Our district was recently assigned a new sales manager. He has told my colleague and me that we don't need offices and has made no effort to re-accommodate me in any way. Is it standard policy for a company not to provide adequate working space for its employees?

Dear Molly,

Our district was recently assigned a new sales manager. He has told my colleague and me that we don't need offices and has made no effort to re-accommodate me in any way.

Is it standard policy for a company not to provide adequate working space for its employees? I asked our manager how I would make phone calls to prospect and conduct daily business. He told us to go out and just knock on doors.

I find this unprofessional, condescending and lacking sales management fundamentals. Can you offer any advice on how to move forward with this situation? --Fran

To answer your first question, no, it's not standard (or smart) not to provide adequate working space for employees.

Sometimes it's hard to make sense of seemingly counterintuitive statements and decisions made by upper management. In this particular case, it appears there might be more going on than you've realized.

Is it possible you haven't met or exceeded the expectations of your boss? If so, this could be driving his new decisions.

It's time to take an objective look at your situation to determine if you have somehow made it onto your boss' blacklist. Bosses are usually not bothered with the concerns of employees whose names reside on this list.

What's that? You've never heard of a blacklist? Pull up a chair, my friend. It's time for a little story.

Once upon a time, in a castle on a hill, there was a very busy kitchen manager named Claude. He was over-committed, over-worked and just plain strung out. The Evil Lord was putting crazy demands on him for more and more hedonistic banquet fare. Bigger cakes, more stuffed pheasant, dishes of exotic fruits -- the demands were never-ending.

In those days, resources were limited and poor Claude had to work day and night locating hunters and importers to provide the raw materials, as well as manage the cooks and workers in the kitchen. It was a 24-hour-a-day job. And if Claude failed, he might not only lose his job -- he could lose his life.

Finally, the pressure got to him and Claude started making bad management decisions. He looked for new ways -- any ways -- to improve the performance of his team to meet the unreasonable expectations of the Evil Lord. But the poor workers were doing their best, working their fingers till they bled at times. No matter to Claude.

The slowest workers upset him so much, he started a list of those he planned to have blackballed -- literally, pummeled with black balls. He'd have that done just as soon as he could find new workers to replace those on his list. And so the blacklist was created.

Interested in learning how to stay off the blacklist? Check my next Career Q&A column on Nov. 6 to read more.

Molly Luffy, MBA, is a local business coach who helps people shift from surviving to thriving at work. Send your work-related questions to molly@mollyluffy.com