DEAR HARRIETTE: I recently started a new job, and I am trying to get acclimated. I feel like there is a lot of competition going on. From my first day, there's this woman who seems to have it out for me. I can feel her watching me, but whenever I try to speak to her, she looks away. We don't have similar jobs, so I'm not sure what that's all about. Most of the staff has worked there for years, so I'm really the newbie. I want to make inroads and feel comfortable. How can I do that? -- Newbie, Detroit
DEAR NEWBIE: Think about each of your co-workers. Can you identify anybody with whom you have established a friendly exchange? If so, start with that person -- be friendly and attentive. At the same time, do your best to engage everyone. Greet them warmly with eye contact and a friendly, "Good morning." Even if they do not respond, continue to be gracious.
As far as the woman who currently treats you in a contentious way, be rigorously kind to her. Do not give in to her negativity. You do not need to attempt conversation with her. Just greet her with a smile. If you have to work directly with her, be professional and pleasant. You may learn what her grudge is over time.
It takes time to build bonds with people. If you remain anchored in doing your best as you continue to be positive and friendly, you will be doing all that you can toward forging a positive future there.