QUESTION: I recently made a huge mistake at work. After an extremely stressful day, I expressed some very negative opinions about the company in general and my manager in particular. Because several people overheard these comments, my boss eventually found out about them.
Since then, my manager has made frequent cutting remarks about my attitude and performance, sometimes in the presence of other staff members. Is there any way to repair this disaster, or should I just look for another job?
ANSWER: If the relationship with your boss was reasonably good before this unfortunate occurrence, and if your disparaging comments weren’t too personal, then you may be able to recover. The only way to find out is to offer an honest, heartfelt apology.
For example: “Mary, I’m afraid you may have heard about some remarks I made when I was feeling very stressed. I was dealing with a difficult project and said some things I truly did not mean. I want you to know that I really respect and appreciate you, so I hope you will accept my apology and disregard those stupid comments.”
Having expressed your regret, stop talking and wait for your boss’s reaction. With any luck, she will say that all is forgiven, but if she’s still upset, you may have to reiterate your remorse. After that, you just need to become the most pleasant, supportive employee your manager has ever met.
Q: The business I joined eleven months ago was recently purchased by a Fortune 500 company. Since then, the starting pay for new hires has increased significantly. However, no similar adjustment has been made to my own salary, nor have I received any other type of pay increase.
I never mentioned these concerns because I was applying for a promotion and did not want to rock the boat. Now the promotion has gone to someone else, and I’m beginning to feel angry and unappreciated. I believe that management is taking advantage of me.
Although I am presently seeking other employment, I would still like to increase my cash flow. How should I address these pay issues?
A: Let’s take a moment to consider the bigger picture. The vast majority of new employees do not receive salary increases or promotions during their first year, so you may be suffering from unrealistic expectations. If that’s your primary reason for jumping ship, perhaps you should reconsider.
Also, your narrow focus on pay may have caused you to overlook an important fact. As a result of this acquisition, you have actually joined another company without changing jobs. In a large corporation, you may find opportunities and career paths which did not previously exist.
Acquisitions typically include a detailed process for “mapping” existing employees into the pay scale of the acquiring company. Your human resources manager should be able to explain the post-acquisition pay structure and correct any inadvertent errors.
Finally, remember that corporate rewards are generally given to those viewed positively by management. So if you are hoping for raises and promotions, you will need to let go of your anger and resentment.
Marie G. McIntyre is a workplace coach and the author of “Secrets to Winning at Office Politics.” Send in questions and get free coaching tips at http://www.yourofficecoach.com, or follow her on Twitter officecoach.