Workplace tension builds after dustup with manager

Published 8:11 am Tuesday, April 9, 2024

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DEAR ABBY: I’m a soft-spoken person. I work in a medical laboratory, and I am finally speaking up for what I believe in (after years of social anxiety and depression). At the last meeting, when asked by the manager for suggestions to improve the lab workflow, I spoke up. 

Fast-forward to tonight. When I expressed some excitement about my idea, the site leader, a different manager, shot my idea down, saying, “It’s not going to make a difference.” This isn’t the first time she has made me feel like my ideas are dumb or that I’m not intelligent, and I snapped. I asked her what ideas SHE had, and she looked as if I offended her, but she’s done this numerous times since she came here. Meanwhile, she has her favorite person in the lab who gets away with murder. 

Was I wrong for getting upset at her? I just feel like my suggestions go unnoticed or are scoffed at, but when another person comes up with something similar, she applauds them. – HAD ENOUGH IN THE MIDWEST

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DEAR HAD ENOUGH: Blowing up at the manager may have felt good at the moment after years of silence caused by depression and social anxiety, but it was the wrong thing to do. That kind of behavior does not belong in a professional environment. Favoritism happens in many work environments, and it can be frustrating. If you can’t find a way to accept it, you might be happier working at a different lab.


DEAR ABBY: My stepdaughter has two children. She married a man who has one child, “Hayley.” They have been married four years, and Hayley turned 18 last year. We have seen her only five or six times, and she seems uninterested in getting to know us. 

The first Christmas, I went out of my way to give her gifts I thought she would enjoy as a teenager. The next Christmas, she didn’t spend any time with the family, so I sent a gift home with her dad, but never heard a word from her. 

Last year, Hayley graduated from high school and started working. Because we weren’t going to see them at Christmas, I sent the other grandchildren gifts but did not include Hayley. My stepdaughter got upset because we left Hayley out. We explained that 1. She never acknowledges the gifts we send; 2. She is now an adult; and 3. We never see her. Are we wrong not to include her? – PERPLEXED ABOUT STEPFAMILY ETIQUETTE


DEAR PERPLEXED: The answer to your question is yes and no. Hayley doesn’t appear to be a “child” who is easy to love. She has certainly given you no reason to. However, in the interest of family harmony, it was wrong to exclude her entirely. Not knowing the young woman, it would be hard to know what she might have liked to receive. Next year, send her a coffee shop gift card with a sweet note so she won’t feel she is being ignored as she has ignored you.


TO MY MUSLIM READERS: At sundown, it is time for the breaking of the Ramadan fast. Happy Eid al-Fitr, everyone. – LOVE, ABBY


Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.


What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in “What Every Teen Should Know.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)