Monthly Archives: November 2007

I am an ambitious woman in my mid-thirties working for a large multinational. My immediate boss is blocking my promotion because he resents me and is threatened by my talents. My strategy has been to find a mentor above him in the hierarchy. This seemed to be working: I have secured a true champion, who has told me repeatedly that I have what it takes to reach the very top. However, recently I’ve started to suspect he may have ulterior motives – he keeps on inviting me out to drinks on my own after work. Now I fear I’ve alienated my boss by going over his head, and risk losing my mentor if I refuse his advances. How do I get out of this tricky situation?

I have invited my boss and his wife to dinner, but am in a quandary over who else to ask. He is a formidable man who doesn’t find small talk easy. If I invite my most amusing friends I risk inflicting a boring evening on them. But if I ask some other dull people I owe hospitality to, I risk boring my boss. I could play safe and invite other colleagues, but that is politically complex and might make it look as if I have no friends at all. I’m also uncertain about the food: when we went to his house, dinner was very formal and served by a housekeeper. Should we get out our best china or do we deliberately make it a casual supper? And how do I stop my wife from divorcing me as she says she is dreading the whole event?
Manager, male, 34

I have been in the same job for seven years, but in the last twelve months have started to feel stale and tired and bored and somewhat burnt out. I used to love the challenges of the job but as I get older I find I’m becoming more cynical about the work itself and am also losing respect for my peers and about the  people I manage. I also fear that I may be doing my job rather less well than I used to, although no one seems to have noticed anything. Indeed, my bonus last year was the biggest I have received to date. I could go and work for another company, but I think that as the problem is inside me, I’d just be moving it from one place to another without changing anything. I could stop altogether, but I don’t have any hobbies in particular, and in any case I have two young children in private school and am reliant on the (generous) salary. Is there anything I can do to get my enthusiasm back? Or are there any consoling thoughts that make working without enthusiasm more tolerable?
Senior manager, male, 49

Dear Lucy

This blog is no longer updated but it remains open as an archive.

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.