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Self-Insight

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 was at a meeting with my manager and some members of senior management, and whenever I talked, my manager kicked me. I didn't know if he wanted me to keep talking or be quiet, so I ignored him. After the meeting, he said I was talking too much, and he was kicking me to get me to stop. I'm annoyed and don't know what to what tell him.
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My performance has generally been good, but I've been making some mistakes lately. My manager told me that he is keeping an eye on me, and unless I improve, he is going to take serious action, meaning that I will be fired. It makes me nervous to have him watching over me. Do you think that's a good way to manage?
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Whenever I meet with my manager, I get nervous. I'll start talking, and then he throws curveballs. I get flustered and make mistakes, and then the meeting ends and I have made another poor impression on him. What's the best way to prevent this from happening?
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My boss just quit. I was hoping to move into management, and I figured that this would be my time. I was surprised when I heard the company is going outside to find a replacement. When I spoke with the general manager, he said he does not think I am ready for management. Is he actually saying I should look for another job?
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I was recently told by my manager that my pay increase for this year is going to be two percent. I am not at all satisfied with this, but I know I should be happy to get any raise at all. What is the best way to voice my dissatisfaction?
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I was interviewing a very promising applicant, but she interrupted me several times. I tried to keep talking, but she did not let up. We really need to fill this position, and she has the skills. Do you think her interruptions are enough of an issue to eliminate her from consideration?
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I just noticed that I am being overpaid by about $50 a week. We are a big company and this is not going to break it. I am wondering if I should say something.
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One of the employees who report to me asks question after question, to the point of disrupting meetings and general conversations. I have been patient with him and tried to help him become a better listener, but nothing works. Can you offer any help?
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What do you do when you interview an applicant and everything seems fine, but the pit of your stomach tells you that you should not hire him? I can't figure out what it is, but something tells me that this applicant is not giving me the full story.
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My manager says I ask too many questions, but I feel I would rather do this than go off on a project and make a bunch of mistakes. I sense that he is becoming less and less available to me, but I am only trying to do a good job. What can I do?
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I can honestly admit that I am a screamer, but none of the employees in my charge seem to care about it. If I blow up, I apologize, but my manager recently came down on me about my outbursts, and he did not care that my employees are not upset by them. How can I get him to stop worrying about this?
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Whenever I make a suggestion to management, I am told that my idea will not work. I think that some of my ideas are very good, but no one around here seems to care. Are there some ways to encourage management to accept some of my suggestions?
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When we have departmental meetings, there is one person who interrupts me whenever I am speaking, and his comments usually have noting to do with what I was saying. I get upset and distracted by this, and I don't know how to deal with it.
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I was staring into the distance and thinking about how to handle a certain part of an assignment when my manager walked by and told me to stop daydreaming and get to work. I told him that I wasn't daydreaming, but he laughed and walked away. Is it worth saying anything further to him?
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Part of my job is to do administrative work that is needed by employees in other departments. When the work is done, I send it to them. There is a manager in one of these departments that sends me email every other day asking if I am done yet. I cannot stand seeing these emails from her, but I politely respond that the work is in progress and I'll send it when I'm done. How can I stop her from sending these annoying messages?
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I am the office manager for a small company, and my boss is the president and part owner. The problem is his drinking. I have worked here for over 12 years, and he has been drinking for the last 5. The other owner of the company, who is retired but still checks up on things, has talked to my boss about the problem, so now he finds ways to hide the odor, but still drinks. How can I make my boss understand that his drinking is affecting his health, the way he does business, and the way others see him?
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I just had a job interview that lasted about ten minutes. When it was set up, I was told to plan on spending an entire afternoon, but the interviewer said he was behind and if there's interest, he'll contact me. I don't think I said or did anything wrong. Should I send him a note to stay in the process or just move on?
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We were discussing operations in a departmental meeting when our manager misinterpreted some information and made a questionable recommendation. I gingerly corrected him, but he has been upset with me since then, and I'm not sure what to do about it.
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I can honestly admit that I am a screamer, but none of the employees in my charge seem to care about it. If I blow up, I apologize, but my manager recently came down on me about my outbursts, and he did not care that my employees are not upset by them. How can I get him to stop worrying about this?
