Dear Cubicle Coach: There's a colleague I simply cannot get along with, and we were just assigned to work on a project together. I asked my boss to reconsider, and she said, "You have to work out your differences." Was that a cop-out?
Answer: One woman's cop-out is another woman's savvy management strategy. Unless there's some heinous HR-type issue between you and the offending colleague--e.g., ever since you squealed about her dinners out on the corporate Amex, she's always submarining you at meetings--the boss was probably showing faith in your judgment by throwing the problem back at you. I can't say this enough: You don't have to like everyone you work with. Figure out a way to tolerate it. I prefer the direct approach: "Look, there's been a lot of water under the bridge between us. Yes, I know I shouldn't have licked your boyfriend's neck at the company picnic, but kicking butt on this project can only help both of us. Let's grab lunch and work through it." Do that, and you'll be smartly adhering to the "keep your friends close but your enemies closer" adage while also solving a problem for the boss--the surest way to scale the corporate heights.