Thursday, June 21, 2018
Business

Career Q&A: Personal space at office

Q: An elite team was placed next to my office/lab. They are supposed to save the company by finding ways to streamline procedures. The people from the team recognize no boundaries. We lab rats try to be good neighbors, but those folks wander over any time and set up meetings in one of our offices —if it's empty, they think they can use it. They don't even ask, or say "Good morning."

It's becoming more intrusive. Today, they wanted to stash furniture in our space because they needed the room — and, oh, yes, they would retrieve it as soon as possible. They never did. I wanted to put all their stuff outside, but my colleagues advised against it. My question is how to enforce polite boundaries with people who think they are entitled to my space as well as their own. And, yes, the company thinks they are the greatest.

A: Strictly speaking, when it comes to the office, "my space" encompasses your epidermis and anything fastened thereto. The facilities, unless specifically restricted, are there for the use of everyone hired by the company. So forget about marking your territory; in terms of property ownership, you're a serf.

Granted, in practice, we all bristle when "our" workspace is invaded. Further, it's obnoxious of your neighbors to hold meetings in an assigned office without even the courtesy of a heads-up to the regular occupant. But instigating a border dispute, even politely, is not going to win you any points with management or the favored ones.

That's not to say that your only option is to sit and mutter helplessly as boxes are piled around you, like Milton in the movie Office Space. You can ask management to designate an unoccupied conference room as the elite team's HQ — you know, for their privacy and convenience. If the stored furniture is hampering your group's work, get management's permission to relocate it to another (indoor) location unless the Leets want to move it to their own preferred site. If you work with confidential files or sensitive information, ask to have a lock installed on your office door to protect the company's assets, not "your" space.

The common factor in these suggestions: securing support from the ones who have final say over how the space is used.

(There are less-professional deterrents — missing light bulb, "biohazard" sign on door, opened sardine tin in trash can — but it would be irresponsible of me even to suggest them.)

As for pleasantries, you can always lob the first "Good morning." When outside teams are brought in to "streamline" things, being on their good side isn't a bad idea.

Thanks to Sharon Snyder, of the Ober Kaler law firm.

Temp needs a few good references

Q: In several years of temping, I've unfortunately worked closely with people who would be risky or negative references. When I do find friendly people who know my work and are willing to be references, I can't find a full-time job opening for months, so the references never get used. The person in charge at my agency said I have up to a year before they go stale. How can I explain having few references?

A: Fill your Rolodex with anyone who can vouch for your skills and character. Just make sure you call the people first to remind them who you are, and make sure their offer still stands.

If any of those "risky" references try to shiv you somehow, your collection of positive reviews should make clear that the problem is with the naysayers, not you.

(Er … it is them and not you, right? Either way, you might want to come up with a non-defensive defense, in case an interviewer hears something negative from a detractor and asks you about it.)

Karla Miller has written for and edited tax publications for 16 years, most recently for the accounting firm KPMG's Washington National Tax office. She is on Twitter, @KarlaAtWork

Comments
Pride divided no more: St. Pete Pride comes back together

Pride divided no more: St. Pete Pride comes back together

ST. PETERSBURG — The 16th annual St. Pete Pride Parade is getting ready to march along the downtown waterfront the second straight year. But many hope to move past the division caused last year when the parade was uprooted from its original hom...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

TAMPA — When the 2008 financial crash brought down the nation’s housing market, hundreds of home builders went out of business. Among them was Sharon McSwain Homes in Atlanta, forced to liquidate in 2009.But just as developers like to develop, builde...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

TAMPA — Two of the city’s hottest developers — the companies behind Ulele and the Armature Works — are heading to court over control of an old city building that sits between the hit eateries. Both want to redevelop the city&...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Orlando airport first to scan faces of U.S. citizens on international flights

Orlando airport first to scan faces of U.S. citizens on international flights

Associated PressFlorida’s busiest airport is becoming the first in the nation to require a face scan of passengers on all arriving and departing international flights, including U.S. citizens, according to officials there. The expected announcement T...
Published: 06/21/18
Saboteur or whistleblower? Battle between Elon Musk and former Tesla employee turns ugly, exposing internal rancor

Saboteur or whistleblower? Battle between Elon Musk and former Tesla employee turns ugly, exposing internal rancor

Hours after Tesla had sued its former employee on charges he had stolen company secrets, and days after chief Elon Musk had called him a saboteur, the Silicon Valley automaker made a startling claim. The company had received a call from a friend of t...
Published: 06/21/18
WTR Pool and Grille brings ‘fun dining’ pool party scene to Tampa

WTR Pool and Grille brings ‘fun dining’ pool party scene to Tampa

Mike Piper has traveled to Las Vegas and Miami and enjoyed the fun, daytime, party pool scene that the two cities have to offer.Now he aims to bring that same atmosphere to Tampa with a new dining and hang out spot. WTR Pool & Grill opened on Sunday ...
Published: 06/21/18
Grace Family Church gives thrift stores an upgrade in South Tampa

Grace Family Church gives thrift stores an upgrade in South Tampa

A new resale store has made its way to South Tampa. Grace Family Church recently opened Vintage Etc., to provide affordable, quality merchandise to the community and continue its outreach to help families in need in a loving Christian environment. "W...
Published: 06/21/18
2.4 million Floridians expected to travel for Fourth of July

2.4 million Floridians expected to travel for Fourth of July

Summer has officially started and so have summer travel plans. About 2.4 million Floridians are expected to travel for the Fourth of July holiday weekend, up 6.3 percent from last year, according to AAA, The Auto Club Group."We are already seeing a b...
Published: 06/21/18
Taylor Morrison builds in Wesley Chapel

Taylor Morrison builds in Wesley Chapel

Taylor Morrison will build a new subdivision off of Boyette Road between Wesley Chapel Boulevard and Overpass Road.The builder and developer recently broke ground on Chapel Chase, set on approximately 40 acres just north of New Tampa in Pasco County....
Published: 06/21/18
Grain and Berry Cafe to bring its healthy menu to USF area

Grain and Berry Cafe to bring its healthy menu to USF area

Grain & Berry Cafe opened in Palm Harbor, and now the healthy eatery is rapidly expanding throughout the Tampa Bay area.The healthy eatery opened a new location on E Fowler Ave near the University of South Florida in May, just 10 months after opening...
Published: 06/21/18