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

Getting a Raise

Dear Sue: I am an honest, genuine person and for 4 years I've put my heart and soul into the small company I work for. I've done many things to help the company grow, and have always received glowing reviews from our clients. However, I have never received an increase in my salary.

Each time I've asked my boss for a raise she says that she can't afford it. I know the company has done well financially and I am able to provide her with documentation of the many accomplishments and contributions I have made.

I am thinking of leaving because of this. Is there anything else I can do? 

- CB

Sue Says: Yes. Tell your boss everything you have told me, including the fact that you are thinking of leaving. It may motivate her to come through with the raise you've been asking for, but if it doesn't, you will be assured that you are doing the right thing by looking for employment elsewhere.

Dear Sue: I work in fairly young and growing mid-sized company. The department I work in has gone through many changes and I am one of the few who still remain.
The most recent team was assembled by a woman who set up systems, put the team in place and then moved on to another challenge. Her team remains, and now everyone is wondering who will take her place.

This team is composed of many hormonal and emotional women. They all worked together before they came to this company. I feel outnumbered at times and have a huge challenge getting all of them to agree, listen and think in a positive manner.

One woman already is acting as if the position is hers. It turns out that she is the best friend of the ex-manager and the ex-manager has asked all of us not to tell the friend that she is not the "chosen" successor. This is so common in business. Why aren't people more direct and honest? 

- Female, direct and honest

Sue Says: People who have a hard time telling it like it is rarely see themselves as dishonest. It's just easier for them to tell others what they want to hear and avoid any potential negative confrontation. However, I assume what you really want to know is why WOMEN aren't more direct and honest. Your letter isn't the first I have received citing the challenges of women working together, and I sense that is the crux of your problem.

Not all women bring their hormones and emotions to the workplace, but enough men and women do to create a few challenges. The only thing you can do is to remain in control of your own emotions and refuse to let other women (or people) get the best of you.

Dear Sue: I've been in a management position for over a year. I replaced someone who was here for many years and micromanaged every department. That's not my style and there have been some adjustment problems as a result.

Several people who have been here for a number of years want to meet without me to formulate a plan to work better together. Am I being naive in thinking that is what they are really doing or am I being paranoid thinking they're going to turn against me? 

- Paranoid

Sue Says: You say there have been some adjustment problems. Are you the cause of the problems?

Rather than being paranoid and second-guessing the intentions of every person and meeting, I suggest you do what you can to get involved and become a part of the team. Do some digging, ask a few questions and determine what you need do to ease the tension and improve the situation.

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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