The Top Ten Workplace Turkeys

  1. The one who always orders the most expensive menu items when everyone is “just splitting” the bill.
  2. The too-fond-friend of cologne.
  3. The one who did away with donuts as a required meeting snack.
  4. The supervisor who tries so hard to “relate” that he or she forgets to “supervise”.
  5. The over-sharer.
  6. The one who does not have the common courtesy to say “good morning” back to you.
  7. Anyone who does not love “I Love Lucy”.
  8. The one who makes his or her own problem become everyone else’s, too.
  9. The one who misuses the microwave, does not clean it and/or heats up unacceptably smelly “food” items.
  10. The one who does not share Evil Skippy at Work with friends and colleagues.

Please feel free to add to this list that I first posted four years ago— and happy (U.S.) Thanksgiving week to you all.

Evil Skippy and/or Jim are available to speak at your conferences and seminars! For information or to send a question for Evil Skippy to answer, use the “Contact” link on the left sidebar.

Evil Skippy’s Top Ten Tips For New Supervisors

Dear Evil Skippy:

I have been selected for a promotion and will soon become a supervisor.  I will be supervising a few people who have become workplace buddies over the past few years and one person who has become a good friend outside of the workplace.  I have two questions.  First, should I try to have my friend moved to another department so our friendship won’t be affected by our new working dynamic?  Second, what is your general advice for me as I embark on this new role?  I have never been a supervisor.  My manager says they will send me to training later in the year – but for now, any help will be appreciated.

—  Excited and Nervous

[Read more…]

My Manager Banned “TGIF”

imagesDear Evil Skippy:

I supervise a unit of twenty people in a professional office. A new manager just took over our division and she has some ideas that are making a lot of us roll our eyes. The latest is that she has forbidden anyone from saying “TGIF” or using the phrase in emails or other messages. She says that making a big deal about the fact that it is Friday creates “negative energy” because it implies people would rather not have to be at work. She has told me to instruct people not to use the phrase, coach anyone who “slides” and move on to discipline if they fail to comply. What is your reaction to all this? What would you do?

– Supervisor

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How Do I Get My Co-Workers To Invite Me To Thanksgiving Dinner?

images-195Dear Evil Skippy:

I moved to Chicago in the summer of 2013 and did not know a soul in town. At my then-new workplace, a couple of co-workers mentioned several times that they like to “adopt orphans” for Thanksgiving dinner. I dropped lots of hints about being an orphan for the holidays but did not receive a single dinner invitation and ended up having soup at home. The same co-workers have already mentioned their “orphan tradition” this year. I can’t make it home for Thanksgiving and would love not eating alone. How would you wrangle an invitation if you were in my place? These co-workers can be dense.

– M.L.

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My Manager Distrusts My Employee Because His Dog Hates Her

images-194Dear Evil Skippy:

My manager hosted a party at his house to thank his departments for a successful sales campaign. One of the employees who reports to me attended the party and did not make a good impression on my manager because of the way my manager’s dog reacted to her. Although the dog did not seem to have a problem with anyone else attending, he growled at my employee every time he saw her. She tried to laugh it off and said the dog must have known she was not a big fan of pets.

A few days later, my boss started asking pointed questions about my employee’s performance, sales figures and job history. (She’s worked here for just over a year and is doing fine – not a superstar, but fine.) He told me “confidentially” that if his dog does not trust someone, it is a “sign”. He said he can’t trust this employee and wants to make sure that I do not assign her to work on any sensitive projects. I could tell he was not joking.

I’m not going to start treating my employee differently, but I’m nervous about the manager. What should I do?

– In The Middle

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Evil Skippy’s Top Ten Reference Checks

Supervisors and human resources professionals often ask me how to spot a fake resume. My first response is to check references and whenever I mention references, memorable past background checks come to my mind.  (It beats thinking about real work).   Here they are.  Enjoy.  Share.  Tweet.  Whatever.

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Should I Rank My Employee With A Great Attitude As “Needs Improvement” or “Satisfactory”?

Dear Evil Skippy –

I supervise four people and do their evaluations each year. I just submitted a draft evaluation for one of my employees, who happens to be my worst performer.   I work more with Jack (not his real name) than anyone. It is mainly related to things he should already know how to do, or things that he should have done correctly that we are re-doing. Sometimes I have trouble doing my own work because I am focused on him.

Although Jack is not a great performer, he has a great attitude. I know he is trying his best and that he wants to pull his weight. Because he has a great attitude, I want to give him a “Satisfactory” ranking for overall performance.   My manager disagrees and is insisting that I give Jack a “Needs Improvement.” This seems unfair since my manager does not monitor performance. He should defer to me because I have first-hand knowledge of how Jack does his job. I also know that anything less than “Satisfactory” will be a big blow to Jack. I need to keep his morale up if there is to be any chance of improving his performance.

Here’s what I want – some “magic words” to tell my boss so he will let me give the evaluation the way that I think is best.


Struggling for Power

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My Supervisor Told Me To Ignore Jokes About My Height

Dear Evil Skippy –

I work in a department with six other co-workers and my supervisor. I am the only woman in the department. I am just over six feet tall. My supervisor and co-workers are all 5’7” or less. I was very self-conscious about being so tall when I was in high school and college, but over the years have gotten over the periodic stares and stupid comments.   Recently, one of my co-workers started referring to our team as “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”. It began as a single comment at a conference (it got a big laugh – including from me). My co-worker won’t let it go and keeps using the phrase. It is no longer funny to me and I told my supervisor that the “joke” is getting on my nerves. He said that I should just ignore the comments.   Am I being too sensitive? After all, my supervisor is being called a dwarf and he does not seem bothered.

- Not Laughing

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