Q. I am an executive secretary, reporting to a vice president. Recently, one of our department secretaries left the company to accept a position at another company. I gather that before she left she had a meeting with the vice president.
The word is that she told him she was leaving mainly because she was unwilling to do my work in addition to her own. This is a plain fabrication-I've been carrying my own weight and more! Nevertheless, since that time my boss has dramatically changed his attitude toward me. He has become rude, extremely critical toward my work and very cold and distant. I believe that he wants me to resign. How should I handle my predicament?
A. You don't really know what transpired at the meeting between the departing secretary and your boss, so forget about that. Your problem is that your boss's demeanor toward you has changed for the worse.
Perhaps he has problems of his own that weigh on him. Give it a couple of weeks to see if his behavior returns to normal. If not, ask him to set a time to see you. Don't try to catch him on his way to or from his office; you'll want to talk to him at a time when he can give you his undivided attention, without time pressure.
Come straight out and tell him how you have seen his conduct toward you change, and ask him if he has problem with you. Then, listen carefully (taking notes while he talks would be a good idea).
Q. I work for a small electronics company as an assembler. I do not speak English well, but I know the product well and can do technician's work.
My manager often gives me work that is not my kind of work. He has promised me a promotion, but it hasn't happened.
Should I refuse to do work that is not assembler's work?
A. No! I know of nobody who ever got promoted by refusing to do more advanced work.
Continue to do work that will make you more useful and valuable, and keep asking your boss what is holding up the promotion he has promised.
If his answer is not satisfactory-or if he does not follow through with his promise-look for a job elsewhere as a technician.
Q. I work in a department store; I am a relatively new employee. I work hard and do good work.
My boss recently acknowledged this with a raise. Unfortunately, one of my coworkers, who has worked there for several years and isn't making much more money than I am, found out and is very upset.
She is now unwilling to help me, and the atmosphere has become tense. What should I do?
A. Nothing. Be as friendly and cooperative with your coworker as you were before, but do not apologize (nor should you act apologetically). Your coworker's disappointment will fade.
Andrew Grove is president of Intel Corp. of Santa Clara, Calif., author of the books 'High Output Management" and "One-on-One with Andy Grove," and a frequent lecturer on management. Please send questions to him in care of the San Jose Mercury News, Business News Department, 750 Ridder Park Drive, San Jose, Calif., 95190.