited me to join them one day, so I did, but I am not a drinker. The man who visits seemed "off" to me, but I mostly talked to my neighbor, not him. </p> <p>One day I found a letter by him in my mailbox. It contained delusional messages with descriptions of me "opening the door to a relationship with him" and wanting to kiss me and take me to special place. A week later, he followed me in his car for quite some time. I lost him when I got on the freeway.<p>Updated: Thu Jan 04, 2018</p> 624c601dbda99d757537f9c379dcc551 Nonsmoker Ends What Smoker Begins for 12/28/2017 Thu, 28 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Q: I work in an elevator building that is home to many companies. When the smokers need a cigarette, they have to leave the building to smoke. The sign at the entrance states that smokers must stand at least 15 feet away from the entrance. It never fails; there are always smokers who refuse to do this. That means nonsmokers have to hold their breath or inhale smoke as they leave the building. I got so tired of smokers disobeying the sign, I pointed out the smokers standing too close to the doors, so the guard went out to tell them to move away. One of them locked his eyes on me knowing I had complained. I didn't care at first. No one should have to walk through the disgusting odor caused by smoking.</p> <p>But this smoker wouldn't let it go. The next time he saw me in the elevator, he confronted me about reporting them. I ignored him and got off on my floor. He was still complaining as I exited. I hoped ignoring him would end it, but it didn't. He now has it out for me and each time he sees me, he has a snarly statement to say to me. After running into him several times, I had had enough, so instead of ignoring him the next time he started his rant, I responded, and it wasn't pretty. </p> <p>I hurled at him every insulting thing I could say about smoking. Then unfortunately, I got personal. Often his clothing reeks of smoke and I've had to hold my breath once he steps into the elevator. The odor has gagged me at times, so when he turned this into a public thing, I said I couldn't believe no one in his office ever told him how much he stinks, and I couldn't understand how he can't smell how bad he smells. I also told him if he can't he afford detergent to wash his clothes, I would buy it for him. I was about as rude and insulting as I could be, but everything I said was true.<p>Updated: Thu Dec 28, 2017</p> 7056ca49b4efff4f242ad7f4ad684763 Pros and Cons of Working for a Foreign Company for 12/21/2017 Thu, 21 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Q: My friend works for a Japanese-owned company. He said he doesn't get paid sick time, and if he misses a day, he must bring a doctor's note when and it will still be up to the manager whether it will be accepted. I thought companies had to offer paid sick days.</p> <p>I have another friend who works for a German-owned company and loves it. She said they are serious about their work, have high standards, take performance seriously, are given positive feedback when they do well and are promoted due to high performance. </p> <p>As a comparison, another friend works for a French-owned company. He said the company insists on employees maintaining a work-life balance and it holds events and retreats that involve travel and entertainment mixed in with business. The company pays all expenses &#8212; even for sightseeing time. The drawback is that they are not paid very high salaries for all the work they do, and they don't have assistants to help. But he did say that their attitude about work is relaxed and compassionate. Management doesn't pick on a person who may be in a slump or makes mistakes, or restrict someone who has a family emergency that requires time off, even when the person has no time off due. He said they don't punish employees for the spontaneous situations that are part of life. He makes enough to live comfortably, but not luxuriously, and he has no advancement opportunity.<p>Updated: Thu Dec 21, 2017</p> 967a615bc8efc7656566e8e6c8ef98e1 Getting a Job isn't Everything for 12/14/2017 Thu, 14 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Q: I was hired at a large company through a department head and was never told to go through the formal hiring process, not even to fill out an application. My immediate supervisor had just been hired several weeks before me. When I started, no one introduced to me to anyone &#8212; not co-workers, colleagues, other supervisors or other department heads, so I started introducing myself to employees in my area. Several weeks later, human resources called me into their office to say they had complaints about me being overly friendly. I apologized and promised to keep a low profile. </p> <p>My newly hired supervisor wanted me to work evening hours due to teleconferences that were to take place, so he would juggle my hours accordingly. I accommodated his need for continual changes without complaining. He also forgot nearly every assignment he gave to me. When I reminded him of each one, he would say he didn't recall and drop the subject.</p> <p>After one month, I was let go due to poor performance, blamed for the erratic work hours, and given one month's severance pay. I was shocked. I had made two mistakes in that first month of employment, but during that time my supervisor told me I was doing "fine." I'm upset about being fired, especially due to the reasons given. How should I handle this?