Q: I'm not very good at spending time alone and I'm finding it a bit of a problem. I was promoted to my first middle management position recently and, unusually, have been given my own office. However, I'm finding it difficult to be away from the team melee and I'm conscious that I'm already hovering too much around the team desks. It's just that I miss the banter, the action and team spirit. I've also never been good at being on my own and avoid it at all costs outside the office.
Jeremy says: I'm afraid I've no easy answer for you. Becoming part of management for the first time is often the most significant single step in an entire career, and the most difficult to adjust to. However much you might like to, you can't just go on being one of the boys and girls.
That's not to say that you should immediately become aloof, but within a very short period of time, if you're to do your new job properly, you'll have to take some action or make some recommendation that won't find favour with at least some of your erstwhile mates. Most of them will understand and, sooner or later, they'll all come round to it - but they may not appreciate your trying to join in the banter quite as much.
So you'll just have to learn to keep to your own space rather more than you're used to. And if you find yourself, as a kind of compensation, almost unconsciously cultivating favourites, stop it at once. Nothing is more divisive and destabilising than a boss figure, however lowly, with undisguised personal preferences.
Jeremy Bullmore is a former creative director and chairman of J Walter Thompson London. His book Another Bad Day at the Office? is published by Penguin at £6.99. Address your problem to Jeremy Bullmore at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Regrettably, no correspondence can be entered into.