I just accepted the job I thought I wanted, and I start it soon, but all of a sudden I'm terrified that I'm in over my head. I know I can do the duties, but these guys are already asking me to "get in on" conference calls and e-mailing me documents to review . . . and I haven't even started yet! Are they just (albeit aggressively?) getting me up to speed, or am I a little too nervous?

One hopes they are just trying to help you get a running start on the job. E-mailing documents makes sense. Sitting in on a conference call or two even seems logical. If they're actually expecting you to participate in them, before you've started working for them (not to mention drawing a paycheck), that's a bit weird. Why not approach your soon-to-be boss for clarification?

Fairfax: Our team is being split apart due to a reorganization. The boss is being given new duties and a new group to manage. Her assistant just sent out a note asking us to contribute to a gift for the boss. Am I being petty for thinking this is wrong, since all of us are moving, not just the boss?

Only if I'm being petty to think this situation doesn't really warrant a gift for anyone. If your co-workers are all going along with the silliness, though, just pitch in $5 and move on. Gift-giving is out of hand in a lot of offices, but it's rarely worth creating bad blood with your co-workers to fight it.