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

Concerned Coworker

Dear Sue: I work in a professional office. A lady I work with is bubbly and outgoing, and I like her a lot, but I am bothered by the way she talks; she talks like a baby. I wonder if other people notice it as much as I do. I'm not one to be a gossip or talk behind another person's back, but I am afraid this could affect her career. I don't think other people take her seriously or view her as a professional person. I have not known her very long, so it is difficult for me to tell her that she should tone it down.

The other thing is that she has a habit of charging items to our manager's budgets. For example, we have company logo sweatshirts that we give our clients. Our manager asked her to order 10 sweatshirts to mail his client. She ordered 15 and gave the remainder out to our coworkers. We were way over budget last year on office supplies because she orders way too much stuff. She just spends the company’s money like crazy. I think she may have a real problem. I would express my concerns to our manager, but I don't want to be the tattle-tail or make my manager feel like I'm trying to take over her job. Besides, she must know what is going on.

My coworker actually wore a shirt to work last week that said "It's All About Me." I think this is accurate. If there isn't something in it for her she pouts like a baby. Please help. Not a babysitter

Sue says: Your question is interesting. You began your letter stating your desire to help your coworker, but by the end of your letter, your tone totally changed. Are you asking for help because you want to help her, or are you seeking help for yourself, because you are irritated by her?

There are several issues that seem to be bothering you. I wonder, are you this involved or concerned about other coworkers or just this one?

I understand your desire to let her know her voice minimizes her effectiveness. If you are close enough to her to talk with her so that she can change if she wants to, you could be doing her a favor. However, she may not appreciate your “helpfulness” and could be offended. For all you know, she may like her voice, and talk like a baby on purpose—maybe the results are positive for her; it may be helping her get the things she wants.

If you let her know you are concerned about her spending, she might thank you for alerting her, but there’s a good chance she might resent you for your meddling. The same is true with your manager; you don’t know if your “meddling” will be appreciated or resented.

Because there are so many variables, before you do anything, step back and think about your motives. You need to determine the real cause for your “concern.”

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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