pri­vacy no­tice

Tor­mented? Driven wit­less? Fear not, help is just a short let­ter away

ELLE (Australia) - - Contents -


DEAR E JEAN, I’m hav­ing trou­ble with my co-worker “Jane”, a con­de­scend­ing know-it-all who treats me like an in­tern while at the same time act­ing all buddy-buddy with me. I don’t trust her. It all started years ago, when I un­in­ten­tion­ally in­sulted her. She was fired as the art di­rec­tor at an­other com­pany and I was hired to re­place her, and I re­did all her work (it was hon­estly not us­able). I be­lieve Jane heard about it. Over the next cou­ple of years, our paths crossed many times at con­fer­ences, but she al­ways pre­tended that she didn’t know who I was and that we had never met.

Now we ac­tu­ally work to­gether, and E Jean, I can’t stand this wo­man! She’s a phoney. She texts me pri­vately over our com­pany mes­sage server to ask how my day is go­ing. She shares in­for­ma­tion about me with our for­mer co-work­ers (“I told Mary that your hus­band passed away, and she is so sorry to hear it”). We’re not friends – she has no busi­ness telling peo­ple these pri­vate things! She’s con­stantly telling me how won­der­ful it is that we “get to work to­gether at last”, and con­tin­u­ally drop­ping com­pli­ments. I’ve never en­cour­aged her to be chummy, but I’ve al­ways treated her with re­spect. Re­cently I stopped re­spond­ing to her – and she will not let me be. She’s be­gin­ning to af­fect my at­ti­tude about work. I know I need to be care­ful of her – she’s good friends with the owner of our com­pany – but how do I get her to leave me alone? – Nowhere To Run RUN, MY ROCK Don’t lunch with her. Don’t lend her money. Don’t braid her hair at a slum­ber party. Do watch your back (and your front). While I sup­pose it’s pos­si­ble that her for­mer co-work­ers didn’t tell her that you changed her work, and pos­si­ble that she never recog­nises peo­ple at con­fer­ences, and pos­si­ble that she’s crushin’ on you like Emma Wood­house on Har­riet Smith, I think she’s ac­tu­ally scared of you. She sees you as a threat. (And women like you, who are quick to recog­nise threats and dis­patch them, rise in busi­ness, sports and pol­i­tics. Lord knows I wish Hil­lary Clin­ton had recog­nised Don­ald Trump’s threat sooner!) As to what lengths she will go, it’s im­pos­si­ble

to guess. I’ll just say that her pes­ter­ing you with com­pli­ments is per­haps the least of it. The ma­jor con­cern is her gos­sip. And here I pause with the great­est sym­pa­thy to say how sorry I am that you lost your hus­band. This wo­man us­ing his death to slather you with her bull­shit warmth and false com­pas­sion is vile. So it’s a fight, and your tal­ent is your sword.

Be po­lite, be pro­fes­sional, but kill her soppy texts by re­ply­ing with emoji (no words), frown at her com­pli­ments, never give her crit­i­cal work in­for­ma­tion she doesn’t need, never gos­sip with her (or about her) and never, never rely on her. Life is rife with en­e­mies. At least you know yours. Keep an eye on her.


DEAR E JEAN, Should I ditch my boyfriend be­cause he won’t get down on one knee, put a ring on it and take me to Paris? For three years, I’ve dated this hand­some, kind, fem­i­nist man, who’s se­cure enough to cook me din­ner and play house-hus­band while I work at my de­mand­ing job as a chemist at a nu­clear plant. Our home life is per­fect, but I like to travel and want some­one to strip me naked in an open-air ho­tel room in Greece or Bar­ba­dos, and he’s not the ad­ven­tur­ous type. Also, he can’t com­mit to me or mar­riage.

How long do I wait for him to come around? Do I jet­ti­son him for some­one who will sweep me off my feet – and lose my stead­fast do­mes­tic part­ner? I’m nor­mally a log­i­cal lady sci­en­tist, but this one has me stumped. – Con­fused Chemistrix CHEMISTRIX, MY CUMQUAT Tut-tut. Mr Hand­some Din­ner has been cook­ing for you over your own Bun­sen burner for three years and you’re ask­ing Aun­tie E “How long do I wait for him?”. And you’re a sci­en­tist! You know your Dar­win. You un­der­stand that of all the mat­ing ques­tions posed by all the fe­males of all the species in the world, “How long do I wait?” is the fee­blest. (And the one least likely to lead to suc­cess.) Yet a fan­tas­tic future awaits you. Be­cause when a man tells you he “can’t com­mit”, a spank­ing new world of pos­si­bil­i­ties opens.