<p>Updated: Thu Dec 14, 2017</p> 8d8b7fbca38451b1c8be0eebb31546c1 Know Your Legal Rights for 12/07/2017 Thu, 07 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Q: Our small company is high-workload environment. Everyone is under stress, but some handle it better than others. A co-worker went ballistic on me, throwing a stapler that missed me and hit the wall so hard, it left a gash. This violent outburst combined with the normal stress level at work has scared me and affected my ability to eat, sleep and focus on my job. My doctor referred me to a psychologist who I have been seeing regularly. I took a short leave of absence but don't feel secure enough to return. My boss told me the situation would not change. What can I do?</p> <p>A: Many workplaces have stressful environments, but violent behavior and the potential of further violence at work is unacceptable. Your boss' comment shows poor leadership ability and a serious lack of knowledge required for a management position. </p> <p>Here's what you must do after such an event: Verbally notify your boss and the human resource department immediately after the incident; follow it up with a written report describing all the details. Also furnish your doctor's report to the HR department. Having to continue working with a person you know to have violent emotional outbursts would affect most people.<p>Updated: Thu Dec 07, 2017</p> ab41b7442f2439155bb879cf5fafa6c3 Working After A Conviction for 11/30/2017 Thu, 30 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Q: I've had an excellent career for more than 10 years in IT, but I made a mistake that seriously hurt my career. My first few years were productive and I received excellent performance reviews, salary increases and a promotion. I then got a new manager and he was trying to force me out to hire his own team.</p> <p>On leaving the company, I deleted a number of files I had created. I also posted several messages on the Internet involving that manager. I was caught, prosecuted and pleaded guilty to a felony charge (unauthorized access). I received a one-year probation. </p> <p>I apologized to the company for my actions and I voluntarily went through counseling. My resume is well written; I have excellent communication and interview skills, a good work history and great references and solid experience. I have been upfront about my situation, but employers have backed off. I then changed my strategy and waited to explain my record after being offered a job. Each company rescinded the offer. Where do I go from here?<p>Updated: Thu Nov 30, 2017</p> b437efdc234dc029cace5205bf8ecab7 Employees Leave Jobs At All Costs for 11/23/2017 Thu, 23 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Q: I head a department at a large company and directly report to a new president. He has a record of turning around companies, has excellent technical background, but zero interpersonal skills. If he doesn't need anything from you at that moment, he treats you as if you're a non-entity. He must be good at what he does, but he acts as if people are worth only as much as their accomplishments and seem to have no human value to him. Everyone in the company feels disposable, and no matter what jobs they fill, they notice the change in environment. Siri, ALEXA, and Cortana now have more manners than management here.</p> <p>This has resulted in long-standing employees planning to leave; one employee told me she didn't have another job but would rather live on a far more limited income rather than to continue working here. I spoke to human resources about the problem with treating employees like non-humans, especially with today's focus towards a more enlightened, humane management style, only to discover they delivered my comments to the president. HR also reported to their bosses several lower level employees who filed what they thought would be anonymous complaints. HR must be following orders from the top, but all they've accomplished is to alienate everyone. It's a useless department other than to produce forms and function as the benefits police. </p> <p>Other department heads have followed the president's management style, but I refuse to lower myself to this less than human approach since I disagree with it. I'm putting feelers out there but I can't discuss the president's lack of humanity as my reason for wanting to leave, so I'd like an unbiased view of my options before I am asked to resign, which I'm sure is coming.<p>Updated: Thu Nov 23, 2017</p> 55b797446ea737511578467aa7da294b Nasty Meetings Are Killing The Job for 11/16/2017 Thu, 16 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Q: I'm a department head at a medium-sized but lucrative business. The work is exciting, challenging and important. The drawback is the environment. The owners micromanage to the point of creating a stressful, unnecessarily competitive and confrontational atmosphere. Instead of cooperation where everyone works together for the good of the company, individuals butt heads regularly and accuse each other of more things than I can describe. Our meetings turn into verbal attacks on every person who dares to make a suggestion or comment of any kind, no matter what the person is suggesting &#8212; good or bad &#8212; and no one sticks to the subject. Each person wants to make his mark and will stop at nothing to do that. Compromise doesn't exist because of the ego clashes among all. </p> <p>I have periodically reminded everyone of the way brainstorming is supposed to work; everyone can safely make suggestions and comments of any kind are withheld until we are ready to discuss them. We start as reasonable people, but once someone slips and gently criticizes a point made all hell breaks loose. We become stars in a reality show where everyone wants the spotlight. Have you ever seen people talking at each other so no one is heard? I am done playing referee and I haven't done it well. I don't think anyone can change it due to the competitive personalities, and I want to leave no matter how much I like the work itself. I can easily find another job, but can I reveal my real reason since I am not criticizing the job or anyone in particular?