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Here are the questions filed under this category. To read Ken's advice on any item, click on the link "Read Ken's Answer."


I sent a harmless joke on our company e-mail to some of the people who work with me, and several responded by saying how much they liked it. My supervisor's reaction was the exact opposite. She called me in and wrote up a formal reprimand, and then she said that this is a final warning. This sounds unfair to me. What do you think?
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My manager ignores most of my email. I send him messages three or four times, and sometimes there still is no response. He is causing my work to suffer, and I want to know how to get him to respond.
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Our manager read or heard that one way to improve the atmosphere is to add a joke at the end email messages. I don't think this helps the atmosphere at all. What do you think?
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There is one person here who keeps forwarding email to warn or advise us on matters that are nothing but myths. I have checked out what she sends, and it is junk. I have shown her sites that disprove her messages, but as soon as she gets some new nonsense, she sends it. How do we get her to stop?
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When I apply for jobs that are listed online, I figure that there are numerous applicants, so I send in my resume several times. One of my friends in human resources says this is a waste of time, but I think that this shows persistence. Do you think it's worth doing?
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One of my co-workers e-mails me far too many jokes and stories every day, to the point that some days I receive ten or more from her. I know she means well, but I would like her to stop. How do I tell her without hurting her feelings?
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Five of us work in a satellite office, and we are rarely included in any of the social events in the home office that is only about 20 minutes away. We have asked to be included at birthdays, retirements, and such, but we are usually forgotten. How do we get them to remember us?
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I am supposed to coordinate my work with a person in the publicity department of our company. She works in another city, and I have left her several telephone and e-mail messages, but she hasn't returned any. On my last call, I got her voice mail and it indicated she is out of town and to call her assistant. When I called her assistant, her voice mail said that she herself is out of town too. What should I do now?
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I use e-mail to keep the employees in my department current and to advise them of changes. My writing is clear, but there are always three or four people who come to me and ask for an explanation. They can obviously read, but they just don't do it. How do I get this to stop?
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I sent an e-mail to one of my close friends here, and I included some fairly nasty comments about some of the people, including our manager. The problem is that I must have hit the wrong button because it went to just about everybody. Obviously a lot of people are very upset with me. What can I do?
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Almost every day, my manager sends us extremely long e-mail messages. Sometimes they are her ramblings about one matter or another, and other times they are articles or stories that interest her. My inclination is to delete it all, but I never know if she is going to ask me about them. Is there a way to get her to use e-mail more effectively?
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I use e-mail to keep the employees in my department current and to advise them of changes. My writing is clear, but there are always three or four people who come to me and ask for an explanation. They can obviously read, but they just don't do it. How do I get this to stop?
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My manager told me to coordinate a project with a co-worker who is in another branch. I emailed this person several times and never heard from him. When I called, he said he routinely throws out email from strangers, and mine must have been one. How common is this, and how can it be prevented?
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I am an independent contractor trying to land an important project with one company for the past 9 months. Most of my correspondence is by e-mail, and the person I am dealing with keeps saying that they are almost ready to make a decision, but they need a few more weeks. I've met with him and everything is great, and then it's back to e-mails and delays. Do you have any ideas?
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I received an e-mail joke that was not in the best of taste, but I wanted to forward it to a few select friends who work here. I got distracted and somehow sent it to almost everyone. I apologized and was reprimanded by management, but I feel like my future here is wrecked. Is there anything that might help?
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I sent an e-mail to a colleague across the country, and the next thing I knew, my boss was lecturing me about sending such an unfriendly note. I don't think it was unfriendly, but it was direct and businesslike. When I reread it to my boss, he seemed to understand. Is there a way to prevent this kind of problem from recurring?
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Our boss emails us about everything and never communicates in person. Her office is across the hall from me. She will walk into my office, see that I am working on a project for her, and then return to her office and send me an email to start working on it. Her emails are often accusing in nature. I have talked to her about this, and she laughs and says, "Whatever." What should I do?
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I sent a harsh email to a co-worker when I was upset with his work on our project. Two days later, my manager ripped me in an email saying I have no right to send reprimands to a co-worker. What do you think about this, and what should I do now?
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There is one person in our company who rarely responds to email sent to him. We all use email all the time here, and it is very frustrating when he does this. What is the best way to deal with him?
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I sent an email to a co-worker, and I made an offhand remark about the work habits of one person in our group. Ever since I sent it, this person has been cold to me. My co-worker said he did not forward it to anyone, but I'm not sure. What do I do now?
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My manager is a documentation freak. Any time we discuss anything, he sends me an email to summarize it. I'm not a child and I don't need all this follow-up. I think he has too much time on his hands. What can I say to him?
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I sent a brief email message to one of my employees, and he immediately wrote back and asked why my message was so nasty and negative. I don't think it was, and I'm wondering what's going on in his head. I don't have time to write gushing email, and I want to know how to get around this problem.
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On at least three occasions, I received emails from two senior managers who seriously questioned my approach on certain projects. I immediately emailed back documentation that showed I took the correct approach. I never heard back from them. I think I'm entitled to an apology. Should I say anything to them or let it go?
