Friends at Work

A reader writes…

Dear Anita,

I used to feel like I was part of a “group” with my co-workers, but ever since I got promoted to a management position; people are starting to act differently. My role has changed, but it’s not like I suddenly oversee these particular people.  What do you suppose happened, and what can I do?  I thought these were my friends.  Any suggestions?

Dear “Boss,”

In reading your question, the first thought that comes to mind is… avoid making friends at work. 
You’re there to get a job done – not to socialize.

 Then, I stopped myself and considered the fact that some of my closest friends are people I met at the office, not to mention the fact that we typically spend more time with these people than the people in our personal lives.  So, in essence, it’s important to get along with your co-workers, and it certainly creates a much more pleasant atmosphere. 

I can understand your concern and would think that you could simply address your feelings with this group by asking them, point blank, what’s going on.  Seems simple enough to me!

Without knowing you or any of the people involved, it’s a little hard to tell what may REALLY be going on.  For instance:

  • Are you flaunting your promotion and driving everyone nuts with your success?
  • Are your friends jealous?
  • Do they feel they can’t socialize with you due to your new title – and the fact that you now work more closely with others at your level?
  • Is all of this in your head?

Remember though that there always is a bit of a separation between management and the worker bees. You’re now part of the “establishment” that dictates the company culture. Especially if there are things about the company that have been pet peeves to your co-workers (e.g., no flex time, benefits could be better, etc .), those pet peeves are likely now associated with you. If you want to continue your climb up the corporate ladder, you’ve got to understand that it’s going to be tough to keep some friendships with those not climbing as fast as you.

I think your best bet is to remain professional and set aside some time after work (like a dinner or fun outing) with this group to reinitiate yourself.  By openly communicating (about your feelings, making sure not to disrespect any of your co-workers’ privacy or feelings), you’re sure to set things straight.


How to tell your boss he/she has bad breath!

A reader writes…

My boss has really bad breath! We have a good working relationship, and I don’t want to seem rude or hurt his feelings… but how can I politely let him know?

Dear “Altoids,” 

This problem stinks (literally)!  I’m sure others in your office have also noticed his case of halitosis, but nobody wants to say anything.  Here are a few suggestions:

  1. I’ve heard of a website where you can send a “virtual mint” anonymously.  Sure, receiving this information may upset or embarrass him a little – but it may also bring subtle awareness…  without getting anyone in trouble!  Here’s a link so you can check it out:
  2. You can get into the habit of having mints around – offer them to everyone (not just your boss) so it doesn’t seem that obvious.
  3. Find out what type of candy your boss likes best, then place a candy dish on your desk (with a variety of treats… including your boss’ favorite).  If anything, that may take care of the immediate problem.
  4. Bite the bullet and say something.

Hey readers… what would YOU do?

Talking too much in an interview

A reader writes…

How do you know if you’re talking too much in an interview?
Shouldn’t I sell myself? 

Dear “Chatty,” 

There’s something to be said about having an outgoing personaility and being able to “talk” to anyone, about anything. At the same time, however, talking too much can also be your biggest downfall – especially when it comes to an interview!  Here’s a mini breakdown…

  • You’ll start talking and will  have the interviewer’s full attention.
  • Within  just a few seconds,  the interviewer is already less attentive.
  • After 1 minute, the interviewer’s mind begins to wander and he’s barely paying any attention to you.  By the way, you can sometimes see this in the interviewer’s facial expression – eyes start to glaze… forehead starts to crinkle… (you know the look!)
  • By now, the interviewer has pretty much moved on and is beginning to formulate his/her next question.
  • If you’re STILL going on and on (without paying attention to these obvious cues), you’ve likely lost their attention completely by this point. 

By all means, you should do your best to “sell yourself” during an interview – but you don’t want to get carried away. Listening (and even asking questions) are essential parts of the process and reveal a lot about a candidate. As mentioned in one of my previous “Interview Tips” post:

Rule #5: LISTEN to the interviewer. We have two ears and only one mouth for a reason! You should do double the listening and keep your mouth shut when appropriate. Employers want good listeners.

A good rule of thumb is to take a good breath after each verbal “paragraph” and WATCH and LISTEN for the interviewer to break in with another question so they don’t start to feel frustrated that they can’t get a word in edgewise. If the interviewer doesn’t start to open his or her mouth to speak, you can keep going.

If anyone has any additional advice on this subject… do tell! 
Post your comments here!


Top Paying Jobs for the Class of 2011

A reader writes….

Hi Anita,

I am graduating from college in a couple of weeks with a degree in Computer Science.  While I know it’s a little “late” to switch majors, I was wondering what type of pay range I may be able to anticipate with this background.  Any input?

Dear “Bill Gates,” (he he!)

Since so many people will be graduating from college in just a few weeks, I thought it would be helpful to share an article I found from my friends at CareerBuilder that addresses the “Top Paying Jobs for the Class of 2011.”  While pay scales will definitely vary (depending on the size of the business, the scope of the job, location, skill requirements, etc), it looks like you’ll have a lot of potential with a degree in Computer Science! 

For those of you (like me) who stayed away from computers or science labs –and never stepped foot in an engineering class…  there’s still hope for decent wages!  Take a look at CareerBuilder’s list, and then be sure to review some of my previous blog posts for handy interview and résumé tips to help along the way!

Congratulations Grads!


Hello Readers,

Just a quick note….  I am taking this week off and apologize that I do not have a new “post” today. 
I have all sorts of article ideas in mind and will be cookin’ up advice for your reading enjoyment in the coming weeks.

Please keep the questions and comments flowing…  I always love hearing from you!



Anita Clew's blog posts are intended for general guidance and should never be taken as legal advice. In all instances where harassment, inequity, or unfair treatment is believed to be present, please consult your HR Department or legal representation.
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