Help! I Hate One of My CoWorkers

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.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani
Career
Share
Reshma Saujani Wants to Fix the Tech "Bravery Deficit" in Girls
Career
Share
The GE Executive Pulling Women Up the Ladder with Her
Created for GE
Career
Share
Are You a Female Doctor? You're Probably Getting Paid Less Than Your Male Coworkers
Career
Share
Gretchen Carlson's Lawyer Opens Up About Her Case, Sexual Harassment at Fox News, and Taking on the Most Powerful Man in Media
Career
Share
You're Better at Negotiating Than You Think You Are
Career
Share
The Surprising Connections Between Swimming with Sharks and Talking to Famous People
Career
Share
That Time I Stopped Explaining Myself—and Then Got Everything I Wanted
Career
Share
How I Started a Mega-Successful Company at 26—Without a Business Plan
Career
Share
The Power of Sorry: The New CEO of Lands' End Explains the Lessons She's Learned While Rising to the Top
Career
Share
What 5 Young Women with 5 Very Different Salaries Can Afford