Ask For Advice

Send your questions and concerns to Dr. Marie McIntyre. Marie has more than 20 years experience in coaching, human resources, and management.  She writes the syndicated column “Your Office Coach”, which appears in more than 70 newspapers nationwide. Marie has authored two books and serves as a workplace expert for the National Institute of Business Management.  (Due to high volume, not all questions can be answered, but Marie will respond to as many as possible. Your question may be reprinted online or in the newspaper column unless you request otherwise.)

Coaching Q&A

My critical boss is always unhappy with my work.

For five years, I have worked as a writer for a business publication.  Although I consider myself a dedicated employee, my manager does not appear to value either my effort or my accomplishments.

He often corrects my work and will sometimes intercept my stories to keep them from being published.  He never includes my writing in submissions for national contests.  He often talks to me about “doing things right” and has recently taken away some of my responsibilities.

This man has been with the company for 25 years and seems to have a lot of influence.  No matter what he does, our vice president backs him all the way.  Although I love my work, I’m tired of feeling unappreciated.  Do I have to take this kind of treatment?

Marie’s Answer

No, you don’t have to take this treatment.  You’re free to leave any time you want.  But if your goal is to remain in this particular job, then you would be wise to heed the obvious warning signs.

Your manager blocks your stories from publication, frequently corrects your work, excludes you from writing competitions, and has narrowed the scope of your duties.  This all adds up to a big, flashing neon sign which screams “I’m not happy with your job performance!”

So here’s the key question: are you actually doing the best job you can?  If you can’t please this guy despite your best efforts, then you might as well start looking for a kinder, gentler place to work.  But before jumping ship, perhaps you should find out if you can meet your manager’s expectations.

Start by asking him to clearly define the areas where you need to improve.  Find out exactly what he means by “doing things right”.  Then establish some specific improvement goals and meet with him regularly to assess your progress.

While your boss certainly doesn’t sound like the ideal manager, he’s been there for a quarter century and has a strong relationship with the vice president.  As a result, he clearly has much more leverage than you.  So while this doesn’t make him right, it does unfortunately make you vulnerable. 

NOTE: Questions on this page have been edited for length, grammar, and confidentiality.  All material on this website is copyrighted to Marie G. McIntyre.  All rights reserved.

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    Marie G. McIntyre, Ph.D.

    Marie McIntyre has more than twenty years’ experience in career coaching and organizational development. She has held management positions in both business and government, including Director of Human Resources in a Fortune 500 company.

    Marie writes the weekly syndicated advice column, “Your Office Coach”, which appears in newspapers throughout the U.S. & Canada.  She also writes a monthly Career Commentary for and serves as a workplace expert for Business Management Daily.  Marie conducts webinars on a variety of topics related to leadership development and career success.

    As a consultant, Marie has assisted a wide variety of organizations, including Cisco, The Home Depot, Tyson Foods, the Federal Reserve, AT&T, Walgreens, Macy’s, and Habitat for Humanity. She has experience in working with business, government, and non-profit groups.

    Marie is the author of two books, “Secrets to Winning at Office Politics” &“The Management Team Handbook”.  She is frequently quoted in business publications, including Fortune, Forbes, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal.