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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

When you’re stuck in the middle of a work battle

I recently had the opportunity to add three temporary junior employees to my team, with the option to promote them to permanent roles in a year if I can demonstrate their importance to the business. Depending on the budget, there may be room for only one or two.

I rate them on their productivity as well as their contributions to other areas. All three are hardworking employees with a great attitude and high productivity, and I am currently developing business cases to constantly support each of them. I also received unsolicited praise from three senior managers, especially one of them who happened to look like a young Michelle Pfeiffer. All of these people are older heterosexual men, who unfortunately make up the main demographic here at the upper levels.

“Michelle” was in no way unprofessional—she had strong professional connections in various demographics—but I would be remiss if I ignored my suspicions that these men, at least subconsciously, were motivated by more than just professional respect. It seems unfair to the other two junior employees to give this praise the weight it usually deserves, but unfair to Michelle to ignore it. Help.

— Anonymous

Be careful. In essence, you behave in the same way as your older heterosexual male colleagues, whom you rightly despise. Do you really assume that you can punish your employee because you assume that she receives positive professional reviews because of her appearance?

People have prejudices, especially when it comes to looks. My mom likes to remind me that we eat with our eyes first. It’s kind of a mixed metaphor, but I think you get my point. Entire books have been written about the benefits of beautiful people in the workplace. I appreciate you keeping this dynamic in mind, but if Michelle is doing really well, you should focus on that. Compensating based on what you think is unfair praise is a slippery slope. You absolutely mean good, but you have no way of knowing if the men praising her performance are really only praising her looks.

Is it possible? Certainly. But it’s not fair to punish her for their childish misogyny if that’s really what’s going on. All three candidates deserve equal treatment. Don’t overdo it.

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Earlier this year, I went on a few dates with a guy I liked and thought everything was going well until he became my ghost. I admitted that he was not my type and moved on even though I was hurt by the lack of communication.

Fast forward six months: he is introduced as my new colleague. He knew that I worked in this small restaurant, and even said: “Hey, I’m glad you still work here!” To be honest, I don’t mind that he works there. I am happy to help him when he asks questions related to work. However, he often tries to sound like we’re friends and doesn’t mention our past or that he’s stalking me. How do I tell him that I was hurt when he became a ghost, and that I only want to discuss work matters?

— Anonymous, Washington.

Being a ghost is terrible. Without warning, someone disappears and you have no answers. In a sense, this is a random situation. You have been given the opportunity to close. If you really want to discuss this with the Ghost, ask him if you can talk before or after work in a neutral place. Share your feelings and the conditions you would prefer for the development of your relationship.

But before you do, I want you to think carefully about what you hope to gain from such a conversation. What good will come of this both in the short and long term? You will remove some of the resentment from yourself, but this can complicate a seemingly friendly professional relationship.

Consider letting it go, not because he deserves to be taken off the hook, but because you seem to be in a good place and he no longer deserves your mental energy. In the meantime, may the next guy you date be the man of your dreams.

Roxanne Gay is the author of the recently published book “Hunger” and the author of articles. Write to her at [email protected].

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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