Friday, May 25, 2018
Business

Career Q&A: Playing job tug-of-war with another employee

Q: I have found myself in a strange situation at work. After receiving a promotion, I discovered that many of the duties in my new job description were already being performed by "Paul," an older employee who has been here for a long time. Paul is so involved with my responsibilities that I'm beginning to feel unnecessary.

For example, my job description states that I am to recruit, hire and supervise our student interns. But when I tried to give projects to the students, Paul insisted that he is supposed to approve their assignments and monitor their performance. This makes absolutely no sense.

When I tried to reclaim some of my territory, Paul immediately became angry and uncooperative. Our supervisor seems to understand my frustration, but so far she has done nothing to solve the problem. How can I get Paul to back off and stop doing my work?

A: Before getting sucked into an unwise territorial dispute, take a moment to consider Paul's perspective. If he has performed these duties for many years, you may seem like an interloper who is trying to steal his job. So you need to understand that the blame for this confusion lies not with Paul, but with management.

When roles are poorly defined, conflicts almost always arise. Before your promotion, your supervisor should have anticipated this problem and taken steps to differentiate your position from Paul's. Her failure to do so has created a predictable tug-of-war which could easily have been avoided.

Since your boss has continued to abdicate her leadership role, you may have to take the initiative to resolve this issue. Start by listing both your responsibilities and Paul's, then review this summary with your supervisor and identify areas of overlap. Instead of lobbying to "reclaim your territory," ask if she will invite Paul to collaborate with you on creating two distinct job descriptions.

If this process succeeds, you may still not have precisely the job you want, but you will at least have a role that everyone understands. After all, if you're confused about who does what, just think how those poor interns must feel.

Subhed subhed

Q: Our company recently merged with a larger business, so I know that some departments will eventually be combined and positions will be eliminated. I had been planning to ask my boss about a promotion, but with all the uncertainty created by the merger, I'm afraid this might not be a good idea. What do you think?

A: If your primary objective is to survive the merger, then you want to be in the position which will be most essential to the combined company. Depending on the specific circumstances, that could be either the higher-level or lower-level job.

If predicting the better choice is difficult, consider seeking advice from your human resources manager. You should keep in mind, however, that no one has the power to foretell exactly what may happen in the wake of a merger.

Subhed subhed

Q: I work with a group of people who like to discuss their personal lives. Every Monday morning, someone will ask what my boyfriend and I did over the weekend. I am private by nature and would prefer not to share this information, but I don't want to seem rude. How should I handle these nosy co-workers?

A: Most of the time, "What did you do this weekend?" is an innocuous query, similar to "How are you?" People are asking just to be polite. They have no interest in hearing a detailed account of events and would probably be dismayed to receive one.

Therefore, you can simply respond with a brief and bland answer — like "oh, the usual stuff" or "nothing very interesting" — quickly followed by an inquiry about your colleague's activities. Since most people greatly prefer talking about themselves, this question should shift the conversational focus. The price you must pay for privacy is listening to the answer.

Comments
Fiat Chrysler recalls 4.8 million cars, warning owners: Donít use the cruise control

Fiat Chrysler recalls 4.8 million cars, warning owners: Donít use the cruise control

Associated PressDETROIT ó Fiat Chrysler is recalling 4.8 million vehicles in the U.S. because in rare but terrifying circumstances, drivers may not be able to turn off the cruise control. The company is warning owners not to use cruise control until...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Federal Reserve chairman warns his agency must be free from political pressure

Federal Reserve chairman warns his agency must be free from political pressure

Associated PressFederal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned Friday that the Fedís independence from political pressure must be respected if it is to succeed in controlling inflation, maximizing employment and regulating the financial system. His re...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Restaurants like Ford’s Garage use the experience to get you in the door

Restaurants like Ford’s Garage use the experience to get you in the door

Tim Butler’s first car was a Ford Model A pick-up truck — a pearl fawn and cherry red pick-up he got his senior year in high school from his dad, who renovates antique cars. That’s why as Butler waited for a table at the Ford’...
Updated: 2 hours ago
St. Petersburg man fined $507,513 in penny stock scheme

St. Petersburg man fined $507,513 in penny stock scheme

TAMPA ó A St. Petersburg man was fined $507,513 and permanently barred from participating in the offering of a penny stock in a case involving a scheme to manipulate the price of Aureus, a penny stock company incorporated in Nevada, officials said Fr...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Broadcomís CEO tops highest-paid list with a $103 million payout

Broadcomís CEO tops highest-paid list with a $103 million payout

Times staff and wiresNEW YORK ó Chief executives at the biggest public companies got an 8.5 percent raise last year, bringing the median pay package for CEOs to $11.7 million. Across the S&P 500, compensation for CEOs is often hundreds of times highe...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Denis Phillips, hurricane season guru, talks his signature beer, suspenders and Rule #7

Denis Phillips, hurricane season guru, talks his signature beer, suspenders and Rule #7

SAFETY HARBOR ó Denis Phillips cracks a pop-top and pulls a can that looks a lot like him to his lips."Itís got that citrusy feel to it," he says. "Which is a Florida thing. Thatís not bad." Indeed, thereís a grapefruit finish to Rule #7 Hurricane Sa...
Updated: 8 hours ago
At Pinellas Parkís iconic model train store, an ownership change goes off the rails

At Pinellas Parkís iconic model train store, an ownership change goes off the rails

PINELLAS PARK ó The iconic model train store that has sat at U.S. 19 and Haines Road for close to 30 years announced on its website it will be moving to another location."Itís difficult trying to stock a store thatís bigger than the reality is these ...
Published: 05/25/18
Behind the deal: $52 million boutique hotel coming to Ybor City started with cafe con leche at La Tropicana Cafe

Behind the deal: $52 million boutique hotel coming to Ybor City started with cafe con leche at La Tropicana Cafe

TAMPA ó Joe Capitano Sr. invested in the 1400 block of E Seventh Avenue in 1985, never doubting the huge potential of the property for Ybor City.But the deal to build a $52 million boutique hotel on the site didnít start to come together until six ye...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Tampa Electric to shut down Big Bend coal unit that killed 5

Tampa Electric to shut down Big Bend coal unit that killed 5

APOLLO BEACH ó Tampa Electric Co. is taking a big step away from coal. The Tampa-based utility is spending $853 million to convert its coal-fired Unit 1 at its Big Bend Power Station to natural gas and retire coal-fired Unit 2 in 2021.Five workers di...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Sprouts Farmers Market to open new store in Riverview

Sprouts Farmers Market to open new store in Riverview

RIVERVIEW ó Sprouts Farmers Market is opening a new location in Riverview, the chain announced Thursday. The new store will be located at Summerfield Crossing Shopping Center, though Sprouts did not have a specific opening date.The announcement comes...
Published: 05/24/18