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Ask Sue
A Weekly Q&A Column About Professionalism, Etiquette and Problems in the Workplace
by Sue Morem

Coworker is Boss's Friend

Dear Sue: The problem I am having is with a co-worker in my department. I am in a lead position, so I have to discuss issues with her as well as the others. This woman has been rude to me for quite a while. The problem is that she is my bossís friend, and their families are friends too.

Iíve told my boss about specific incidents, both good and bad so he wonít think I am picking on her. But he doesnít seem to care about her unwillingness to comply, rude comments, or failure to complete assignments. He defends her and makes excuses for her, and will not believe that she can do anything wrong.

I am not trying to get the friend fired. I am simply asking that the boss view and treat her the same way he does others in the department. I believe she is taking full advantage of the fact her boss is her friend. I am documenting the work issues to protect myself if Iím ever asked why something wasnít done. My boss may cover for her, but I will not. What do you think?

- Outsider

Sue Says: I think you are doing what you can under the circumstances. You are smart enough to recognize that your bossís commitment to this coworker (and the family friendship) is stronger than his commitment to you, or his desire to remain impartial.

Continue to document the things you deem important. Minimize the number of complaints you make to her or about her. Be the example; donít overreact to the things she says or does. Focus on preserving your status, and less on exposing hers.

Dear Sue: Lately Iíve noticed several people in my office wearing fishnet stockings. Is this a new fashion? Is it appropriate office attire?

- Margie

Sue Says: Fishnet stockings have come and gone in popularity over the years. They are considered stylish in some environments, but are neither stylish nor appropriate in most office environments.

Sue Morem is a professional speaker, trainer and syndicated columnist. She is author of the newly released 101 Tips for Graduates and How to Gain the Professional Edge, Second Edition. You can contact her by email at or visit her web site at

Send Sue your questions by clicking here: Ask Sue
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