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

Intentionally Left Out

Dear Sue: I work closely with about half a dozen other women in a laboratory. I know that I don't have to be buddies with all of them, and I don't really need to spend more time with them, but one of the women is particularly rude to me.

This woman had a bridal shower in her home for another coworker who was getting married. She handed out the invitations at work to everyone but me, and instructed everyone not to talk about it in front of me since I wasn't invited. Of course word got out, and I heard everyone talking about it. I didn't say anything even though I was upset.

I know she knew I found out because someone wrote it on a public calendar and it was impossible to miss. This is just one example of her rude behavior. How can I continue to work with her when she is this way?

 - Excluded     

Sue Says: I am sorry you have been excluded, and am sure it isn't easy to go to work with your head held high each day, but that is exactly what you need to do. I don't know why you are being excluded or happen to be the target of this woman's rude behavior, but you may want to try to find out.

Since she knows you know about the shower, why don't you ask her about it? Let her know that you don't feel you need to be included in every social gathering, but that you would like to know why you were the only one not invited to the bridal shower. When you acknowledge what she is doing and ask for an explanation, she will be forced to think about her actions, and be held accountable.

She may even view you differently as a result. Even if things don't change, keep in mind that you've said you don't need to spend more time with your coworkers and that it isn't that important to you, so don't allow yourself to devote too much time fretting about it.

Dear Sue: I am currently working as a professional placement recruiter. I like helping people find careers because I know how important it was to me when I was without one. I also like meeting with and developing relationships with business owners. My problem is with the sales aspect of my job. I am beginning to feel the first symptoms of burnout. The stress is affecting my personal life and my health.

I've been doing some volunteer work for a local cable station and I absolutely Love this job. Although I am not getting paid, the experience is great. I would love to be able to spend more time at the station, but it is new and I don't think they can afford to pay me to do what I love. Ironically, they have been offered me a job to work for them selling! Some sound advice would be appreciated. 

- Ricky     

Sue Says: I think there are two issues you are dealing with; one is the concept of leaving what you've been doing to pursue something new and exciting, and the other is finding a way to deal with the burn out and stress you are feeling. In a sense, the two go together; you may be feeling burned out because of the new found energy you have discovered by working at the cable station.

It is not uncommon to become disillusioned with any job after a period of time. Tasks can become mundane, and things that once felt challenging suddenly become stressful. You need to determine specifically what it is that is burning you out in order to do something about it. Is the sales aspect of your job something you can hire someone else to do? Is there a different approach you can take in your sales to decrease the stress you feel? Is there someone you can talk to?

Because there are aspects of your job you still enjoy, don't be too quick to leave this job; chances are there will be new stresses in any other position you take on. Continue to volunteer at the cable company while you work on what is bothering you.

If you can determine just what is burning you out you may be able to do something about it and ultimately make the decision that is best for you.

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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