How to Handle 5 Tricky Situations with Coworkers


Many of us see our coworkers more often than we do our significant others, and when you spend that much time with anyone, the occasional uncomfortable scenario is inevitable. “It's common for tricky situations to emerge in the workplace,” says Lori Scherwin, founder of career firm Strategize That. “In all situations, you have the ability to choose how you interpret it."

"Attitude matters, so keep a positive one,” Scherwin says. And take a moment to get your feelings in check before responding—you'll want to make sure you respond to the situation objectively and not emotionally. Then, follow this expert advice to handle the unpleasantness gracefully.


Let’s say you’re working on a project and your teammate drops the ball on a specific task. Your boss asks what happened and—perhaps out of panic—your colleague points to you.

It’s tempting to take the confrontational or defensive route and snap back at your coworker, but that can backfire. In this scenario you want to accomplish two things: Let your boss know you’re not to blame and let your coworker know he or she can’t get away with that manipulative behavior. “Most bosses are not stupid. For the most part, they know who is the one performing and who is the one taking the easy route,” says Branigan Robertson, an employee rights attorney.

Still, you may want to clear the air and it’s probably best to simply be direct. Robertson suggests approaching your coworker with a calm but authoritative suggestion. He suggests saying something along the lines of, “Hey, I’m not sure what’s going on but the boss is blaming me for this. This was your job. Let’s go to his office and clear this up so he knows we’re working [to correct things] as soon as possible."

By making it known that you're hip to your coworker's finger-pointing, he or she will be less likely to pass the blame in the future. If it does happen again, though, it might be time for a conversation with your boss. Just make sure you keep the meeting quick, professional, and blameless. Make it about a misunderstanding rather than an issue with your colleague, Robertson says.

Of course, there’s throwing you under the bus and then there’s bullying. If the situation is more severe, you may have to take further action. “If it becomes overly toxic or inappropriate, keep a paper trail and raise the issue immediately,” Scherwin says. “Everyone deserves to be treated with respect—so advocate for yourself.”


Hopefully you're not losing any sleep over lunch theft, but it can be frustrating if your food mysteriously disappears from the office kitchen. Robertson suggests leaving a public note or sending an email blast out to the entire department. He recommends keeping things light to begin with:

Dear Whoever Stole My Lunch,

I hope you really enjoyed my sandwich. Next time you are hungry, please let me know who you are so I can bring in a second sandwich and share it with you. I don’t like hungry coworkers.

If the scenario is truly egregious (it's happening every day, or you have specific dietary requirements), Robertson says you should skip the note and take it up with a manager or someone in HR. “If anyone is acting unethically— in any situation, whether in job tasks or stealing food—raise it with someone who can get it taken care of. Bad behavior should never be tolerated, regardless of how major or not it seems.”

This is about more than just a missing yogurt, Robertson says, it's about office culture. “It is critically important to work in an environment where people trust one another. It's all about character—so if you see someone acting out of line consistently, raise the issue.”


Workplace gossip is especially awkward when it comes from your boss. Not in the least because it may cause you to wonder what is said about you behind your back—and how that might affect your future with the company. Whatever the reason for the discomfort, you want to stop gossip and complaining in its tracks, even when it comes from the top.

You can approach the situation with either of two methods: zero affirmation or redirection. With zero affirmation, you resist responding to the gossiper's bait. “Never agree with them,” Scherwin suggests. “Keep a neutral footing. Complaining is contagious—do your part in stopping it in its course.”

If they don’t take the hint, politely try to redirect the conversation, Robertson suggests. “If your boss comes into your office and starts gossiping about one of your coworkers, quickly interrupt him or her and say, ‘Oh c’mon boss, you’re not paying me to chit chat about Paula’s love life, can we talk about tomorrow's meeting? I need your direction on how to present the numbers.”

It’s important to end the conversation as soon as you can. The longer your boss continues to gossip, the harder it is to nip it in the bud. And when you ask about a task, you shift the conversation’s direction back to work.


Some companies are completely transparent about salary and benefit information, but many aren’t. So a question about your pay may put you in an awkward position. While sharing this information is legal in most cases, Scherwin suggests first considering what could be lost or gained by doing so. “Personal and sensitive information can get misconstrued if shared and can unnecessarily create hostility,” she says. “On the flip side, it can give you ammo to negotiate for more.”

Only share when there’s trust, confidentiality, and you’re comfortable with how the information will be used, Scherwin says.


It’s frustrating when a colleague piggybacks on all your hard work. You may feel petty for wanting the credit, but it's reasonable to seek recognition when you've put time and effort into a project. The best way to keep this behavior at bay is to keep a record of your tasks.

“Keep an e-mail record and be on guard with this coworker,” Scherwin says. “Take responsibility for sending the final product to the boss. Make sure you are actively discussing your ideas and progress across your organization so your role is clear before it's too late.”

