Q: A group of guys who think sports are everything and football is king rule our workplace. During the Super Bowl season, the rest of us listen to football banter all day long.
I've never minded their jock attitude until last week. All week long, the rest of us heard how they're furious that Penn State fired Joe Paterno instead of letting him finish his career with dignity.
They totally don't get the point, that this man didn't do more when he learned his assistant coach molested eight young boys. I can't stand it. I was repeatedly molested by my brother growing up and my mom kept silent because she didn't want to believe it was happening. I avoid the break room but the guys voice their opinions in team meetings and in the office next to me.
I put up with this for several days and then went to my boss, asking that he step in. He told me to calm down, that my co-workers had the right to their opinions and said it would all die down in a week. I need some help here.
A: The Penn State situation hit a nerve for you and your co-workers' views ripped a scab off a wound.
You have three options. You can tune out your boss and co-workers, realizing they're clueless. After all, you don't have to fight every battle.
You can tell your boss the truth -- the present discussion rubs salt into a still raw injury. If so, your boss may immediately quell the discussions.
Alternatively, you can seize the opportunity to heal an old wound by educating those you work with. Your childhood tragedy gave you insight that some lack. You realize that adults absolutely need to step in -- when they don't, they leave children at risk. Your co-workers don't understand that when they support Paterno's inaction, they disrespect Sandusky's victims. Let them know.
By doing so, you speak up -- which is what you wanted an adult to do many years ago.
Q: I run a small, community-based nonprofit teen program. We're blessed with hands on the board of directors. This morning I offered an applicant a job and this evening mentioned it to my board, only to learn from two board members that they considered the applicant a troublemaker. The full board discussed the situation and adamantly told me I couldn't hire the applicant.
How do I rescind a job offer?
A: Call the applicant and arrange an immediate meeting. Explain you received additional information that changed your view of the candidate's qualifications for the job. This often happens when you offer an applicant a job prior to conducting a full reference or background check because you're moving quickly to fill a vacant position.
When this happens, you need to deliver the information in person and quickly to the applicant to minimize the emotional and financial suffering a candidate experiences when a presumably solid job offer unexpectedly evaporates.
Because you created havoc for this person by prematurely making a job offer, apologize sincerely and profusely and listen to whatever the applicant says. If the applicant quit a current job to accept your offer, be prepared to offer two weeks' pay to mitigate the financial loss.
-- Lynne Curry is a management trainer, consultant and president of Alaska's The Growth Company Inc. in Anchorage. Email her at email@example.com.