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Career Q&A | By Marie G. McIntyre, McClatchy-Tribune Newspapers

Ask to be included in moves

QMy office will probably be closed by the company sometime next year. There are only two of us at this location, and our headquarters is in a different state. I would like to continue my career here, so I'm quite willing to relocate. However, I don't know how to get the attention of anyone in corporate management. Over the years, I have assisted several corporate employees with special projects, and I believe they would describe me as conscientious and reliable. I also have many ideas for streamlining processes and increasing efficiency. How can I find another position within the company?

A: Start by getting in touch with your current corporate contacts. Let them know that you are seeking a transfer and ask if they would be willing to provide a favorable reference.

Next, you need to have a talk with your human resources manager, because the HR department is frequently involved in staffing decisions. Express your interest in staying with the company, and don't be afraid to engage in some appropriate self-promotion.

For example: "Even if this office is closed, I still hope to continue my career here. I'm willing to relocate, so I would like to talk with you about transfer opportunities."

Finally, don't wait too long to have these conversations. Decisions about layoffs and transfers are likely to be made well before the office closure is announced.

Ask team leader why he goes through co-worker

Q: My team leader has started asking one of my co-workers to make changes to my projects. We are all software programmers, but we work on different products. Since I'm never told about these requests, the changes catch me off guard. When this started, I asked the team leader to keep me in the loop, but he hasn't done that. How should I handle this?

A: What you really need to know is the reason for your team leader's sudden decision to bypass you. To find out, you will have to ask a direct question about his motives.

For example: "Lately, I've noticed that Ted has been making changes to my projects without my knowledge. He says he's doing this at your direction, so I wanted to find out why you're giving these instructions to him instead of me. Are you uncomfortable with my performance in some areas?"

If your team leader offers constructive feedback, pay close attention. But if he says all is well, explain the problems created by these unexpected changes and ask if he will bring requests directly to you in the future.

Tell nosy workmate to stay out of your business

Q: I work with a woman who is extremely nosy. "Shelly" has read my e-mail messages and looked at my cell phone to see who I am calling and texting. She has also tried to find out about medications that I am taking. I have mentioned this problem to my boss.

I recently received roses at the office for my birthday, and Shelly actually opened the card to see who they were from. I want to do something about this invasion of privacy, but I don't want to sound childish. What do you suggest?

A: I suggest telling Shelly to stay out of your business.

For example: "Shelly, I think we need to set some clear guidelines about privacy in the office. Your reading the card on my flowers was completely inappropriate. From now on, I don't want you to look at my e-mail, handle my belongings or pick up my cell phone. I promise to show you the same consideration."

In case Shelly decides to complain about this directive, you should also give your boss a heads-up.

Finally, you would be wise to lock your desk and password-protect your computer, because chronic boundary violators frequently have difficulty with impulse control.

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 yourofficecoach.com, or follow her on Twitter at officecoach.

Ask to be included in moves 12/01/10 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 1:25pm]
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