Q: I am having a lot of issues with my new co-worker. ... I don’t want to leave, but I no longer feel supported by my managers. What do you think I should I do?
By Marie G. McIntyre / Tribune News Service
Q: I am having a lot of issues with my new co-worker. “Pamela” used to work with both my boss and the owner of our business at another company. The three of them have remained friends and frequently go out to lunch together.
Even though I have been here for seven years, Pamela doesn’t seem to value my experience. Whenever I try to help her or explain something, she pays no attention to me. She has also convinced the owner to change some of our long-standing policies.
Although I love my work, I have been very unhappy since Pamela arrived. I don’t want to leave, but I no longer feel supported by my managers. What do you think I should I do?
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A: On an emotional level, your unhappiness is understandable. After working closely with your bosses for many years, you are suddenly confronted with an unwelcome interloper who is also their personal friend. This could easily make you feel displaced, resentful and even jealous.
If you think about it rationally, however, you will hopefully see that your colleagues are not actually doing anything wrong. In a small, privately-owned business, people with ties to the owner frequently have greater access and influence. That may not seem fair, but it’s a fact.
Jumping ship is always an option, but since you enjoy your work, perhaps you should first make an effort to adjust to this new reality. Once you modify your own attitude and approach, you may find that others react favorably and relationships improve.
For example, you say that Pamela rejects your offers of assistance, but you don’t say whether training her is your responsibility. If it is not, her chilly response may indicate that she views your comments as interference. If you stop giving advice and simply try to be a friendly colleague, Pamela may eventually respond in kind.
Submit questions to Marie G. McIntyre at yourofficecoach.com.