Favoritism In The Workplace: Real Life Drama

Question: “I work with someone who is the boss’s pet.  She talks on the phone with him all the time, and he allows her to work extra hours, even though I also could use the overtime. This co-worker reviews all orders and also is responsible for updating the computer records. Whenever a problem arises, the boss calls her to discuss it. There are only two of us here, but he won’t cross-train me on her duties. How should I handle this unfairness?” — The Unfavored One

Marie’s Answer: Your colleague apparently has been given the lead role in your office, even though no one has officially said so. If your boss was smart, he would formally define duties and clarify roles, but many small-office managers fail to do this. Having a peer elevated above you without explanation is annoying, so your resentment is normal. However, it’s also a complete waste of emotional energy.  Instead, focus on furthering your own career. Here’s how:

* Make every effort to get along well with your co-worker. Since the boss favors her, alienating your co-worker will jeopardize only your own future.

* Stop worrying about her relationship with the boss and start improving your own. Do outstanding work. Make suggestions for improvements. Be consistently pleasant and helpful. 

* Don’t focus just on your own narrow responsibilities. Managers appreciate employees who show interest in the bigger picture. Find opportunities to ask your boss questions about the business. 

Bottom line: Act like someone your boss would want to promote and assign more responsibility to. Consider this question: Do you really want a larger role or do you just resent the attention that your co-worker receives?