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Ask Sue
A Weekly Q&A Column About Professionalism, Etiquette and Problems in the Workplace
by Sue Morem

Complaining Coworker

Dear Sue: The person who follows my shift is making petty complaints about me. My supervisor has no problem with the things this coworker is complaining about, but it still bothers me to have these things in writing. I donít want to duplicate his behavior, because it accomplishes nothing, but I donít like being made to look bad either. How do I deal with this?

- Frustrated

Sue says: Aside from talking with your supervisor and the employee who is complaining, to determine the real problem, if you are concerned about looking bad, think about things you can do to compensate and make yourself look good. Some people are impossible to pleaseóand donít forget, the more you react to others, the more of a reaction they will seek from you. Sometimes the best reaction is no reaction at all.

Dear Sue: I went back to work because my husband was laid off. I was upfront with my boss, and told him that my husband was unemployed. However, although I told him when my when my husband finally got a new job, I didnít tell him he was let go after only two months.

Iíve just been offered a new position within the department I am in. I donít know what kind of raise I will receive, but I wonder if it would be higher if they knew my husband was without a job again. I know my boss will eventually ask how my husbands new job is going, and I am not sure what I should I say.

- Hiding the truth

Sue Says: Unless your husband has asked you keep quiet, I canít think of any reason you should hide the truth. Sooner or later, it will come out, so you may as well be the one who decides when.

You were promoted because of your track record and ability, not your husbandís employment status. The raise you receive should be commensurate with others in similar positions; focus on yourself and your work, and leave your husband out of it.

Sue Morem is a professional speaker, trainer and syndicated columnist. She is author of the newly released 101 Tips for Graduates and How to Gain the Professional Edge, Second Edition. You can contact her by email at or visit her web site at

Send Sue your questions by clicking here: Ask Sue
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