Dear Barb—A Family Business

Dear Barb:

I just started a new job that I am enjoying.  My cousin knew the boss and got me in.  The problem is I do not like my direct supervisor, who happens to be the boss’s son.  I have been trying my best to get along with him, but we just seem to butt heads.  I have noticed his father favors him and treats him differently than the rest of us.  I haven’t mentioned this to my cousin or anyone for that matter.  I am not sure whether I should keep trying, or move on to another job.  I really like the job and see a lot of potential.  What advice would you give to someone in my position?  

Thanks, Aidan.

Hey Aiden:

You seem to have two issues going on.  First of all you don’t get along with your boss and secondly there seems to be some favoritism or nepotism going on and these two issues most likely are connected.

No doubt you are in a difficult position, but there are ways of managing this behaviour.  Foremost you must maintain professionalism, do not get caught up in petty disagreements and jealousies.  If you strongly believe there is nepotism in your workplace you need to document incidents where you believe this was taking place, include details and examples.  Speak to coworkers and see if they feel the same as you and if they are willing to come forward with their information.  While you are compiling these details, be cautious who you share with.  It is probably best to vent your frustration with people outside of your workplace.  For example, close family members, or even a therapist would be able to help you work through these feelings.  When you are confident you have a case, you will need to present this information to one of the top managers who are not related to anyone involved in the situation.  This is the first step towards acknowledging this unfairness and it may be enough to bring this behaviour to the attention of the perpetrators and initiate change.

As far as not getting along with your supervisor there are a few things you can do.  First, ask yourself if the way you interact with him is related to the fact that you believe is he being favored because he is the boss’s son.  Suggest having a meeting with him, to possibly work through these issues.  If you feel you are being treated unfairly, again I would suggest you go to top management, or HR, to air your grievances.  Finally, if all else fails, it may be time to look for another job.  Best of luck Aiden, I am confident you will make the right choice for you.

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