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Agony Aunt helps you to deal with workplace problems

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Dealing with elder employees

Hi, I’m a 25-year-old founder of a start-up which is based in Bangalore. I work with a small team and all the employees who work with me are older than me. Everyone in the office gets along very well and we all have a casual atmosphere. But recently I feel like they don’t take me seriously anymore. They don’t follow my instructions on time and keep questioning my decisions. I’ve tried being stern with them but I’m scared that it would ruin our teamwork. Also, whenever I reprimand them I feel like they talk behind my back about it. I’m really worried about how I should confront them about their behaviour without making things awkward?

Ans: Heading a team of people who vary in age and experience could be challenging. You are probably facing an issue with them while playing a dual role of being a good boss but also exercise discipline. The key to put across your authority and position of being a leader into perspective doesn’t depend on your age; it has a lot to do with the approach which is firm yet fair. Creating an atmosphere of comfort where people don’t have to speak behind each other’s back could also be an initiative.


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Fear of first job

I’m really nervous about starting my new job. It’s my first proper job since I graduated from college and I’m worried about how I will do. I am a very shy person and don’t know how to approach other people. I’m really scared of making a very bad first impression. The thought of my first day makes me so nervous I can’t even sleep properly. Honestly, I just feel like quitting already. What should I do about all these feelings?

Ans: Your apprehension and nervousness towards the new job is merely in excess as it is quite natural to have some level of nervousness before starting something new. Along with nervousness, you being a shy person is also adding on to the apprehension. In order to deal with these feelings, the notion of making a good first impression and pressurising yourself with the same should reduce to a great extent. Thoughts about quitting are a result of extreme panic which will settle once you have a better control over the feelings mentioned above.

Pesky colleague  

Recently my co-worker has started to annoy me a lot. He always asks for leaves and then gives me all his responsibilities. It was okay the first few times but now it happens all the time. He’s a great friend of mine and helped me a lot when I first joined so when I mentioned it to him, he didn’t take it seriously. I don’t know how I should go about this? Should I speak to my boss even though he is my close friend?

Ans: Being friends with your work partner could put you in a difficult spot if both of you do not share the sense of responsibilities towards personal and professional equation. From what you mentioned, your friend isn’t keeping his end of bargain here. And you have already tried talking to him regarding this. You could approach your boss in a manner where it doesn’t appear that you are posing a complaint but highlighting few facts that aren’t working well for you and your co-worker so that he can decide how to implement ground rules for both of you.

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Thought of moving on

I’m a thirty-five-year-old man and I have been working with my current company for seven years. I enjoy the work and have a great relationship with my co-workers and even my boss. In fact, we all hang out after work a lot. However, I also feel like there’s no more place for growth where I am now. I know several other companies that are hiring but should I take the risk?

Ans: The risk of stepping out of comfort zone often stop us from making decisions in life which we very strongly feel about. Here you have forged quality relationships at the workplace which might be influencing your decision to shift elsewhere. Your potential at work is no longer getting enough exposure and this could very well be taken care at a different company. And if this fact is consistently taken into account, it will help making the decision without much of a conflict. If it helps, you could at least start with the process of looking out for jobs and also have a word about it with your boss so that seeing things being put into motion can help immensely in taking the plunge.

In search of satisfaction  

I am a 45-year-old man working as a Sales Manager in a good company. I have climbed the work hierarchy very systematically and have always been honest in my work. Lately, I feel very stifled as there is no advancement. I don’t know where I went wrong in taking up opportunities. I need some guidance in terms of not stressing so much and being content with work. 

Ans: The discontent revolves around being stuck in the current work position and this could be the reason behind your stress. You mentioned about not knowing which opportunities you might have missed, however knowing the answer to that may not help you move forward. Rather, if you could find someone at your workplace who is experienced or someone from the similar work background outside work, and discuss this issue, they might be able to suggest or at least help you look into a direction of advancement. At times it may happen that you might not identify an opportunity or think that you are probably late for such a chance, and in times like these an external perspective helps. Seeking advice from an experienced senior could be a good start.