Tea & Therapy: Cunning co-worker

Overly affectionate boss

Recently, my boss has been acting overly affectionate towards me. I asked him for a letter of recommendation and he agreed to give me one on the condition that I go out with him for dinner. He knows that I am married. I haven’t told my husband about this because he will get extremely angry. I don’t know anyone else who I can talk to about this. I feel so uncomfortable around my boss now, but I don’t know how to say no to him because my career is on the line. I have heard rumours about him acting inappropriately with other women in the workplace too. How can I decline without risking my job?

Personal safety is more important than anything else which is at stake. A company has an HR department that handles such cases wherein you can approach them with your concerns. Talking to your boss about how his suggestion for dinner is making you feel uncomfortable can also help you get out of this situation and see for yourself how he reacts to it.

Since it is a professional matter and you don’t wish to mix this with your personal life, you have every right to do so. Any coercion can be considered to be a violation of your privacy and is reportable. 

Helping out husband

This year my husband has taken on an additional project at work. It is extremely time consuming and requires him to even work on weekends. Not only is he visibly stressed, but it is also affecting the dynamic within our family. I know his work is important but sometimes it feels that he is neglecting our children. He only ever talks to me about work-related issues and we hardly ever go out together. I am trying to be supportive of him, but most of the time I feel frustrated that I have to deal with the kids all on my own. What are some ways in which he can manage his work life better? 

Work-life balance is possible to achieve when one relaxes the limits set on self when it comes to saying no to certain things due to fear of losing. Either way, your husband is losing his peace and calm by not being able to do justice to the family which can eventually show an impact on work.

He doesn’t have to slow down if that is what fears him but he definitely needs to adopt delegation of work and certain boundaries which work cant breach.

Both of you as a team need to lay down a few home rules which have to be followed no matter what to have a semblance of some kind. Unless he learns to say no and adopt delegation of work, it might be difficult to bring some balance.

Disliked and sidelined

Last year, I took a job overseas. I really enjoy it and love my work, but I constantly feel that my co-workers don’t like me. Even though it’s already been a year, they still leave me out of plans and ignore me when I try to make conversation. More importantly, I was recently up for a promotion which I didn’t get. The employee who got it instead was much less experienced than I am. I can’t help but feel that all of this is because of my race. I have noticed other subtle cues and passing remarks from them about me. I usually let them slide or laugh it off but it’s really affecting my morale and performance at work. How can I overcome this?

I believe a bunch of things are bothering you: shifting to a place where you don’t feel welcome, not acquiring promotion and subtle cues of being rebuked.

All of this could be overwhelming and often cloud our understanding. It is important to first evaluate if you are enjoying your work in the company and if it is something you are gaining positively from.

You mentioned you usually laugh off the comments that hurt you; this requires some assertive response as you being quiet about it might result in them not taking you seriously.

Holding a staff meeting and laying down your concerns by not pointing fingers in particular but making them sensitive towards your concerns could also help.

Cunning co-worker

I have been working at the same company for the past four years. Recently, I switched departments to work on a special project. Rumours say that at the end of the project, the best employee will get a promotion. However, I constantly feel as if one of my co-workers is trying to sabotage me. She blames all of the team’s failures on me and takes all the credit for our successes.

What’s worse is that my boss has known her for a very long time and trusts her deeply, so she won’t believe me even if I dare to raise this issue. I have worked extremely hard for this promotion, but now it feels like it’s slipping out of my fingers. I’m very agitated and don’t know what to do.

It appears that the assumptions are already made on what you have heard in your office. This could somewhere be an indicator of self-doubt mixed with anxiety. You have worked hard and are looking forward to the promotion as it acts as a reward for your efforts.

Let the announcements take place so that there is clarity and out of the assumption state. And in case the promotion actually goes to someone else, holding a meeting with your boss and understanding the practicality of the decision can help rather than

stewing in the feeling of being wronged.

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