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CAN I USE A JOB OFFER TO ASK FOR A RAISE?

Q I have been offered a job that pays more money than my current position. I am not sure I want to accept the job, but I have been wanting to approach my boss about a salary adjustment for a while, and I'm wondering if it is appropriate to use this offered position as a tool to help me do that. I don't know if I'd quit if they didn't give me a salary increase, so I don't want to put myself in the position where I have to quit if they don't pay me more. Also, we have gone through some layoffs recently due to budget cuts, so I know the timing isn't great. But they have promoted others within the company at the same time, so I feel like there is money somewhere.

A If you tell your boss about your job offer, it should be in the context of tendering your resignation. It is bad form to try to use a job offer from another employer as leverage to obtain a raise. Your hope, of course, is that sharing this information will result in a raise. And, if your employer values you and has the means, they will probably try to retain you. However, you should not frame the conversation in this way.

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Office bully calls co-workers names

Q We have someone at work who calls people "idiot" at every opportunity. If there is an error, he is suddenly right there and ready to point out that so-and-so is an idiot and cannot do anything right. Yet he makes mistakes as well. We review our work with one another as a matter of standard error-checking procedures, but we don't shout "idiot" when an error is discovered. Now we find out that he has been meeting with the manager and saying that so-and-so is making too many errors and should be dismissed. Ever since he joined our department, life here has become a stressful nightmare. How should we deal with an office bully? Why would management give an implicit nod to his antics?

A Do not assume, just because this person has managed to corner your manager, that his opinion is respected. What you must do is be sure to express your views as well. Meet with your manager, preferably in the company of a colleague who can endorse what you are saying, and explain how damaging your co-worker's behavior has been to the team.

Lily Garcia, special to the Washington Post

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Dealing with politics in the office

Q My friend "Sarah" works in a medical office where most staff members are very politically conservative. The owner plays right-wing talk shows all day on the office radio and places conservative magazines in the lobby and treatment rooms. Sarah feels strongly that her boss should not be imposing his views on the patients. She tries to hide his political magazines at the bottom of the stack, but he always puts them back on top. Some patients have told Sarah that they are offended by this blatant partisanship and plan to find another treatment center. How can she persuade the owner that a medical practice should be politically neutral?

A I agree that political proselytizing seems out of place in a medical setting. However, Sarah's boss clearly has a different opinion. Since he owns the business, he has every right to make the media selections for his office.

Marie G. McIntyre, McClatchy-Tribune Newspapers

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