Question: Two of my female coworkers have wrapped around their little fingers. These women have been here much longer than I have, but my qualifications and experience are twice as good. However, I recently discovered that my salary is a lot lower. Although my supervisor’s boss says that I am management material, my supervisor treats me no differently than my complacent coworkers. After receiving an excellent , I was dismayed to learn that he gave them the same rating. These women seem to be considered “sacred cows” who can do no wrong. I don’t know how to fight back, because I might get fired if I cross them. As a former military officer, I’m not afraid to take them on, but I don’t want to create a lot of turmoil. How can I lessen their influence? —Frustrated Vet
Answer: Although you’re putting a lot of energy into this battle, it’s not clear what the war is about. In fact, you might be the only person fighting.
Since these women seem to be doing you no harm, your resentment may simply reflect the inevitable frustrations of a mid-life career change. As a military officer, you had status and authority. Now you’re just the new guy in this department.
If you want to succeed, start focusing on your own career instead of being sidetracked by petty jealousy. Since your influential colleagues have a lot of leverage, you need to get along with them. Otherwise, you risk being labeled “difficult to work with.”
Continuing to fret about pay and performance ratings is pointless and unproductive. New hires are often paid less than long-term employees, and other people’s appraisals are really none of your business.
The good news is that you’ve been identified as having management potential. But the bad news is that impatience and arrogance could easily wreck that opportunity.
To avoid career-killer pitfalls, see Nine Ways to Kill Your Chances of Promotion.
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