I detested him when I worked with him before; he turned out to be a slacker who causes a negative atmosphere. I don't want to work with him again, but nor do I want to sour relations with my new employer by complaining about this man. What can I do?
A: Oh, wow. The only consolation I can offer you is this: the predicament you find yourself in is deeply tiresome but is unlikely to be tragic. And it's so fraught with problems that, through a process of elimination, your least-worse course of action becomes pretty apparent.
As you rightly say, you obviously can't rubbish this man to your new boss. If it came to a choice between him and you, you'd lose. You could try and turn back the clock, I suppose. That would mean breaking your contract and pleading with your former boss for your old job back.
At best, I rate that option Plan C. Plan B would mean looking for a new job altogether.
But Plan A has to be: give it a go. It's possible that the man you detested has mended his manners. As a founding partner, he'll have far more incentive to pull his weight. And he's clearly respected by the man who took you on, or he wouldn't have picked him as a founding partner.
Of course, if you told him straight out that you detested him, he's likely to have remembered. In which case, Plans C and B need re-examining.
- Jeremy Bullmore has been creative director and chairman of J Walter Thompson London and a non-executive director of the Guardian Media Group; he is a non-executive director of WPP. Address your problems to Jeremy Bullmore at: email@example.com. Regrettably, no correspondence can be entered into.