Workplace Woes ( 05/04/05 )        

Dear Zelda,

I work with two women who literally hate each other.  They are both very difficult people and hard to deal with individually, but I do get along with both of them, because I am not the confrontational type and try to get along with everyone. Granted, we have had disagreements, but we have gotten over them and we go on. These two ladies will never get along, and I have never seen such hate between two people.  They are making my dream job a total nightmare.  I have gone to my supervisor, but she will not do anything about the mean things they say and do to each other. Have any suggestions other than find a new job?

Girl in the Middle  

Dear Girl in the Middle,

I hate it when cats fight. Especially when it's under my window and I'm trying to sleep. Talk about nightmares!

Don't let the cat fight in your office chase you away from your dream job. Whenever they push each other's buttons, press your delete key. They can't ?make? your dream job a nightmare without your consent. Regardless, their constant bickering can potentially take its toll on the productivity and well-being of the entire workplace. If you join forces with other bothered employees and take this problem back to your supervisor, maybe a team approach would boot your supervisor up. Before you do, however, document the facts of their disputes and how your performance, morale and motivation have been impacted. Perhaps if you begin by pointing out to your supervisor the benefits of a copasetic workplace (higher productivity, less sick time, etc.), she will be more likely to perk up her ears.

Until your supervisor works magic and gets the gals to settle down, you can be figuring out how to add some frivolity to the mix. When you're around these women, smile big and be fun-loving. Slip them some Dilbert cartoons or a copy of Zelda's Survival Guide . Get them laughing . Humor can soften any hate. If your supervisor continues to miss the message, forward it over to the Human Resources Department. Since conflict is a catalyst for change maybe one of them will simply up and quit, be transferred, or be fired. In the meantime, be prepared. You never know when you might have to separate those two cats yourself!

Zelda

Dear Zelda,

Why do you think some bosses don't realize that spending time with your family is infinitely more important than living at the office?

Not Gung Ho for This Work  

Dear Not Gung Ho,

Some bosses are a piece of work! Their job can easily become a passion, purpose, hobby and haven. Your boss has a problem and apparently is trying to share it with you. Work addiction typically fulfills some inner need. You need to communicate quite clearly that your time is your own (and your family's) when your work shift ends. An addiction to work and avoidance of meaningful human relationships is something the boss should discuss with a shrink, not inflict on you. But if your boss is trying to turn you into a robot too, remember that you do have rights under the law, which the National Association of Working Women ( www.9to5.org ) will gladly explain to you. Give their toll-free Job Survival Hotline (1-800-522-0925) a call. Don't be apologetic about wanting time for a personal life. Work-life balance is your right, not a privilege. You might want to remind your boss that when making choices in life, your boss should not neglect to live?and neither should you.

Zelda 

Dear Zelda,

I would love to work in an animal welfare organization, but most don't offer salaried positions in a business capacity.  Any ideas?

Tired of the Daily Grind  

Dear Tired,

Animal welfare? music to my ears! To me that means a soothing belly rub, followed by a snack. Maybe a snack before the belly rub, too. Not what you had in mind?

Here's my first suggestion: Don't quit your current job. But while you are looking for your ideal job, volunteer at the type of animal welfare organization that most interests you. Get to know the people who hold staff positions and ask them how your skills could be utilized or if you would need to develop additional skills. Do the best job you can as a volunteer. Even though you won't be paid, you will be noticed, hopefully by someone who can help you land that perfect job. In no time you'll be getting paid in money and in big kisses from grateful pets.

My second suggestion is that you take a look at the book Careers for Animal Lovers and Other Zoological Types by Louise Miller. She has compiled an extensive list of protective agencies and wildlife conservation and management organizations that offer salaried positions. If you are committed to the care, protection, and general welfare of animals? you're my kind of human.

Zelda