26 May 2021
Each week, Dr Kirstin Ferguson tackles questions on the workplace, career and leadership in her advice column “Got a minute?” This week, returning to the office, lack of development opportunities, and an unsolicited weight loss comment from a CEO.
I hear you loud and clear! For us – and I certainly count myself in this group – the move to working from home has been an unexpected benefit from the pandemic. This is our new “normal” and the idea of permanently returning to an office, along with a daily commute, is as unwelcome as a cough in a crowded plane.
It sounds like your boss is hoping a “one size fits all” approach is going to work. It’s not. Flexible work is no longer defined as being able to work from home while the dryer gets fixed. Flexible work is a choice about how you spend your time; all your time and it is different for everyone.
If you can, try to find out what your boss might be worried about with people working from home so you can address those issues directly. And if all else fails, find another employer. There are plenty now offering their employees the option to work from anywhere – all the time – and you will not have to justify your desire for flexibility ever again. Good luck!
Unfortunately it is far too common! Many people, bosses included, avoid honest conversations. So why don’t you take the conversation to your boss? Make a time to speak with them and respectfully ask “What do you need to see from me before I am considered for XYZ opportunity?” Ask your boss to be specific; what skills, experience or courses are they looking for from you?
If your boss is unable to articulate anything specific, I suspect they may be avoiding a difficult conversation. Ask them directly if they think you have performance issues so that you can work on it. If they cannot provide you with an answer, it sounds like you have a boss who avoids authentic conversations and it might be time to find a new job.
Let me get this right, your boss objectified your body (bad enough already) in front of your teammates (even worse) for weight loss (never go there) that was neither sought nor needed?!?!
I have a few choice words for your CEO but unfortunately, they are not fit to print. You should definitely ask her what that was all about. I am no psychologist but there seems to be some insecure and passive aggressive power move going on. I would make it clear to your boss that there is never a good time to comment on someone’s body regardless of any mislaid intention she might have had.
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