Q: Our store manager and assistant manager recently ended an extramarital affair after the assistant's wife discovered it. Everyone at work had been aware of the relationship for quite a while.
Although they've agreed to stop seeing each other, the situation is still very uncomfortable. We've been told that any employee caught gossiping about the affair could be terminated.
Our regional boss just wants the whole thing to go away.
Sales have improved since these two started working together, so he doesn't want to transfer either of them out.
The assistant's wife is furious that management won't force a transfer but doesn't feel that she can speak up.
I would like to contact human resources, but I'm afraid of getting in trouble. What should I do? -- Disturbed
A: What you should do is nothing. What the wife should do is insist that her husband find a new job. But that's none of your business.
Although you now know way too much about your bosses' personal lives, you must pretend that you don't. The affair is supposedly over and management has chosen to retain the guilty parties. As long as they are behaving appropriately, everyone should just get back to work.
Q: After many years in the medical field, I suffered an injury that forced me to stop working with patients. I moved into an office job handling insurance claims.
I was given three weeks of training and told that I would have time to "fit into the job comfortably." However, at the end of my 90-day probationary period, I received a terrible evaluation. This has never happened to me before.
My supervisor apparently documented all the questions I asked and all the times that I required assistance from others. I viewed this as learning, but she views it as an inability to do the work.
I now have two weeks to improve or be fired. I can't make any mistakes or ask other team members for help. This seems unreasonable, but I like this job and want to keep it. What do you suggest? -- Afraid of Failing
A: Patient care and claims processing require different skills. So the first question is whether your natural abilities fit your current job.
If your errors are simply part of the learning curve, then time will fix the problem. But if there's a true skill mismatch, you may need to reconsider this career move.
One immediate possibility is to request an official extension of your probationary period. That would increase your learning time without changing your employment status.
As part of this request, propose a personal development plan.
List areas where you need to improve and suggest appropriate learning strategies.
You should also stress your enjoyment of the job and desire to succeed. Enthusiasm and a positive attitude may help to counterbalance your current skill deficit.
But if this position doesn't work out, don't get discouraged.
People who thrive in customer contact jobs often struggle with administrative tasks and vice versa.
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 ww.yourofficecoach.com.