Q: One of my co-workers drives me absolutely crazy. "Monica" is very emotional and dislikes any sort of change. She always seems to have some type of medical issue and constantly talks about her visits to the doctor. Whenever Monica begins speaking, I immediately start to cringe.
Although I love my job, Monica is so aggravating that I no longer look forward to going to work. I took my concerns about her to management, but so far they haven't done anything. What should I do now?
A: If you're asking what you should do about Monica's personality, the answer is nothing. Since you haven't mentioned any work-related issues, the only problem seems to be that you find her annoying. So what you really need to do is adjust your own attitude.
Like many folks, you appear to have the unrealistic expectation that you are entitled to work only with compatible colleagues. However, the odds of your liking all co-workers are slim. After all, you don't get to pick these people. You must be able to coexist peacefully with whomever management decides to hire.
If Monica were interfering with your work, you could appropriately take that problem to management. But as it is, you must simply figure out how to tolerate an emotional hypochondriac. And if others find some of your traits irritating, they must learn to tolerate you as well.
Q: Three years ago, I asked the owner of our business why she allowed some employees to run errands on company time, take two-hour lunches and do almost nothing while the rest of us were covered up with work. Needless to say, she was not pleased. A few weeks later, my job title was changed and my salary was reduced.
In every performance review, the owner minimizes my contributions, even though I always work full days while her favorites continue to goof off. When I have tried to apologize for my previous complaints, she twists my words to make them sound negative. I think she would like me to quit, but I refuse to give her the satisfaction.
Despite the low pay and bad reviews, I have worked hard for this company for 14 years. Is there any way to improve the situation or should I just accept things the way they are?
A: You seem to be ignoring the obvious third choice. Instead of stubbornly staying put or vainly hoping for a turnaround, how about looking for a better place to work? Because the owner completely controls this business, nothing there is likely to change. And 14 years is a long time to feel mistreated and unappreciated.
To break the habit of resentfully ruminating about the past, try shifting your attention towards the future. Make a list of your skills, identify companies that might value them and begin exploring those possibilities. Although a job search may seem like a daunting prospect, remember that once you leave, your discouraging boss and her pet employees will no longer have any place in your world.
ABOUT THE WRITER
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.