Q. What is the best way to broach the subject of a pay rise? I love my job but have been offered one with more money at a similar company. I know I agreed my present salary when I accepted this job but the other company approached me and I must say their offer is too tempting to refuse. I'd be happy if I could keep my present job but at the other firm's rates.

Q. What is the best way to broach the subject of a pay rise? I love my job but have been offered one with more money at a similar company. I know I agreed my present salary when I accepted this job but the other company approached me and I must say their offer is too tempting to refuse. I'd be happy if I could keep my present job but at the other firm's rates.

A. The words "cake" and "eating it" spring to mind here. Jobs are not a kind of pick-and-mix, where you select the perfect job, pay, boss, desk position, photocopy facilities and office décor from a set of random samples. You've got less money but a good job. The other firm offers better pay but the job could well be rubbish. I admire your verve in going for a win-win but you will have to negotiate carefully or you could sound as though you are holding your present company to ransom.

Plot your case meticulously and get to grips with the behavioural style of the manager you will be hoping to persuade. He/she may well prefer the direct approach, in which case you could just tell the truth about the other offer. If not, go armed with many reasons why you deserve to earn more dosh. Make sure these are reasons that are beneficial to the company, not just that you want to book your annual 18-30 holiday in Crete.

Q. What's the big deal about wearing make-up to work? I'm a chapstick-and-Olay woman myself, but have recently been informed that I am needed to cover on reception when the girl is at lunch and that I should put some lipstick on for the occasion. Can they insist?

A. Dressing in drag was probably not in your job description and so - no, they can't really truss you up and smother you in Dewberry lipgloss. Front-line jobs like this have often traditionally meant putting an amount of slap on, but there's no need to do the full Lily Savage.

Some companies see "well-groomed" as meaning make-up for women. As an obvious lipstick wearer by choice, I would still balk at being MADE to wear it. This really boils down to your principles. If you feel demeaned by sexist demands then tell them "no" politely but firmly. If not, get glossing.

Q. I work next to a colleague who mutters to himself and shouts at his computer. I was told he does it to release stress, but I find it distracting. Should I talk to him or his boss?

A. This poor bloke is obviously under pressure so handle him with care. I do both quite happily, but only when I am working from home. Waylay him in a friendly chat over decaff coffee and tell him you understand the problems involved but that you prefer to work in a calm atmosphere and find his noise distracting.

No one can expect a library ambience in an open-plan office, but tension is catching and you don't want to inherit his stress. Try not to get aggressive because the extra pressure may well make him worse. Only speak to his boss if he gets nasty and refuses to play ball.

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