Dear E. Jean: A new coworker with a PhD has recently appeared in our office, and the boss favors everything she does and every word she says. In meetings, he (the boss) bows to the PhD’s opinion. He always agrees with her perspective on projects and trashes our efforts, especially mine. He’s obviously starstruck, but the PhD makes things worse by emphasizing my errors in meetings. I don’t know what to do. I used to love this job!—Becoming a Grudge Holder
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Good Golly, Miss Grudge: Buck up! You’ve got this. Choose one:
The Susan B. Anthony: Throw your support behind the PhD, help execute her strategy in the coming months, and when she replaces the Milquetoast boss (which she will, with your help—soon), you’ll rise with her.
The Emma Woodhouse: Become the boss’s and PhD’s go-between, whip up enthusiasm for their vision among the troops, and make yourself indispensable to both.
The Catherine the Great:Capture the $800,000-a-month account that everyone in town’s been pursuing, neutralize the PhD, castrate the Milquetoast, and take over leadership of the division yourself.
The Zayn Malik:Interview at outside firms, receive many attractive offers, and go in a spanking-new direction.
Good luck! Let us know what happens.
This letter is from the E. Jean archive.