Monthly Archives: December 2007

I have been suffering from depression on and off for about 10 years. Recently it has got so bad that I have had to take time off work. I was forced to tell my ultimate boss, who has been fairly supportive, though clearly knows nothing about mental illness. I work at a bank, where the culture is macho. My persona at work is aggressive and upbeat, so I fear that if anybody finds out I am severely depressed they will conclude I’ve either gone mad or can’t hack the job. So far I have told them I’ve got a virus, but I don’t know if people believe me, and I think they may be talking behind my back. In some ways it might be easier to tell the truth, but I fear for the consequences.

I work for a  TV company which is in the process of refurbishing its building. For the last ten years I have had my own office, but now I am told that the new layout will be open plan. The chief executive will have his own office (as well as a desk on the floor) but all the other directors will no longer have any  private spaces.  I feel really upset about this. I stopped working open plan 10  years ago, and  I need the  privacy of my office. I hold constant meetings with clients, and I don’t see why my PA should spend her entire life booking meeting rooms. Moreover I feel too old and experienced to sit surrounded by 20 year olds.

My question is this: should I kick up a huge fuss? I think I have a reasonable chance of getting my own way. But at what cost? I am concerned that the six other directors are pretending to welcome open plan, and if I am the only one who protests might I seem like a status conscious dinosaur?  Also if I decide to fight but lose the battle then my card might be marked as far as my boss is concerned. But equally this is an issue that matters to me and to lie down and take it seems, frankly, feeble.
TV executive, male, 52

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.