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My manager emailed some questions about one of our company's programs, and I immediately stopped what I was doing and spent a few hours handling his request. I emailed my write-up to him, and he emailed me back and said I did everything wrong. I told him that my interpretation of his request could easily have been the right way to go. He told me to do it again, and do it his way. I think this was his failure, and he thinks it was mine. What do you think?
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How do I deal with someone who ignores my email? Whenever I send him a message, I hardly ever hear back. If I contact him later, he usually asks me to send my email again. I think this is a big power play.
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One of my co-workers does most of his communicating by email, and he can be very antagonistic online. In today's email, he basically accused me of being incompetent, and he copied my boss on the note. I sent him a fairly harsh note in return, and the battle went on until I just stopped. How do you deal with someone like this?
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When one particular senior manager in this company gets upset, he uses a lot of profanity in his email. Several of us are offended and upset by this, but we are not sure what to do about it. After all, he is in senior management. He does not use this language in person. How do we get the profanity to stop?
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I am managing several projects that impact other departments. I get very annoyed when I get email from certain managers asking me if I have any news for them. I don't appreciate terse emails that read, "Anything yet???" When I have news, I give it to them. What should I do?
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I use email a lot when communicating to other employees and to our customers, and my spelling and grammar are not the best. My manager has insisted that I used a spell-check, and I usually do. The problem is that even though I use spell-check, he is still complaining about my writing. What else can I do?
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I work in a company with about 150 employees, and one of my supervisors sent an email to all employees asking that we contribute to an overseas charity that is important to him. While the charity sounds like it is doing good things, several of us were put off by his approach. Since the request came from a supervisor, Iím not sure what I should do.
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I put together a summary of information that my manager requested, and I thought I did a good job. His response to me was a question mark, and nothing more. When I responded that I am not sure what he means, he emailed back and said, ďfigure it out.Ē What am I missing?
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I emailed an ethnic joke to a fellow employee. He thought it was funny and then forwarded it around. Somehow, it got to our supervisor who disciplined my friend and me. Since I did not send the joke to anyone who would be offended, I donít think I should have been disciplined. What do you think?
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My boss likes to be copied on emails we send in our department. Often with mine, he will ďreply to all,Ē restate exactly what I just stated in my email, and then resend it to everyone who just received the message from me. I have politely told him that if there is email he would prefer to send out, he should please let me know so the recipients can avoid a double email, but he continues to restate and resend my email. How can I bring up the subject again?
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When one of the managers asked me to handle a very basic chore, I emailed back that I thought his administrative assistant should do it. She has more time, and itís really more her job than mine. She saw my email and is furious with me. I ended up doing the task, and I apologized to her several times and even brought her a gift. She is still mad at me and has refused to talk to me for the past three weeks. Do you have any suggestions?
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I am fairly new here, and I work with another employee on most projects. Whenever he has a criticism of my work, he sends me an email and sends a copy to our boss. If I tell him to stop doing this, heíll report it to my boss. If I say nothing, heíll keep reporting on me. What do you suggest?
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A year ago, my manager told me that when a position opened up, I would be promoted. When there was an opening last month, the promotion went to one of my co-workers. I asked my manager about this, and he said he did not remember having offered anything to me. Then he said when the next position opens up, I am in line to get it. Some of my friends told me to get this in writing, but Iím concerned about how my manager might react. What do you think?
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I sent a link to a website with a funny visual joke to one of my co-workers. He thought it was hysterical and forwarded it to about 20 other people here. When my manager got wind of this, he reprimanded both of us for violating company policy on using company computers. I only sent it to one person, and my co-worker sent it all over the place, so he is the one who abused the system, not me. What do you think?
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I am in an administrative support position, and I get email from many people in the company. I am wondering why so many people have a mean tone in their messages. I can feel myself get tense before I read email from certain people here. What can you suggest?
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My manager sends me emails several times a day, and he is usually seeking information on the status of projects or on problems that have arisen. I write thorough answers to his questions, but his responses indicate that he doesnít read what I send. Instead, he just gets upset with me. What should I do?
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I work closely with four people who report to me, and I am having a problem with one. He makes commitments, but if things do not go as planned, he claims that he never made any commitments. He keeps changing his story, and Iím trying to figure out how to deal with him.
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How do you deal with a boss who always has to have the last word in email? If I think I am right on a particular matter, and I can prove it, even that does not stop him. He always has to come back at me with something. Is there a way to change him, or do I just have to live with this?
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I am a manager, and whenever I have meetings that include other managers, most of them show up late. I have spoken to them about this, and I donít think itís fair to the others to wait for these stragglers to arrive, but thatís what I end up doing. How can I get them here on time?
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I'm in the processing of a job application with my main point of contact being a recruiter that the company hired. He was supposed to have contacted me earlier this week with a scheduled interview in which I thought would be an appropriate time to express my concerns and asked questions, but haven't. So I emailed him with concerns regarding my pay and benefits that we discussed over the phone previously, and he responded to me well, but he also wrote in his responses a line that included "think of this as an opportunity to work hard and impress," in which he underlined the word "opportunity." Am I being overly sensitive or does this seem like an arrogant attitude from his part that is telling me something like "you shouldn't be asking too much, you should be grateful we're already considering you?" Nevertheless I replied to him saying, "I apologize if I came across as expecting too much for someone of my inexperience. It is indeed an amazing opportunity and I will take your advice to heart." Do you think I handled it alright?
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