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My boss told me that I am trying too hard to get his job, and I should pay more attention to my own work. My work is going well and I don't think it needs any more attention from me. Besides, I thought most bosses want an employee who is motivated to move up. What's my boss's problem?
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I was very surprised when one of the employees in my department told me that she believes I have been picking on her. Her work has been slipping lately, and I have had to discuss it with her more frequently. How do I deal with her claim?
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I want to make a career change, maybe into real estate sales, but I have a full-time job and family responsibilities. I don't have the time to take the courses, and I am concerned about the lack of income when I start a new career. How do people in my position do it?
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I work at a company in a position that I love, and my superiors are just wonderful. I work alone, but the problem is the co-workers. Some of them play games and say things to me that are hurtful, and others just ignore me. I talk to my co-workers but I don't get very far. I would like to get along better. What should I do?
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Since our new boss arrived, I cannot believe how many mistakes I have been making. He must think I am not a good employee, but that's not true. Should I talk to him about this, or just focus on my work and try to work better?
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We are getting a new boss in 2 weeks. I am wondering if there are any tips that can help me make a better first impression on him.
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I started a new job 9 months ago, and the company just announced that it is review time. Their method of reviewing employees seems perplexing as they have the employee do a self-evaluation, and then compare it with your manager's evaluation of you. I find this difficult, as I would not want to rate myself too high or too low, yet my pay increase is based on the review. Can you please suggest a way that I can evaluate myself?
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Over a recent holiday weekend, according to my manager, I missed several pages. I assured him that my pager is always on and I would never ignore a page. He cursed at me and called me a liar. Meanwhile, he is notorious for ignoring pages, voicemail, and company e-mail. He has lied and threatened us with termination, and I've been told that his behavior is typical for this company. What should I do?
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There is a person who reports to me who needs to be micromanaged. He spends too much time wandering around, and if I don't check up on him regularly, very little gets done. He complains about this, but I see no other way to deal with him. Do you?
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I just completed my second job interview with a company, and they want me to start working for them immediately. I have been with my present employer for 2 years, and I feel it is only right to give a couple of weeks notice, but I will lose the new job if I do.
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We have casual dress days every Friday, but I am reluctant to wear casual attire because I feel that, as a female, we tend to diminish our stature when we dress casually, while the same does not seem to apply to males. My associates tell me that I am wrong about this. What do you think?
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After a very upsetting meeting with my boss, I walked out of his office and muttered an expletive about him that no one was supposed to hear. He heard it, wrote me up, and warned me that if I don't change my ways, I'm out. I don't think it was fair to be punished for something he was not supposed to hear. What do you think?
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I spent nearly six years as a Marketing Coordinator while I was trying to break into marketing management. I was passed up for promotions, and I was told it was because I needed a bachelor's degree. At great expense, I went back to college and obtained a bachelor's degree and an MBA. Now I'm hearing I don't have enough on-the-job experience to be a manager. I've been looking for over a year, and I'd even take a marketing coordinator position to get my foot in the door. Although it's lying, I'm considering removing my education from my resume. Do you think that would help?
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After almost 9 years at a job I really enjoyed, I made a decision to leave. The reason is my supervisor. I don't know why she didn't like me and emotionally abused me, as I was praised for my work by other departments. I spoke to the personnel director who then told my supervisor about everything we had discussed in confidence. I need closure on this. Can you help?
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I am beginning my career, and I want to know how to respond to a job interview question about my goals if I don't have a particular objective. I know what direction I want to go in, and I want to do well, advance, and continue to learn, and maybe my goals will crystallize when I join the company.
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I have an employee who keeps asking when he is going to be promoted into management. Almost every discussion with him turns to this topic. I have told him that as positions open up, we look internally for qualified individuals first, and he would be considered like everyone else. However, he just keeps pestering me about this. What can I do?
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When I disagreed with my boss in the past, he would persist until I backed off. As long as I agree with him, we work well together. Now I hear myself saying things I don't even believe just to stay in his good graces. I am in mid-career, and I am wondering if this is what I want to be doing. Any suggestions?
