Free Press Journal

Agony Aunt helps you to deal with workplace problems

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Flirty female boss

I’m a 31-year-old man working in Mumbai in a leading Investment Banking firm. My team consists of only male members but is led by a female boss. Since a month I have been receiving slightly informal, flirtatious messages from her. I didn’t pay much attention to it thus passing it off as friendly conversations. However yesterday my colleague told me that he’s been noticing these advances made by her and the whole office is talking about it. I have no interest in her and I’m here on purely professional grounds. I do want to let her know of my inconvenience but have to do as gently as my work is at stake. How must I put this across?

Ans: In professional capacity usually, words are minced to avoid the ramifications. However, your boss holds a position of leadership alone in the work front and not where personal boundaries are concerned. Understanding this is essential as it will help you assertively address your boss and tell her how you get affected by the messages she sends across. In case this is left to avoidance, out of frustration you might end up reacting when not needed. Thus, at present when you are thinking rationally about this, let your actions also be rational rather than reactive.


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Cubicle love under stress  

I’m a 22-year-old boy working in Mumbai. I work in a financial management firm and I’m doing quite well. I have recently developed feelings for a colleague of mine and she feels the same way. Our work isn’t affected at all but my senior is strongly against the idea. He feels it will reduce my performance. If anything, I have been doing better than before. He threatens to complain about indecency to the HR which I feel is completely out of his jurisdiction. We are completely professional in office and behave like normal colleagues. How should I manage the situation?

Ans: Ideally your personal relationships are not a matter to be discussed in office even if you are in a relationship with your colleague. Since your senior has threatened to take this up to HR, you can approach HR on your volition and highlight this problem to them. Bringing into light such threats is essential as you do not want to be in a position where your relationship is used against you. Direct retaliation wouldn’t lead to much success.

Insecure senior

I’m a 26-year-old girl working in a design house in Mumbai. My senior designer is very well respected here and I always look up to her for guidance and inspiration. Everybody knows how much I love and respect her work and how hard I try to be acknowledged and appreciated by her. For some reason though, I feel she thinks of me as a threat. My co-designer even told me she feels annoyed and irritated every time I come around. Is it just me who’s being overbearing and overwhelming her? Should I have a heart to heart conversation?

Ans: Often two creative minds need gradual accommodation with each other as both feel that they are always right. This along with underlying insecurity and threat might lead to cracks in the relationship. Going by your experience with the senior, base the decision solely on the facts and not on how you feel or someone else’s perspective.

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Cringey colleague

I’m a 24-year-old girl who has recently shifted to Mumbai to work In a PR firm. The team head here is a very good friend of my brother and has been very helpful since the day I joined. Since the past few weeks, I’ve been feeling a little uncomfortable with his presence as I know he has developed some feelings towards me. This is clearly affecting our work and the work that he distributes to our team. He always makes sure I am with him and gives me work that always requires his input. I don’t want to tell my brother anything as that will spoil things between them. I also don’t want to disrespect him in any way. How should I tell him about how I feel?

Ans: It is important to make your stand clear with your team head because the nice behaviour that you would want to portray might create an impression or lead to misunderstanding. Thus, express your concerns openly so that both of you are on the same page in terms of the relationship between the two. You may not have to involve your brother if clear communication exists between you and the team head.