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Agony Aunt helps you to deal with workplace problems

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The silent victim

I have been working with a marketing firm for 3 years now. Recently, a new employee has come into a senior position to me. He often hits on me and touches me inappropriately, making me feel extremely uncomfortable. I am afraid of losing my job if I report it as he could easily have me fired as the boss is fond of him. Due to this, I am constantly uncomfortable at work and feel demotivated, what do I do?

Ans: Working under constant pressure of keeping yourself safe might lead to poor work performance and later problems from the boss. Thus, if the work environment isn’t suitable to you, you need to bring it to the notice of the management. If they do not consider it to be serious enough, you may need to look out for a better working space where there are work ethics in place. If you are afraid of losing your job if you stand up for yourself then the current workplace will always be an uncomfortable place to be in.


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The quality of ‘Time’

I am a 49-year-old working at a reputed post in a well-known company. The company recently hired a new person who is now my boss. He is 12 years my junior but with a stellar career graph. My work load is taken care of by him and I get more free time now. I am unable to utilise that productively as I worry about the work. What can I do to not feel low?

Ans: You mentioned having free time at hand which you fail to use productively, maybe you can start by listing down few activities that you always wanted to do but never had the time for. You may also use this time to learn new skills at work from the new boss so as to improve upon your existing skill set. You have been working for so many years and it is natural to experience certain level of loss and insecurity but looking at the brighter side, you can prioritise other things now in a much better way.

Cultural shock!

I joined my current workplace through a recommendation given by a very good friend of mine. I joined with a lot of enthusiasm but after joining it seemed to me that I have been thrown into a completely different work culture. In my previous work place there were hardly people around me who would smoke and even if they did, they would step out. This place has an open culture where the boss is also smoking within the office premises and so are the employees. People talk during the smoke break and socialise and since I don’t, it’s becoming difficult to adjust. Last week just for the sake of it I tried smoking one cigarette and ended up coughing and making a fool of myself. What should I do?

Ans: Changing yourself to fit into the work environment is giving up on some values that you hold dear to yourself. If smoking doesn’t suit you well indulging in it might lead to complications than solutions. Try and initiate conversations with people who do not smoke so as to at least begin with knowing the colleagues. Let others also take an initiative to get to know you better.

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When it’s you vs team

I work with a team of 8 members and I am second in command. The team is not really hard working and gives me a lot of grief when it comes to completing the task. I am responsible for the final work output hence need to be ever present in the office. Due to long work hours, my social life is at stake. I prefer working from early morning and wind up by evening so as to allot time to my personal life. The team believes in coming in late and staying late in the office to show that they are working hard by staying up late. I am caught in a fix here. 

Ans: Since it’s you v/s them situation here, it is important to consider your personal wellbeing which is being hampered in the process. See if you can request for an internal transition or intervention of your superior in this matter to help you lead the team effectively. And if you can exert your second in command position benefits, then do try to set a protocol that is maintained by all in terms of getting work done and in the process if you have to be strict, then be so. in order to create a good balance, it is important to bring about radical changes at the earliest.