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Recent Letter to the ElderWisdomCircle™

CAREER: Should I Distance Myself From Co-workers?
Letter #: 384869
Category: Friendship

Original Letter

I have these two associates and I'm unsure about them.! One seems as if she envys me and the other one has recently been showing me her true colors ! I think I'm going to distance myself from both of them.any suggestions ?

Elder Response

Dear Regina,

Thank you for writing.

I appreciate your dilemma and want to be helpful.  I've worked in many kinds of job settings and the concerns you have, including people envying one another, or not being sincere, are always there when a group of folks are thrown together every working day.  Even though it can be troubling, it is normal in the world of human beings.

First of all, it's good that you are cautious and take the time and care to analyze the way your colleagues are behaving, or seem to be behaving.  A lot of people become jealous of others in a job setting, or "show their true colors" because we all have our insecurities.  When I was the "boss" in a couple of large agencies. I experienced the exact same thing you are describing.  I just didn't know exactly what some of my employees were really thinking or even up to.  Some of them wanted to see me fail because a) it was "interesting" or even fun, in an unhealthy way, to witness some office drama; and b) they hoped to replace me in the senior position.

I treated everybody with professional respect but kept my eyes on them.  But I also dialogued with them a lot.  I mention that because it may not be the best strategy to "distance yourself" from these two individuals you mention.  Actually, keep them close by in the daily goings-on.  I suggest you sit down privately and separately with both these people and just ask them how  things are for them, and if they have any concerns they wish to share.  Let them know, in this professional manner, that you care about them.  But this kind of conversation also tells an associate that you are in touch with and watching them.  So don't distance yourself from them--that only gives them more space to say or do things you don't want happening in the workplace.  On the contrary, bring them closer to you.  You will probably learn a lot and such a regular conversation with an associate keeps things out and in the open.

Best of luck to you!

Best Regards,



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