As with trying to pass the buck, most bosses know what’s going on and may be more aware of the situation than you realize. Still, it can help to keep them updated on your progress. “Stay in communication with the person you want credit from [while you work]," Robertson says. "Tell them about what you are doing while you do it.”

This way, not only will your boss know the truth if a coworker tries to take credit for your work down the road, but if your coworker does take credit, your boss will see right through it and the situation will take care of itself.

Stickier, though, is your boss taking credit for your work. This may be a sign that your boss feels threatened by you; a confident manager typically has no problem supporting their team. “They may only be looking out for themselves and not be giving you as much ‘air time’ with senior management which would help you get future promotions,” Scherwin says. “Alternatively, they may also not even realize that this is impacting you. Always handle tricky boss conversations maturely. Take the emotion out of it. Rather than getting upset and demanding more credit, simply tell them you enjoy what you are doing and want more visibility, and ask them to work with you to make that happen.”

In other words, you want to make your manager part of the solution, she adds, rather than make it seem like they’re a problem. Workplace scenarios can be tricky to navigate and that seems to be the answer for most of these: Focus less on the problem and more on the solution and you’ll be on your way to a congenial workplace.

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job secrets
9 Behind-the-Scenes Secrets of Hollywood Body Doubles
Hugh Jackman and his Real Steel body double, Taris Tyler
Hugh Jackman and his Real Steel body double, Taris Tyler
Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

When you see the back of an actor’s head in a movie, it may not be the actor you think it is. In addition to stunt performers, most movies employ body doubles (or photo doubles) with a passing resemblance to the principal actors. While some body doubles are brought on set for specific skills—like helping an actor pass as a professional athlete—the job can often involve just being a body, whether that means being nude on camera, having photogenic hands, or appearing in place of actors who can’t be on set for some reason. Here are nine secrets of the job:


Body double Danielle Sepulveres has played the hands of other actors in plenty of roles in her career, on TV and in beauty commercials featuring close-up shots of her holding moisturizer or makeup. She’s drizzled dressing on salad in place of Brooke Shields. She regularly slides files across tables, makes lists, and pours wine in the place of actresses on The Good Wife. (She has also played Jill Flint's butt on the show.) “I knew only glimpses of my hands might make it into a shot, or part of my shoulder along with a wisp of hair,” she wrote of one of her jobs in Good Housekeeping in 2016. But she overheard the director complaining that her wrists looked “vastly different” than those of the principal actress in the movie, 2015’s Mania Days. “Luckily, I didn't get fired in spite of my wrists, but I wouldn't have been surprised had it happened.”


Yes, body doubles are often brought in if an actor doesn’t want to bare it all on camera. But they are hired for other reasons, too. For one thing, union rules mandate the actors get 12 hours off between when they leave set for the day and their next call time, so if the shoots are running long, the crew might employ someone else to stand in. Other times, it's a matter of particular talents. Most actors may be able to sing, dance, and cry on camera, but few also have the athletic skills to allow them to pass as a sports legend. In Battle of the Sexes (2017), Emma Stone plays Billie Jean King, one of the best tennis players of all time. To realistically represent King’s skills on the court, the movie makers brought in tennis doubles to play in place of Stone and her co-star, Steve Carell. Stone’s double was chosen for her playing style, which resembled King’s, and worked with King on-set to perfect her imitation. The effort was, according to The Wall Street Journal, a huge success. “Not only is the tennis believable, it’s a meticulous representation of the type of tennis played in that era: serve and volley, chipping and charging to the net, touch volleys and soft hands.”


When you are tasked with choosing a celebrity doppelgänger, you’ve got to keep egos in mind. “The choice reflects on the principal actor,” DeeDee Ricketts, the casting director for Titanic, told Vanity Fair in 2016. “We have to take into consideration that they can’t be too thin, or more beautiful, or too heavy, or too old, or else the principal actor will think, That’s how they see me?” Actors often get to give input on who will be their double, and sometimes have final approval rights written into their contracts. When she was being considered for the job of Janet Leigh's body double in Psycho's iconic shower scene, model and Playboy covergirl Marli Renfro had to strip down for both Alfred Hitchcock and Leigh herself so that they could make sure her body looked enough like Leigh's, as Renfro recently revealed at a Brooklyn screening of the documentary 78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene. In the case of nude scenes, actors might even have final approval on what physical moves their doubles are allowed to make.


If you’re working as an actor’s double, by definition, you’re not going to have scenes with them, and so some body doubles never meet the stars they’re pretending to be. Danish actor Elvira Friis, who worked as a body double for Charlotte Gainsbourg (and her character’s younger self, played by Stacy Martin) during the racier scenes of Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac (2013), never met the actor. “The closest I got to Charlotte Gainsbourg was that I was wearing her dress,” Friis told The Wall Street Journal.


