Free Press Journal

Agony Aunt helps you to deal with workplace problems


Standing for sexuality

The MNC organisation that I work with has a pro-gay and lesbian policy. However, the people in the organisation who make up the organisation are not that understanding. My boss particularly makes homophobic jokes during team meetings often taking pot-shots at the single men in the team including me. I am gay but have not come out at work. I also feel that the boss only promotes the stereotypical perception of men in Indian society leaving some of us at a disadvantage. It’s very disheartening. Often, I am left feeling that why is it that I quietly listen to all that’s being said and not to anything about it. Last week I was a mess. Please help.

Ans: You can raise this issue at a higher level as it is important that irrespective of policies, personal beliefs need to be kept outside the office and follow a strict protocol at work. You can garner support of others who might be feeling strongly about this as well. In case you find your boss’s comments derogatory speak to him on one on one basis so as to make him aware that knowingly-unknowingly he might be hurting other sentiments which might work negatively for him if he continues to do so. Quoting the company policy could be great help in getting your point across your boss.

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Work like a woman

How does a woman function in a pre-dominantly male industry? It’s hard and frustrating. Causes me anxiety every time I have to go to work. It’s like trying to walk on water.

Ans: The key to deal with an environment which seems dominating is to ask yourself, ‘what is making me feel dominated/ anxious?’ Once you have an answer to this you can then work towards approaching the triggers in a better manner than feeling anxious or frustrated. Often anxiety is due to pre-conceived notion and lesser faith in self. Having confidence in self should help a great deal in overcoming anxiety. The societal view could be instrumental in shaking the self-belief but at the end of the day what counts is how important your work is for you and what is required in terms of efforts from your end to do well. The only standing proof of good work has to be given to self rather than prove it to anyone else around.

Harrowing humiliation

After being humiliated by my boss for no fault of mine in front of the entire team, I have been finding it very hard to go to work. Often, I’m in tears in the rickshaw and my heart is pounding on stepping into the office. I feel as him everyone is looking at me because of the humiliation. I am not able to make eye contact any more. I want to leave this job.

Ans: The humiliation has probably led to you feeling negative towards the job as well. Before taking call on quitting the job, list down the pros and cons of this job and then decide so that you aren’t left feeling regretful once this episode becomes a part of past. Very often we project our fears by assuming that others are being watchful of us when we have undergone a humiliating experience. That may not be the case as others have their personal pre-occupations and may not be that invested in what happens in others’ lives. The discomfort you are experiencing at the moment might be the result of reliving the feeling part of the incident and thus not being able to move past. Start with few people who you are close to at work in terms of conversations so that you are able to ease into the environment without much of a difficulty.

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The cheap boss

I am a 27-year-old trainee in a consulting firm. I dress appropriately but conservatively. My male boss may have chanced upon some pictures on Facebook with friends and recently made a passing remark saying, ‘I looked sexy’ in those pictures. I found it offensive but froze in my tracks. I am so angry and don’t know what to do. 

Ans: A conversation with the colleague telling him that the remark offended you would give you a better idea as to how to take this matter further. At times the comments are made in a casual manner but might be interpreted differently thus getting this clear with the concerned person first hand is important. Making your intentions clear on the fact that if any such behaviour continues you wouldn’t hesitate to approach higher authorities could also help in putting across your displeasure at his comments.