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Your Office Coach: Don’t rebel against performance warning

By Marie G. McIntyre, McClatchy-Tribune News Service –

QUESTION: My manager recently gave me a performance warning for coming to work late. She has started monitoring me very closely, which makes me feel like some sort of criminal. I don’t think I deserve to be treated this way just because I have poor time management skills.

I used to have a friendly relationship with my boss, but now I hardly speak to her at all. I have applied for a position in another department, but I’m afraid her feedback may keep me from getting it. Is there anything I can do to improve this situation?

ANSWER: The most obvious thing you can do is get to work on time. Given that your manager has issued a formal warning, she must have been irritated about your tardiness for quite awhile. If you want her to recommend you for other jobs in the company, then this is a problem you have to fix.

Fortunately, tardiness is a behavior that can be easily modified. Even someone with “poor time management skills” has the ability to calculate the travel time from home to office and prepare accordingly. This will undoubtedly require altering some long-established habits, but if your career matters, you must make the effort.

At the same time, you should also reconsider your attitude, because childishly snubbing your boss is both self-defeating and unjustified. By refusing to tolerate tardiness, she is actually being a good manager. Since all employees are expected to arrive on time, making an exception for you would constitute blatant favoritism.

If you can be both prompt and pleasant for a sustained period, your manager will undoubtedly decrease her monitoring. And if the rest of your performance remains satisfactory, she may eventually give you a favorable recommendation.


Q: I would like to know why the human resources profession discriminates against men. Based on my observations, most HR departments are 90 percent female. Despite having a master’s degree and eight years of experience, I can’t seem to get an interview for an HR management position. Why can’t men get ahead in this field?

A: One obvious cause of the gender imbalance is simply that more women choose human resources as a career. Last year, for example, women made up 66 percent of the graduates of academic HR programs. Then again, this number also indicates that men still continue to enter the profession. And although some CEOs might prefer female HR executives, men actually do hold many of the top positions.

While your frustration is certainly understandable, fretting about possible discrimination will not help you land a management position. Because rejection is hard to take, job seekers frequently attribute their lack of success to external causes. Unfortunately, however, this rationalization can prevent them from correcting flaws in their approach.

In your case, since you are not getting interviews, odds are that you need to create a more attention-getting resume. Should your assumptions about gender preference happen to be correct, you must make a special effort to shine in order to stand out from the pack.

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