I’ve just completed a month in a family business. My boyfriend and I were recruited right after completing our MBA degrees. My boyfriend is a very outspoken, jovial and interactive person. On the contrary, I am a bit of an introvert. He has made good friends with the staff. We both were enjoying our work, but recently a problem is emerging due to the attitude of my boss. She is a lady of around 40 years of age. She is very moody and unapproachable. My boyfriend, due to his talkative nature has made a good impression on her.
I do communicate with her but as I am not that social, we just talk about work. She is not giving me any consideration at all and I am experiencing indifference from her. Although as far as work is concerned, my boyfriend and I are both equivalent. But from her behavior it seems that she considers him better, and that I am good for nothing. This is also creating problems in our personal life. Although my boyfriend loves me a lot, in my frustration I talk badly and hurt him.
Please advise what should I do to overcome this problem?
Feeling Passed Over
OFFICE-POLITICS REPLY BY JENNIFER GLUECK BEZOZA
Dear Feeling Passed Over,
Your situation sounds complicated in that there is a triangle of personal and professional relationships involved. Your current situation, with you and your boyfriend working at the same organization at an equivalent level reporting to the same woman may be an untenable situation for the long term. Since your question centers on what you can do to improve your current situation, I have provided recommendations below.
1. See yourself as a socially-engaged person
Start thinking of yourself as a socially-engaged person at work. It seems you have stereotyped yourself in a way that has created a self-fulfilling prophecy.
2. Try to forge strong professional relationships
While you may be inherently more introverted than your boyfriend, that preference does not mean you cannot forge strong professional relationships with others.
3. Show respectful interest
If you are committed to being successful in this organization, you will need to take a respectful interest in your boss and others.
4. Find common ground
Look to find common ground on matters that are important to her and you may find that your working relationship improves greatly.
5. Respect yourself
Your boss’ attitude is obviously affecting you negatively. Do not let her damage your self-esteem or make you feel that you are ‘good for nothing’. You must respect yourself. If none of my suggestions above work at improving your relationship with her, you may want to consider finding another job.
Thank you for writing to Office Politics.
Jennifer Glueck Bezoza, MA
Jennifer Glueck Bezoza has an MA in organizational psychology from Columbia University and a BA in psychology and humanities from Stanford University. She currently works in Organizational Development for the largest not-for-profit home health organization in the country where she focuses on succession planning, leadership development and coaching. Previously, she worked for GE Commercial Finance and HR consultant, Towers Perrin.