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Ask Sparky

October 7, 2013

SparkyDear Sparky: We’ve got a big problem in our office and we need your help. Even though we’re not a huge unit we’re divided into camps, and the members of the two camps basically hate each other. At this point, I don’t think we even remember how it all started... Any ideas on how we can come together? And don’t tell me to sit down and talk with the rival camp because I hate them! Signed, Divided in Dorchester

Dear Divided: First off, I feel your pain. There are a lot of folks who make me growl at the very sight of them—the mailman, for example. What is he doing here again???  But let’s be honest. It is no fun to work someplace where everyone hates one another. In fact, a war at work makes it virtually impossible for you and your colleagues to work together. And I can only think of one individual whom a situation like that could possibly benefit. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? That’s right—the boss. When you spend all of your time fighting over whose bagel caught on fire in the microwave, that’s time you’re not spending figuring out how to make your workplace better. When contract negotiations roll around, I’m sure your boss can “smell” your divisions at the bargaining table—I know I could. So start by focusing on what you all have in common. And yes, I’m going to suggest that you extend an olive branch to your coworkers—or better yet, a bone. Sparky