Magazine article Management Today

What's Your Problem?

Magazine article Management Today

What's Your Problem?

Article excerpt

Q: I returned from maternity leave five months ago. I now work three days a week but am being subjected to badmouthing from one of my boss's colleagues. I suspect jealousy is at the root of it (she has two young children but works full-time). I never work with her directly but I've found out from my friends that she takes every opportunity to criticise my work and I'm scared my boss will start to believe her. I can't keep working in this toxic environment but I really need this job.

A: I hope you're absolutely certain that these friends of yours aren't inadvertently stirring things up. I'm not suggesting that they're doing it maliciously or even mischievously; just that they may be indulging in a bit of what they see as harmless gossip - which is having a disproportionate effect on you. And once you begin to harbour suspicions of this kind, they can all too easily snowball. More often than not, the deeply unsettling notions we allow to build up in our heads, fuelled by rumour and surmise, turn out to have much less basis in reality.

So, without looking as though you're unduly concerned, do try to get to the bottom of your friends' allegations. There's almost certain to be some foundation for them; but there's a fair chance that it's all a lot less toxic than you've come to believe. …

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