How to Handle Three Particularly Difficult Situations At Work

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I do not miss being in an office working for someone else. I just don’t; I like working from home. I like not having people interrupting me all day long (save for my 2-year-old twins, but they’re cute so it’s not so bad). I’m not much of a people person unless you’re someone I consider my people, so it works for me. Additionally, most everyone who works with other people complain religiously about their co-workers, and it really does not seem like a lot of fun to have them. I don’t mind hearing other people’s hilarious co-worker stories, but sometimes I find myself thinking I am just so relieved that I don’t have the same issues.

When a friend recently approached me for advice, I thought it was simple looking from the outside in. She isn’t sure how to handle this situation. She was ushered into a conversation with one of her bosses about a few other co-workers, including her direct boss and another co-worker she feels work very hard and do an amazing job. The boss complaining to her is a man who has been turned down by both women when he made advances on them, and he wanted to tell my girlfriend that he has approached his own bosses about how the other two are no longer doing their job the correct way, how he has recommended that she and another woman replace them. He reminded her that this is confidential information and that her own job is in jeopardy if she does not keep this information confidential.

She was horrified to hear this. While she would love their jobs and salaries, she knows that they are both very devoted, hard-working women who excel in their positions. She knows that he holds a personal grudge against both and simply does not want them there as a form of punishment. She’s unsure what she should do. She approached me to get my advice.

Does she tell her co-workers or does she keep this information to herself? Unfortunately, there is no right or wrong answer in a situation like this one and there are several other work situations that might not have clear answers either.

When someone asks you to keep something confidential and it affects others

In a situation like this, it appears to me that you simply do not say a word. It’s her job on the line, too, if she tells. While it’s understandable she wants to tell her boss and her friends at work that their jobs are on the line and prepare them for the worst, she could lose her own job for this. It’s better when a higher-up asks for something like this to be kept confidential that you keep it confidential. It is a terrible situation, but it’s one that cannot be avoided.

If she chooses to tell, she could lose her own job. However, she might not be able to live with herself if she does not follow her moral compass. This is simply a situation in which you have to do what you feel is best.

When a co-worker with the same job makes more than you

Another situation in which you have to be very careful how you approach a situation. It might seem that storming your boss’ office and demanding a raise when someone just as qualified, with the same position who has been there the same amount of time or less than you makes more. However, don’t. This is a delicate situation that requires you do some homework. Does your co-worker really make more than you, or is he or she just saying that? does your co-worker have more experience, has he or she been there longer? Is this person new and therefore makes more because demand caused the position to require more to receive qualified applicants?

There are any number of statistics that might make this an issue. While it’s absolutely okay to approach your boss for a raise, it’s also imperative you do your homework and that you make sure you are doing a stellar job in your position.

When co-workers are dating behind the boss’ back

HR says that this is strictly against the rules; no dating in the office. However, you just found out one of your co-workers is dating another and they are keeping things on the down low. Do you tell? It is against the rules. Well, you’re not four, so you might not want to become that person that’s labeled the tattle tale. This is a personal situation with some personal decisions to make. If you think that it’s affecting the job or there is a conflict of interest somewhere, then you should discuss the situation with the boss.

Otherwise, it might be a good idea to keep to yourself and not get in the middle of anything. These two will likely fizzle out in no time or one will make a career change if things get serious. It happens, and as long as it’s not affecting anyone’s work or position, it’s not really something that most people consider all that important in many instances.

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