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I was on a committee that is chaired by a senior manager, but I disagreed with several of his ideas. He insists on having everything his way, and now the committee is still meeting, but I am not invited. I liked the other people on it, and I would like to be on it again. How can I do this?
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I was offered a job in a company that has around 300 employees, and I think I will be the oldest person or close to it. I am going to accept the offer, but I was wondering if you see the age differential presenting any particular problems, and, if so, are there some steps I should take?
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I manage a department of twelve people, and three of them wrote a letter to my manager saying I insist on having everything done my way. That is not true, but my manager believed everything they wrote and came down hard on me. What should I do?
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I am fairly new here, and my job is okay, but people here seem to take pleasure when others fail. They are always looking for ways to make themselves look better in the eyes of management, and make others look worse. I am very uncomfortable with all of this. What's the best thing to do?
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My older brother runs our family business, and I report to him. We are very different personalities. He is very detail-minded, and I am more of a free spirit. The problem is that he treats me like a child. How do I get him to change?
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I'm going to a seminar on dealing with difficult people at work, and my manager just told me that he expects me to make a presentation about the seminar to the rest of our group when I return. I don't want to do it. Is it fair for him to make this request?
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I work in a bank, and some of the other women I work with claim that I flirt with the male customers. I'm friendly to all the customers, and I resent being called a flirt. How can I change this false image of me?
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One of the people I work with makes himself the center of everything that's discussed. He shrugs off what we say, but we are expected to listen as he talks endlessly about himself. How do we change this?
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I do not like a particular employee who reports to me. He's doing a decent job, but his personality grates on me. How do I deal with this?
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I was just promoted over several of my friends, and now they hardly talk to me. I thought they would be happy for me, but I was sure wrong about that. I wonder why I even tried for this promotion. What should I do?
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Practically every time I come into the office, my manager tells me that I look upset. I am not, and I don't hear this from anyone else at work. Is there any significance to it?
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One of the people who report to me constantly asks me when he is going to get promoted. I don't know when or if he is going to get a promotion, and I have told him to stop asking, but he still persists. How do I get him to stop?
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I am a manager and have four people reporting to me. The other day, my manager said I have been taking too much time at lunch. I resent this comment, and since I am on salary, I can take as long a lunch as I want. That is my prerogative as a salaried person. What should I tell him?
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My CEO is a workaholic who comes to work when she has a fever. When she coughs, she doesn't cover her mouth, and this spreads germs to everyone. I have tried to diplomatically tell her, but she does not listen. Now I have missed two days of work because I caught her cold. How should I deal with her?
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My manager keeps asking me if I am happy working here. I tell him that I am, but then a day or two later, he asks the question again. I donít know what he is getting at or why he is doing this, and I donít know how to find out. What do you think?
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I went for a job interview, and it was apparent that I was not in sync with the interviewer. By the end, he stopped asking questions and started criticizing me. Among other things, he that my answers were too wordy and my clothes were wrong. Iím still upset, and I wonder what you think about this.
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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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One of my co-workers has a way of prying private or personal information out of me, but he never tells me anything. After we talk, I always feel bad, and I know that I have said too much. I donít want to wreck communication with him, especially since our jobs require contact with each other, but I want him to stop trying to draw this information out of me. What can I say?
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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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When I walk into my managerís office, he stands up. I know this is polite, but it makes me feel uncomfortable. He rarely sits down when I am there, and this cuts our conversations short. I donít think I should just take a seat, but maybe then he would get the hint. What do you think?
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My work requires that I communicate with several other employees, but I have a problem with one person. Because her phone allows her to see who is calling, she knows when a call is from me, and she ignores it most of the time. How should I deal with her?
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I feel like the dumping ground in this company. When there are projects that no one else wants, whether important or trivial, they get dumped on me. Many of these projects waste my time and in some cases embarrass me. Is there anything I can do, or should I just sit back and let them rain down on me?
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My manager called me into his office and made some critical comments about my performance and handed me a copy of a write-up he placed in my file. I defended every criticism that he made, but that did not matter. What should I do now?
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As I was sitting at my cluttered desk filled with boring work, I realized that this job has changed over the years and I don't like it. It seems strange that this feeling hit almost overnight, since I don't think I felt this way yesterday. Is this a passing dissatisfaction or something more serious?
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