Free Press Journal

Agony Aunt helps you to deal with workplace problems


Bossing around

I am working at a clinic and am enjoying my work. The only issue I have there is with my colleague who is three years my senior. She emphasises the seniority in such a subtle way that it becomes difficult to call her out on that behaviour. With the seniority, she is already on good terms with others. She will make sure to that I realise that I have come after her and hold lesser importance as compared to her. I am trying to work things out with her but things are getting too difficult for me. I don’t want to end up in any fights with her and sour the whole workplace environment.

Ans: The workplace environment does need to be amicable to function without much of stress. The current scenario is putting you at a disadvantage both morale wise as well ego-wise. You are trying hard to settle things with your colleague but to no avail, thus putting some restraint here could help. The more you try, more it might become an option for her to emphasise her superiority. You are going to a workplace to attend to work and be productive and if one relationship is taking up so much time, your priorities do need a check. You can individually establish your equation with others without worrying constantly as to how the senior colleague will behave.

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Asking awkward questions

I am working at a very big law firm. I get to interact with a lot of clients every day. There are certain personal questions in my mind that I know my seniors would be able to answer because of their experience. Also, my family asks me to ask my seniors certain questions that they have too. I feel very awkward and cannot bring myself to ask them these questions because it might be unprofessional. Even trying makes me very awkward because it makes me feel like I am taking undue advantage. What should I do? 

Ans: The idea of asking them certain questions is to get clarification on the doubts you have. If discussing this with them helps you gain a better perspective, then there seems to be no harm. They are professionals and are likely to treat your queries as a professional one if you initiate that professionalism. It will not appear to be taking undue advantage just because you work there. It be your learning and gaining knowledge from the experts even if it happens to be your personal questions.

Disinterest in work

I have had two jobs before my current one. I have noticed a pattern: I love the job for the first three months. However, after that, I lose interest and motivation to work. Once I get to the office, I feel fine and can work properly. However, getting to work and finding the motivation to be interested in what I am doing is getting harder. I am doing the job that is perfect for me and I really like it, but still, this is happening. What do you think is the reason and what should I do? 

Ans: It is important to understand this pattern in detail as it merely cannot be disinterest in the work. Look for the signs of disinterest as to where it begins from: the boss, the nature of work, the colleagues, the speed of the work, teamwork if present and the team members etc. It is essential that you find the start point so that you can tackle with it the moment it arises. At present the job is something you like, be observant and see when the dip begins in the motivation. If you keep a track of your daily progress, it might help you find reason as well.

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I’m working at an up and coming start-up. I love my job and am always ready to take up new assignments and projects. This keeps me very busy all the time. I have started realising that my co-workers and juniors are behaving very differently and I think I know why. Whenever they come to me for help I am always caught up in work which is why I am unable to help them. They view me as being selfish and mean and my juniors think I am unreliable in terms of helping them out. Although I do try to help them in a group. I cannot help them individually. What do I do so that they think otherwise? 

Ans: The underlying feeling of guilt is very strong at the moment and acting on this feeling might not be appreciated by people who need help. You require a balance between the two roles: your work profile and your equation with co-workers and juniors. Set out some time each day between your work where you can go talk to your co-workers and juniors and help them if required. This could help you establish your relationship with them without you coming across as an arrogant or a selfish individual.