Free Press Journal

Agony Aunt helps you to deal with workplace problems


I am a 26-year-old recent MBA graduate and model and DJ on the side. I got employed with a MNC recently. My boss who is a mid-40’s, highly accomplished woman has been making passes at me and has been suggestive in her behaviour and in her interactions with me. She keeps calling me into her cabin without much reason often asking me to stay back late when others have left. Her conversations revolve around how she feels that I have lots of potential and that she would like me to grow and how we can help each other. She asks about my personal life and intimate details making me very uncomfortable. She has also asked me to come over to her place so that we can work together on weekends saying that she will make sure I am compensated in more ways than one. I am in a committed relationship, in addition, as a person it is very difficult for me to indulge her. My friends feel that I am stupid and should go ahead and take advantage of the situation. Going to work is discomforting and I am constantly on eggshells at work. I do not know what to do. I want to leave the job, but I need the money and the other aspects of this job are what I really like doing. Please help.

Ans: Assertiveness is something which needs to be exercised in this case effectively, as your boss seems to be very persistent. Since she is in the position of authority, you may have to choose your words wisely. Avoiding situations where you may have to spend time with her alone, or opting to work from home post work hours could be a start in maintaining a healthy distance from her. In case the situation worsens, you can have an honest and open discussion with her and make your intentions clear. At times, in order to not offend the opposite person, we end up saying yes to a lot of things that we are not keen on doing. Assertiveness helps eliminate such situations and help you cope with stress in a better manner.

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The wrong job

My education has been in fabric and garment design. However, the job that I got post-graduation is in marketing. I had no choice but to take the job even though it is not in the same field as my education. Every day is drudgery. I do my best at marketing because it pays my bills. However, this is not what I want to do. I feel my education was a waste and feel so unsatisfied and unfulfilled at having to do what I do not want to do.

Ans: The dissatisfaction stems from the fact that you are unable to use your skill set to an optimum level at work. This discrepancy in what you could be doing and what you are currently doing needs to be addressed in a manner which helps you in settling into something which coincides at different levels: aptitude, personality as well as interest. You can start by looking for a new job which fulfils all these three criteria. Setting a goal towards entering the field of your choice with minimum expectations could be a start as it will prevent you from being disappointed in case of delay in finding a job in your field.

Balancing family business

I work for a family run business at a critical position. While the line of communication and reporting is very clear, and I report in to the matriarch of the family, other family members involved in the business, constantly want me to report to them as well and keep asking me information and details that are otherwise supposed to be between the matriarch of the family and me. I do not know how to deal with this. On one side my loyalty lies to the family as a whole; on the other side my line of reporting is to my senior, the matriarch. It’s a catch 22 situation, I tell the others what they want to know and it’s a problem, I do not tell them, and it is a problem.

Ans: I understand the predicament you are put into each time there is a question posed by other family members about the work and your inability to respond as it isn’t within your purview. In order to address this, either having a discussion with the matriarch and explaining the situation as to how you can diffuse this catch 22 situation. Alternatively, you may have a direct conversation with the other family members involved in the family that the best source of information would be the matriarch and excuse yourself from the situation without coming across as rude.

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Waiting for appreciation

My boss is the head of our team and as a result he is the face of the team. However, he will never attribute credit to anyone of us team members individually even when we deserve to be acknowledged but always refer to the team as a generic entity. As a result, it is always “He and his team” that gets recognised, with “he” being consistently highlighted. This bothers me, and I am beginning to feel a growing resentment towards him. This is impacting my relationship with him and the team as a whole. Please advise.

Ans:  Your resentment might be stemming from the fact that despite putting in team efforts, you and other team members don’t get enough recognition. From what you have mentioned about your boss, his actions reflect self-centeredness which might cause the issues you have raised. Communicate your concerns about feeling under-appreciated so that he knows that his actions and behaviour is causing disturbance at the team as well as individual level.