Agony Aunt on how to deal with problems in professional life

Lack of ambition

I have a 23 year old friend. I have known her since school but we became close in college. She is a very nice girl but her lack of ambition just annoys me. She is very stagnant in her life. She does not do anything and has gotten her degree only because she had friends who were pursuing it. She has no motivation to do an internship or learn something new or even pursue her talent in dancing. All of us are working at a company and she just sits at home all the time. I am concerned for her but at the same time angry with her also as I have had this conversation with her a lot of times. There is no growth in her. She is the same as she was in school. Sometimes I even reconsider my decision of being her friend as she has nothing new to add to our relationship. But I don’t want to just give up and so I need your guidance.

Ans: You need to empathize with her, and understand from her perspective as to why she is in this state. There has to be a reason for her such behavior and her lack of motivation. She may not be sharing with you the whole picture, probably she is hiding something that is driving her to be low or depressed as often people under depression are unable to push themselves to do anything. So it may come across as lethargy but it may actually be some sort of hidden problem that needs to be resolved in order to bring in the necessary change in your friend. Talk to her mother or someone she is close to at home if they know about anything, and suggest to her about seeking some professional help like life coaching or counseling. They will help her to formulate a goal and persuade her to achieve the same and once she starts gaining confidence and motivation, she would want to continue. Just the way she had support in her college and that’s the reason she completed her graduation, she may probably need some support from here too.

Office link-up

My boss is attracted to me and he makes it very evident in office. My boss is single and relatively the same age as me. I used to initially love the attention that he gave me and it made me feel special. However, now it just gets too much and everyone in office teases me openly. I am not comfortable with this and I really want it to stop as it affects my work and my relationship with people at work. Everybody thinks that now I can have my way at work because of my boss being attracted to me, and I don’t get credit for my handwork, but I do not want them to think that way. What do I do? Should I speak to my boss about this?

Ans: It is important that you speak to your boss and let him know that you do not return his feelings as this wasn’t made clear to him in the beginning. Both, you and your boss need to take ownership for this situation before it escalates beyond your grasp. You can also report this matter to H.R who can help smooth the problem over with your boss as well as your colleagues. Also, your work colleagues whom you are friends with can attest to others that you indeed have been working hard at your work and not been getting any preferential treatment or lee-ways for it. In case you aren’t comfortable with the situation at work despite all your efforts, then you can consider looking for another better job.

Dealing with hierarchy at work

I am working with a company that has a lot of levels of hierarchy and hence I am not sure about whom I am supposed to report to and who I am supposed to ask my queries to. This confusion of mine has caused a lot of internal conflicts amongst the higher authorities and hence, I am termed as the employee that lacks efficiency. I am sad about this and I do not know how to deal with this because I know I am capable of much more. I have been disturbed as now the higher authorities even hesitate to delegate any work to me. I feel like my talent and ability is being wasted and I keep on getting negative thoughts. Please help me.

Ans: I understand that working in a big company involves communication with a lot of people and having many supervisors to report to can be overwhelming. One easy method to overcome your confusion could be to report to the particular supervisor who gives you a particular task. Also, try to not skip hierarchies as people do not like to be overlooked. You can report to the higher authorities if they directly contact you or have given you a task. Speak to your senior colleagues about this confusion and try and seek out their advice as they may have also faced a similar situation. They may even be able to guide you to the supervisor who may be in charge of overlooking your work. Also, try making amends with the authorities by apologizing for your confusion and taking charge of the situation. You can even ask HR to help you with this process and help guide you.

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