Free Press Journal

Agony Aunt helps you to deal with workplace problems


Copycat colleague

I recently started an internship with one of the leading design studio in Mumbai. I am very passionate about my work and put in all my effort into getting appraised outcomes. There is another intern who works along with me and seems to keep copying/stealing my ideas, presenting them as her own. So much so, she has even started behaving like me and getting close to all the people I am close with. She gets credit for all the work I do. How do I kindly put this issue across to her and other seniors that need to be aware?

Ans: Plagiarism needs to be addressed at the earliest so that it holds value enough to be taken into consideration. Strike a conversation with her in a non-confrontational manner where you are making her aware of the fact that you realise what she is doing rather than focusing more onto you feeling hurt. Approaching her in a practical manner might be of help than an emotional one. If things don’t settle even then, involve your higher authorities and request them to assess the abilities individually and then take a call or bring about a probe in this manner as it is affecting you not only professionally but also personally.

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Flush out stress

I have been hearing this new term “Mindfulness” in recent official work conferences. People keep referring to mindfulness as a means to cope with the stresses of work and life. Can you tell me more? I work in a high pressure and high stress job that keeps me on edge all the time. Any inputs would help.

Ans: Mindfulness is being in the current moment and experiencing the changes in the environment in real time. The benefit of this process is to keep you grounded and rely more on your actions in present than floating between past and future. Since your job is highly stressful, being in the moment might be a good help to keep the anxieties at bay.

Cubicle harassment

A colleague of mine was sexually harassed by the team leader and finally quit the organisation. The same has begun with another female colleague by the male team leader. She is a good friend and is having a hard time coping. She does not want to report him in as feels she will become the laughing stock of the organisation. On the other side the team leader keeps telling her that he will make her existence in the team unbearable unless she cooperates with him. It’s a catch 22 situation and is playing on my mind as well as hers.

Ans: In the mentioned situation the team leader does need to be reported to the higher authorities as the behaviour is quite detrimental for all of you. If not reported in time this could weaken your case against him in case things get out of hands. The fear of what others might think shouldn’t deter you from taking a step which could help resolve this once and for all. The threats could be empty as he knows he holds a power position and responding to the threats is giving in to the coercion. Reaching out to higher authorities might help in putting the individual in place and make him realize that he can’t be abusing his powers.

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Change is calling

After 25 years of being a successful CA, I feel this is not what I want to do, it’s bothersome. I have heard the term “True calling” very many times over years. What is “True calling” and what do I do to find it. I tried reading up on the concepts through books and videos online but can’t seem to understand much. Is it something that only highly intellectual people can achieve?

Ans: “True calling” does have a mystical ring to it and seems elusive and difficult to achieve as well. However, true calling lies in everything that you do with passion and dedication. Spending 25 years in the profession might have led to saturation to certain degree and considering an alternate at this juncture doesn’t seem an absurd idea. Finding the true calling would involve experimentation and if you feel comfortable taking a plunge into uncertainty, you might find something that interests you. True calling isn’t an exclusive entity and thus anyone realizing that they have reached a saturation point in life, can bring about a change by being mindful and work towards the change.