Dear Roze:

I'm not exaggerating when I tell you I'm working with a mean girl. Since I started my job at a local advertising firm just over a year ago, this woman has made it her mission to make my life miserable. I know it sounds juvenile, but we work in a relatively small office, so there's no way for me to completely stay away from her. She's like eight years older than me and has been with the company for over five years, so you'd think she would be more professional. She just doesn't like me, but I can't understand it. I know it sounds very immature, but others have said it's because I'm well liked by the company owner and management and because I'm 'young and pretty.' I know she has a good reputation with the owner and management. I can't do anything about my age and looks. She will do things like invite everyone but me to go to lunch, give me looks of disgust every time I talk at one of our staff meetings, conveniently forget to put me on the copy count for her all-office email notifications, or challenge whatever I tell her when she asks me a question. This isn't just a random thing; it happens every week. I've tried not to let it get to me but she won't let up. I want to ask her why she doesn't like me. What do you think I should do?

Working with a mean girl

Dear Working with a mean girl:

You need to stand your ground. People like this woman tend to prey on those who appear weak and will not challenge them. I suggest you not ask her why she does not like you. Instead, have a face-to-face discussion with her and ask her why she does the things she does to you. If she says she does not know what you are talking about, be prepared to calmly and succinctly give her the examples you provided me in your email. Even if she refuses to admit to her passive aggressive behavior, you have shown her you are not going to just sit back and take it. If she decides to continue her bully behavior, call her out each time she does it. Hopefully, she will come to realize she is messing with the wrong person. Best of luck!

Dear Roze:

My boss is cheating on his wife and he doesn't try to hide it from anyone in the office. He isn't cheating with anyone at work, but we've been able to figure it out because he talks so loud on the phone with her, and a couple of people have even spotted him at a Starbucks and in his car at a shopping center parking lot with a woman other than his wife behaving in a way you know they're more than friends. There are days he gets to work late, takes extended lunches, and leaves early. Not only is everyone always gossiping about it but our production numbers are slipping. I used to think very highly of him, but now I've lost total respect for him. It's really hard to listen to some of the things he says about company loyalty and wanting and expecting the best effort from all of us, his employees, when his behavior is so wrong. I realize he's the boss and it's his personal life, but he's affecting our numbers, which affects my pay, so I want to give him a piece of my mind. Would you be okay with that?

No respect for cheating boss

Dear No respect for cheating boss:

I would handle your relationship with your boss with kid gloves. If his behavior was not impacting the company's productivity, I would tell you to stay focused on your job and not say anything. But you said his actions are negatively affecting the business and your income. If you are absolutely sure he is having an affair and you have had a decent relationship with him up until now, I see nothing wrong with you having a respectful one-on-one with him to convey your concerns. Just remember, however, these personal situations are often a lot more complicated than they may appear.

copyright 2014 Rozanne R. Worrell

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