You should never find that you are someone else's second choice.
Image source... Margeaux Walter for The New York Times
Send questions about office, money, career, and work-life balance to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your name and location, or request to remain anonymous. The letter can be edited.
After being unemployed for 18 months, I finally found a job. It is in my research field and I really like my work. My new colleague welcomed me warmly. People directly under me even gave a long speech, saying that there are many very qualified candidates, but I was selected because I clearly showed enthusiasm and a strong background in the field.
However, even if my next day was less than halfway, I was added to an email chain, indicating that I was not the first choice. The initially selected candidate rejected their offer because they could not reach her price point. I was declared an employed person, and with it were the answers of "unfortunate", "too bad", and "keep going". Obviously, I didn't intend to see this email. All these people are working on the recruitment committee, and I will work directly with them or under them.
How embarrassing and unfortunate it is to start a working relationship! Faced with their disappointment, how can I continue? What should I do with a colleague who blatantly deceived me and was selected? I tried to hold my head high, but it was undeniable that it was difficult.
This happened to me several times, and it was painful. it is just. It makes you doubt yourself and your colleagues who don't trust you, and it spoils the entire experience. But their disappointment is not a problem for you to manage. I think they are more frustrated not to work with their first choice instead of having to work with you. I know there is no comfort, but candidates always refuse to work. Then the organization continues to look for the next equally qualified candidate. I think your new colleagues have the right to let them down, but they should learn basic email functions and stop being careless. What they do is tacky and very inconsiderate.
There is nothing you can do about a colleague who falsely claims that you are the first choice. That person may try to overcompensate for the attitude you see in the wrong email and make you feel at home. Any confrontation will be so embarrassing. The silver lining is that your job satisfies you. You got this job because you are good at what you do. Try to focus on this. Let their stupid disappointment fuel your ambitions.
Do what I did when I was included in an email like this—keep it forever, engrave their names in your memory, and plan the smallest revenge you can imagine.
I have a colleague who has been close to me in the past two years. I have been her direct manager for a year, but she was later transferred to another department. We shared some personal details about our lives. Although I prefer to deal with such issues outside of work, I am very happy to act as a sounding board because I feel that I am one of her only sources of support.
Recently, she went through a difficult period and she took a short vacation. She came to me first because she needed help to deal with this situation, which is great, but now I have a lot of knowledge about her medical history and mental state, even if I encourage her to seek help, she will continue to come to me and Additional help is updated regularly. I had to report some serious concerns about her mental health to HR, so I feel that I have done my professional duties. I know too much about her condition. I think it is inappropriate. I want to set a limit, but I don't know how to do this without disturbing her. I care about her very much, but I don't have enough emotional or professional ability to take on this matter.
How can I set this boundary in an understanding but appropriate way?
Your colleague sees you as a friend, and you see her as a friendly colleague with you. But, to be fair, I don’t think you have set clear boundaries between what you will discuss with her and what you will not discuss with her. When she approaches you with her questions, you will listen, even if you try to redirect her to a more appropriate resource. She probably didn't know that she was over-sharing; she thought she was confiding to a friend.
I fully understand that there is not enough bandwidth to solve her problem, which seems irresistible and worrying. It's up to you to establish boundaries and enforce them gently but firmly. The next time she approaches you and wants to share too much, you must tell her that you care about her, but you can't give her the emotional support she needs. It would be better to tell her frankly what you can and cannot provide her. I will also remind her of the mental health care options available in the workplace. I wish you both all the best on the way forward.
I have several years of experience in the current workplace, but relatively little direct management experience. Although my employer does not have a formal training plan for new employees, I have developed training materials and tried my best to actively teach new colleagues. A recent new colleague is my direct report. If he listened more carefully to my previous explanation or looked at the instructions I sent via email, I think some questions and questions could have been answered. However, I also realized that I might not explain things as I thought. How do I balance the tension between my feeling that his performance did not meet my expectations and the uncertainty about whether I am adequately providing the direction he needs?
Why should you doubt yourself and regard his shortcomings as your own performance? It is important to hold yourself accountable and accept constructive criticism, but nothing in your letter indicates that you have not provided sufficient guidance. His performance did not meet your expectations. This is what you have to deal with now. Instead of worrying about your job, develop a strategy to solve his performance problems, develop a plan for how to improve, and the consequences if he fails to meet new expectations. Then, you must stick to it.
I have achieved some success in my career. I have developed professional knowledge, I am excellent in the elements of my position, but can pass in other aspects. I may continue to do this for the rest of my life. Sometimes it may be beneficial, but I hate many of its elements, and most days I end up feeling exhausted, not productive or fulfilling.
I will be 40 years old next year. I was locked in a spare room and worked remotely during most of the pandemic, and I was getting tired. I am also reading articles about big resignations and workers who are fed up with moving on. When Covid-19 disrupted the lives of so many people, I was lucky to get a job, but I want to know if that is the case.
What is the correct balance between passion and salary? Should I be grateful for occasionally rewarding moments, ignore bad things, or appreciate the job as a means to an end in other ways? Or should I start looking for other things? Do those who say they love work really love their work, or is it an illusion?
Loving one's work is not an illusion. Indeed, some people love their work, are passionate about what they do, and have a great sense of accomplishment. This kind of professional satisfaction may be elusive, but it does exist. Many times, it requires a combination of hard work, adventure and luck. I love what I do. Although I have been dealing with burnout recently, I am usually passionate about all the cool things I am doing. When I finally had some quiet time to write, I was really happy to see what I could write on paper. And it took more than 20 years to get here.
Yes, you should start looking for other things. Life is too short to be miserable at work. Even if you don't find the ideal job, maybe you can find a job that suits you better. Many times, people say that they know they are lucky to get a job, but having to be grateful for the things that make you painful is a bad way of life. Don't quit your job until you arrange other things, but, my goodness, embrace the passion. Love yourself enough, ask yourself: "What do I want to be when I grow up?" And answer this question with complete honesty. You may be surprised by what happens next.
Roxane Gay is the author of "Hunger" and an opinion writer. Write to her at email@example.com.