Monthly Archives: March 2007

Dear Lucy,
My PA recently told me that she had to go into hospital and would be off work for two weeks. I was sympathetic and told her to take as much time as she needs. I then asked delicately the reason for the treatment, to be told it was cosmetic surgery. In light of this I have said she must take the two weeks as holiday. She has responded with great hostility and is threatening to quit. I feel I am in the right, but don’t want to lose her as she is efficient and pleasant and it takes time to train someone else.
Manager, male, 38

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The best answers will be published in the Financial Times.

Dear Lucy

I do interesting, rewarding work at a tiny specialised consultancy. I like the hours and the people, but the pay is measly. I’ve been told I can rewrite my job description, although it wouldn’t mean much more money. Instead, I could go for a bog-standard analyst position with a bank, with longer hours, but increase my salary by at least 50 per cent. What should I do?

Consultant, male, 26

Eighteen months ago I was hired out of business school by an entrepreneurial services company to set up a new division. I recruited a team of ten, and for months we worked together around the clock to launch the business on time and within the budget. It was a great time – I felt I was leading a happy and focused team.

I now find that two of the people I have recruited are not equal to the job. Both are nice guys, and well liked by the others. I’m not asking what should I do: I know I must fire them, the business can’t afford to carry anyone. What worries me is more general. I am wondering whether I can go on running a lean, fast growing business and still be a nice person. If I have to do what is right for the company the team won’t like me any more. More to point, I’m not sure I’ll like myself that much either.

My bosses say that I have everything it takes to be a great success. Last month I was  given a large bonus and a big promotion. I want to make the company a success, but am worried about whether I can do this and remain the decent person I have always tried to be.

Manager, female, 31

Dear Lucy

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Lucy Kellaway, FT columnist and associate editor, offers her solution to your workplace problems in a fortnightly column in the Financial Times. In this weekly online edition of her 'agony aunt' column, readers are invited to have a say too. Read more about Dear Lucy here.