Free Press Journal

Agony Aunt helps you to deal with workplace problems


Using employee for personal work

I have just joined a mid-size company after completing my MBA. I got my job as a result of campus placement. I feel very grateful to the gentleman who was responsible for campus placements. He is also my boss. As I have begun to work with him, I feel he has been asking me to do work for him that may fall outside the realm of my professional responsibilities. This has been bothering me but because I feel obligated to him for my selection from campus, I curb my angst against him. Recently, he asked me to pick up and drop off some papers at his daughter’s school and I was referred to as by boss’s secretary there. This made me very angry and I do not know how to address this with my boss because of the sense of obligation.

Ans: The sense of obligation towards the boss and respecting him are two different things. Even though you thankful towards this gentleman, your sense of obligation lies in delivering quality work for which you are hired and not his personal errands. Since you are feeling uncomfortable doing chores that are not within your professional capacity start drawing lines at the earliest rather than later. The sense of obligation might turn into resentment and eventually a sour relationship between you and your boss. He has hired you for the merit and potential and there seems to be nothing wrong in standing up for yourself as you are nowhere taking undue advantage of the opportunity.

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Career conflicts  

I am 48 years old and I’m a CA by profession. I did my CA because my parents wanted me to do so as it was the safe choice. I have always been creatively inclined but because of societal norms and my parents could not pursue the creative arts. I took up a job in a MNC after my CA and have worked there ever since slowly moving up the ladder. While I have accomplished much in the professional realm, I feel empty inside as this is not what I wanted to do…looking back I wish I would have stood up for what I wanted to do and pursued the arts. I feel regret, remorse and a huge amount of dissatisfaction. I don’t know what to do…. I feel so unhappy about this…My wife fails to understand my feeling and her stand is that I am being silly because I am in her words, she cannot understand why the regret because I am successful, have a stable career, have stable financial backing now…

Ans: Often in life we meet people who have differing views on life and what would constitute a successful life. If we consider what’s right and wrong or what is success as per other opinions all the time, there will be lesser fulfillment experienced towards the end of it if there is a disparity. You mentioned being well settled as far as career is considered in a conventional manner, you could probably now invest in your dreams by working parallelly in both the fields. it does not have to be ‘all or none’ this time around as it has already happened once in the past. Also waiting around for others to catch up with your idea of happiness and not acting on it simply keeps you away from your dreams and happiness. Thus, without further ado, plan out this journey of realising your dreams.

Distressed work & personal life

There are certain occurrences that took place in my childhood that I have never spoken to anyone about. They took place between 9 and 13 years of age. I am now a 32-year-old working woman and married to the man of my choice. I was able to put these occurrences behind me all through the years and moved on. However, last month I saw a movie that had similar experiences being shown and that brought back all my memories that I had put away. The last month has been hell as a result and I am having nightmares about what took place in my childhood. I have been crying for no reason and it has begun to affect my work and my married life.

Ans: From what you have narrated, there seems to be a high possibility of post-traumatic stress being experienced. PTSD needs clinical help wherein a clinician will help you work towards the stress causing memories in a way where you learn to be calm and respond rather than react. the nightmares are a part of PTSD symptoms and can also be dealt with regular psychotherapy. Kindly look for a psychotherapist who specialises in trauma if possible and begin with the process immediately.

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Bothering behaviour of husband

My husband is otherwise a very loving and caring man. Ours was an arranged marriage and it took a while for us to get to know each other. Over time I learnt about his moods, needs, emotions, wants and behaviours. However, I observed that my husband was very finicky about the house, about how things were kept, the position of artefacts at home, the place mats, the table cover etc. Over the last 15 years of our marriage this has been increasing to where now if a place mat is slightly crooked or if an artefact is not in a particular position, he throws a fit and has an anger outburst. The height was when he picked a huge fight with me after a family dinner that we hosted where he said that the spoons on the table should have been kept in a certain way and the soup should have been served in a particular way. What I am describing is just a small glimpse of this erratic behaviour. I’m perplexed at this behaviour of him being a stickler for precision.

Ans: The mannerisms of being a stickler for precision and losing temper or feeling uneasy if things are kept out of order would indicate traits of obsessive compulsive personality disorder (OCPD). these traits would require psychotherapy, possibly medications and regular follow up sessions in order to curb the excessive need for perfectionism. This would require you and other family members to be aware of this disorder and learn to work with him accordingly. If he gets angry and others in the family react to it negatively as well, there would be lesser inclination towards accepting that there exists a problem. You can approach a professional first and try to understand the situation first and also how to get your husband into therapy.