Now, ev­ery­thing is per­mit­ted. You can hold the most free­ing conversa­tion you’ve ever had in your life, viz: “Dar­ling, since we’re not com­mit­ted, and you don’t want to be, I’d like to date.” And then you may pro­ceed to tell him what you re­ally want – a sweet “home life” with him and a lad strip­ping you “naked in an open-air ho­tel room in Greece”. Be­cause, come on, does a good-look­ing ge­nius with azure-coloured hair and a di­a­mond stud in her eye­brow who is solv­ing the prob­lem of global warm­ing (I looked you up, honey!) re­ally want an un­ad­ven­tur­ous guy to com­mit to her? What about your need for pas­sion? Wouldn’t it be bet­ter to keep him at home and take a ram­bunc­tious lover? You’re sim­ply a bright wo­man who, when she has ev­ery­thing she wants, soon wants some­thing else. And Aun­tie E? She’s sim­ply a wo­man who will re­ceive a pile of ex­as­per­ated let­ters from read­ers be­cause she ad­vised you to en­joy more than one chap.


DEAR E JEAN, I’m feel­ing like an ab­so­lutely worth­less hu­man be­ing. On pa­per, my life looks quite de­sir­able: 26 years old, a high-pay­ing ca­reer at a fa­mous ad­ver­tis­ing agency, an apart­ment in a cov­eted neigh­bour­hood. But I feel des­per­ately un­ful­filled. I come to work each day and in­stantly be­come bored. I have vir­tu­ally no work to do, and no re­spon­si­bil­ity. I’ve asked my man­ager mul­ti­ple times for a larger work­load, but to no avail. He ig­nores me. My most note­wor­thy day-to-day ac­com­plish­ments are read­ing the en­tire in­ter­net and go­ing to the gym. I’m some­times paral­ysed with guilt be­cause I’m so well paid to do noth­ing, and so many hard­work­ing peo­ple are try­ing to make ends meet. I feel de­void of pur­pose and di­rec­tion. Some days I can barely mo­ti­vate my­self to get out of bed. What should I do? – Deal­ing With My Mis­ery DEAL­ING, MY DUCK Never ut­ter the word work­load to a boss. It wraps its sucker-lined let­ters around the brain of who­ever hears it and squashes your future. Just tell that poor ding­bat, your man­ager, “Dickie, I have an idea that will bring in $80,000 over the next three quar­ters. Do you have five min­utes to hear my pitch?” If he puts you off more than twice, then pitch his boss. I sus­pect the man is ei­ther too dull or too over­whelmed with his own work to su­per­vise any­one else’s projects.

So here’s what to do: your days at Dead­wood are over. From now on, you’ll be cre­at­ing four or five killer ideas for your agency, gab­bing with co-work­ers about their projects, dec­o­rat­ing your desk, lis­ten­ing to mu­sic, schmooz­ing the CEO, vis­it­ing mu­se­ums to be in­spired with more ideas, etc. That you didn’t think of do­ing these things on your own shows me how very un­in­ter­ested you are in the ad­ver­tis­ing game (or what a dum-dum agency you’ve landed in). We’ve all cho­sen the wrong job at some point. So now may also be the time to be­gin think­ing of new paths and fresh pos­si­bil­i­ties. Good luck!


DEAR E JEAN, I have an awe­some re­la­tion­ship with my 16-year-old daugh­ter. She’s smart, funny and beau­ti­ful. A cou­ple of weeks ago, her boyfriend of 18 months broke up with her and she was dev­as­tated. So I let her stay in my room to com­fort her – and now she won’t leave! I’ve gen­tly in­di­cated it’s time to re­turn to her own bed­room, but she just says, “Nope.” How do I get her out with­out hurt­ing her feel­ings? Or do I al­low her the time she needs to heal? – Mummy Wants Her Own Space MUMMY, YOU MAG­NIF­I­CENT WO­MAN You have per­formed your moth­erly du­ties most ad­mirably. Let your daugh­ter stay in your room. And you? You move into her room and add the fol­low­ing items: 1. A poster of her favourite band. 2. A tele­vi­sion. 3. A stack of classic movie DVDS. 4. A pile of ELLES. 5. A tray of fab eye shad­ows. 6. A bowl of hot, but­tered pop­corn. 7. A mini fridge full of ice-cream.

If your daugh­ter hasn’t moved back to her room af­ter 20 min­utes, add a kitten.

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