But how much time an actor spends with their doppelgänger really depends on the role. Some actors spend plenty of time with their doubles on set helping them get into the role. In What Happened to Monday (2017), Noomi Rapace plays the roles of seven identical sisters, making body doubles a necessity on set. Rapace helped direct her doubles during filming, “as they needed to know how the star would play the scene for each character so that it would sync up when she performed the part herself,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. Game of Thrones star Lena Headey (who plays Cersei) worked closely with her double Rebecca Van Cleave for a nude scene in the show’s fifth season finale. Headey walked Van Cleave through her character’s thinking and movements for each shot. Then, Headey did the same performance herself, wearing a beige dress that could later be edited out. In the final product, Headey’s facial expressions were merged with Van Cleave’s nude body.


Because body doubles are often only seen from the back or side, they may not look quite as much like their acting counterpart as you’d think. Brett Baker, who worked as Leonardo DiCaprio’s body double for Titanic, is several inches shorter than DiCaprio and seven years older. From the front, you wouldn’t peg him as a Jack Dawson lookalike. But with the same clothes and haircut, shot from above and behind, he passed easily as DiCaprio. Once Leo’s closeups were done, according to Vanity Fair, Baker was often brought in to stand opposite Kate Winslet as she played through her half of the scene. In some cases, he didn’t make it into the final shot at all, but still had to be on set for those 14-hour days.


With the help of technology, filmmakers can put their leading actor’s face on a body double’s torso, so they don’t have to limit their body doubles to just back-of-the-head or partial shots. This allows them to seamlessly meld both the main actor and the body double’s performances in post-production. That can allow directors to get exactly the scene they want in shows like Orphan Black, which features Tatiana Maslany playing multiple roles, or in cases where actors don't want to get totally naked on-camera. In rare cases, it can also be used to bring actors back from the dead. When Paul Walker died in a car crash midway through filming Furious 7 (2015), the filmmakers used his brothers and another actor as body doubles, superimposing computer-generated images of Walker’s face on their performances. Around 260 shots featuring Walker’s doubles appeared in the final cut.


When Matt Damon was filming The Martian (2015), he wanted to lose 30 to 40 pounds to portray astronaut Mark Watney after he had been surviving on meager rations for years. But the filming schedule made that impossible, so a body double had to be brought in for some shots. “I was going to lose a bunch of weight in the third act of the movie, then put the weight back on,” Damon told Maclean’s. However, as the schedule shook out, they filmed the NASA interiors in Hungary, then immediately went to Jordan, which doubled as the Red Planet for the film’s purposes, and shot all the exterior shots from the beginning, middle, and end of the movie, with no time for Damon to lose a significant amount of weight. The skinny body double isn’t on screen for long. “It was, like, two shots,” Damon describes. (Still, fans noticed.)


When it comes to nude scenes, sometimes body doubles are hired but never used. Veteran body double Laura Grady was cast as Robin Wright’s lookalike for State of Play (2009), but didn’t shoot a single scene. “I just sat in my trailer, ready to go, and then at the end, [Wright] decided to do her own scenes,” Grady told Vulture in 2014. “That happens sometimes. Sometimes they just get a body double because they think they might need one, and then all of a sudden the actress is comfortable and she’s like, ‘No, I’ll just do it.’ Or they change a scene and they don’t make it as risqué.” Don’t worry, though—the double still gets paid.

Visual Capitalist
Live Smarter
Looking for a Job? Here's the Largest Employer in Each State
Visual Capitalist
Visual Capitalist

Whether you love or hate Walmart stores, they're a vital component of America’s economy. The big box store is the top employer in nearly half of America’s 50 states, according to a new map spotted by Thrillist.

Created by Visual Capitalist, a Canadian media and news firm, the graphic below breaks down the nation’s largest private employers, state by state. Based on data collected by the website, it excludes state governments and military bases but includes public universities, hospitals, and airports, in addition to other businesses.

Walmart reigned supreme across the South and Midwest, with presences in states ranging from Alabama to Wyoming. Together, the map’s data suggests, Walmart hires over 1.5 million Americans, including nearly 172,000 employees in Florida alone.

Health care was also big business, with hospital services making up the brunt of the local economy in states including Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, and Minnesota. In Washington state, the airplane manufacturer Boeing dominated the local market, while MGM Resorts International employed 55,200 people in Nevada. And in both Maine and New Jersey, regional grocery chains like Hannaford Supermarkets and Wakefern Food Corporation helped locals pay the bills.

Check out the full map below.

A map of the top employers in each state, created by Visual Capitalist
Visual Capitalist

[h/t Thrillist]


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