<p>Updated: Thu Nov 16, 2017</p> a45e9f1e5ac0b94caab0efffcc20311d Tossing It All Away: New Job, New Path, New Life for 11/09/2017 Thu, 09 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Q: I am a registered dietician and health consultant who created a healthy dessert company. I sampled out the desserts and received great feedback on each item, rented a commercial kitchen, and found a packaging company so I could sell them as snacks in small food shops and restaurants. The restaurant industry is a tightly knit group in this city, so when I met with chefs and restaurant owners, I hear things like "there's no place for the items on the menu" or they "already have similar items." I know that's not true. I use pure ingredients with no compromised or imitation products. </p> <p>I worked for a large corporation in the food industry, so I know the business. I have handled everything myself to keep expenses down, but it has still been an expensive endeavor &#8212; buying top level ingredients, meeting all the licensing requirements, renting a commercial kitchen, finding a professional food packaging company, marketing, appearing at food shows and making sales calls all on top of the excessive overall living expenses in this city. </p> <p>I thought more places would be interested in serving healthy desserts, but the businesses I've talked to don't share that as a priority. With all the evidence that sugar is directly connected to diseases, I thought sales would be easier. I get close to giving up, but I've put a lot of money into it and I want to make this work. <p>Updated: Thu Nov 09, 2017</p> afe3d0f881bc8d44dd1a91f3009d9c1b Keeping Or Getting A Job for 11/02/2017 Thu, 02 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: After 20 years of "excellent" performance reviews at the same company, I was laid off. Six months before that day, my boss wrote me up for being incompetent; then he said I didn't work well with my team; then he said there was no longer enough work so he had to let me go. Guess what followed? He called me the next Monday to ask me to work as an independent contractor. I fought back using all my reviews and letters from clients and suppliers thanking me for such good servicing of their accounts. Tell employees to save everything. There's nothing like hard evidence to dispute an unethical boss and a company trying to write its own laws. </p> <p>A: Twenty-two years is a long time to save records, but it saved you when you most needed it most &#8212; once you reached the age for caution in the workplace. It's sad when employees with great work histories and current accomplishments have to protect themselves from age discrimination situations, but it's a reality employees must face as they age. </p> <p>There is another side to age discrimination that no one discusses, though it doesn't sound like it applies to you. Every person ages differently, but there are ailments and health conditions that older adults commonly face such as heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and the many problems that can result from morbid obesity. There are also less apparent health problems that can seriously affect one's job performance. And the potential of these health problems discourages many companies from hiring and continuing employment for people over 50 &#8212; insuring those in the over-50 category costs more and weighs heavily on companies offering paid health coverage. In addition to the medical conditions mentioned, dementia and Alzheimer's disease can creep up slowly on individuals. Though the full picture may not be immediately apparent, the onset of the symptoms of dementia affects a person's ability to perform with the same efficiency as employers and colleagues were used to. <p>Updated: Thu Nov 02, 2017</p> da6bf15aeb1b271f2640f013abfc69f0 Is Freelance Or Regular Pay Better? for 10/26/2017 Thu, 26 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: I work as a full-time employee for the company owner, who is my direct boss. </p> <p>He has asked me to work on a project outside my job description and he offered to pay me as a freelancer in lieu of giving me a raise. He also told me I could do the freelance work during my regular work hours. My gut feeling is that it's a bad idea. How should I handle this?</p> <p>A: Flexibility and creative workplace management by employers and employees is not necessarily bad news in our new economy. According to "New York Super Lawyer 2017," Patrick J. Boyd of The Boyd Law Group, New York, "There is nothing unlawful on the employee's part in accepting money for freelance work, even when it is given by the regular employer. The employee just needs to report that portion of earnings as income (likely Form 1099 income). There could even be tax benefits if she can put the pre-tax money towards retirement or similar tax deferred vehicle. But as an independent contractor, she would likely be responsible for many extra taxes on the earnings due because no taxes would be removed by the employer. Freelancers often forget that if they are being paid, for example, $40 per hour, they are not likely to bank that full amount, as they are liable for income tax and other taxes employers usually cover in a traditional payroll model. If she were instead to receive a raise for the additional work, the funds would be subject to taxes taken from her paycheck for her regular job. In this context, the employee might be best by calculating his/her financial and career goals and openly discussing this freelance work opportunity with the employer to best suit her own economic needs and desires.<p>Updated: Thu Oct 26, 2017</p> fe8bf2afd391072fd307a740a1c726a7 One Bad Hire After Another for 10/19/2017 Thu, 19 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: I started a new business and had to hire several employees for varying jobs before I really knew what my all my needs would be. I knew I needed minimum wage employees, so I ran ads in my local area and I conducted the interviewing, which I didn't think was a big deal. I got a good response to the ads, so I know that was done correctly. I alone knew what I needed done and knew how to describe the various jobs. When I met with each applicant, I know I clearly described the job and made sure each person understood the duties, responsibilities and requirements. Some of the jobs required heavy lifting, so I informed all of each job's requirements. </p> <p>When each person started, he or she seemed competent. Each worker was good in the beginning, but as a month or two went by, situations arose with each employee. The excuses were many. Suddenly, daycare became a problem and the employee (both moms and dads) would call and need time off without offering a set schedule as a resolution. Then there were sudden doctors appointments for themselves, their children and other family members, and health problems of their in-law problems, and court dates and having to go to the airport to pick up a visitor, repeated car accidents, and a list of other unforeseen events that destroyed their reliability. Then there were those I caught stealing &#8212; money and petty cash included, inventory, office supplies and time. I even thought maybe one person was running her own business on her off-hours, but taking my office supplies home with her to run it. <p>Updated: Thu Oct 19, 2017</p> cc64c6daa3d5ab3cfd3c596a1c41d90a 'Thank You' Doesn't Replace More Money or Time for 10/12/2017 Thu, 12 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: I have not received a raise after two years at my company. At my interview, I was told I'd receive a year-end review and bonus based on performance. I worked my butt off and was complimented throughout the year on what an amazing job I've done. I exceeded company goals and received compliments even from my customers. I see now we are underpaid for the job, even if we had received bonuses. Instead of a raise or bonus, we were given additional responsibilities, and a group vacation. Great! Just how I wanted to spend my only time off!</p> <p>I work 12-hour days, seven days a week. I am wiped out at the end of each day, and nearly brain-dead by the weekend, so I have no time to update my resume or network. All those compliments are worthless to me. I have no life and no time to improve it or take my own vacation. </p> <p>The industry is tightly knit, so I can't rely on confidentiality if I apply for another job. I learned that the hard way years ago. I can't talk to my boss because the no-raise/no-bonus situation was announced to all of us. I also really like my boss and the employees, which is a first for me. What does a person do when there's no way out?<p>Updated: Thu Oct 12, 2017</p> a9d7bb561478529c2c83e92c01fa8418 Facing Reality Makes Decision-Making Easy for 10/05/2017 Thu, 05 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: My boss is dysfunctional in many ways and also probably a narcissist. He thinks and acts like he is more important than anyone else, including his own family. (I have heard him on the phone with his wife.) As for staff, he hurls insults and calls us derogatory names if anyone makes the slightest mistake, or what he thinks is a mistake. And he blames us for doing things that are not true. We are never allowed to defend ourselves, and God save us if we open our mouths in any way while he is criticizing us. If we ask questions, he calls us stupid; if we make a suggestion, he orders us to "stop talking." He will take away an assignment he had given to one of us and gives it to someone else, loudly saying that maybe that person can do it correctly. We don't think he is aware of pitting us against one another, but fortunately, we all get along and stick together. I have never known or worked for anyone like this, but I can't quit until I find another new job. Suffice it to say this man is sick, and not in a good way. How do I make this situation more tolerable and how do I explain why I am looking for a job without commenting or exposing this man's craziness?</p> <p>A: Few adults can change or break bad habits, even when they want to. So imagine what it would take to change a personality. Simply put, it can't be done. Since you're not ready to give notice, don't jeopardize your job by talking to him other than to answer his direct questions to you. Your goal of tolerating the situation is to remain passive and uninvolved. You've already seen that he interprets anything you say as a challenge to raise his ire. </p> <p>It's a plus that you and your co-workers see the obvious problem and feel a bond with each other so his divisive attempts fail. Do your job as best you can in these conditions, and accept that the man has severe emotional problems that will prevail.<p>Updated: Thu Oct 05, 2017</p>